Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The thrill of the hunt

Sample sales. I grew up with them, and then, as an adult, basically lost track of them. Yes, it's possible to buy high-quality clothing for less, if you take a small-ish size and if you aren't put off by going to the Penn Station neighborhood without a train to catch (the sales tend to be up a flight of stairs on West 36th Street). And these days, it's even possible to do so without having been let in on the secret - i.e. there's the internet, with multiple blogs dedicated to this very pursuit, steering the uninitiated away from the now-ubiquitous "sample sale" signs in front of things that are probably not sample sales. 

But then Uniqlo came along, providing the same service but none of the hassle of discounted Theory or French Connection. That, and when I'm not teaching, I have very little reason to wear anything other than this especially comfortable pair of Target sweatpants. That, that, and for when I do dress up (i.e. not sweatpants), my tastes are very particular, and more likely to involve extensive online searches for a specific item (most recently: a red cashmere "French man" scarf) than the joy of knowing that something once $300 is now going for $50. Not, of course, that I'm immune to such a joy. I'm only human. 

But what I can't figure out is flying from Chicago to New York, and then heading to Long Island, and not just Long Island but somewhere sufficiently inconvenient to the LIRR that a special shuttle-bus is needed (sounds familiar!) and booking a hotel, all this to attend a sample sale. Lululemon, to be precise.  What is the discount on leggings that would possibly make this worthwhile? Especially given the limit on items-purchased? Wouldn't you be better-off (since the hotel in an obscure part of Long Island suggests this isn't being somehow combined with a broader trip to NYC) just going to a Lululemon in Chicago and buying the things you actually want (which are never at a sample sale) full-priced? Or is this like asking why someone would hunt, rather than purchase meat at the supermarket?

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