Ladies and gents, boys and girls, it’s that time of year again: Sidewalk sales. For many people (including myself), this is no joking matter. Instead of spending a sunny Saturday lounging on the beach, countless sales-crazy shoppers flood the streets of their favorite cities with dollar signs in their eyes and ferocity in their hearts. No one is safe, especially when they have their hands clenched onto the shoulderless romper you’ve been writing love letters to since June.
For those lacking an extreme drive for sales shopping, there’s always the entertainment value of watching elderly gentlemen bicker over the price of Velcro tennis shoes. It’s truly a beautiful thing.
But amidst this wonderful chaos, there lies a deeper, more troubling issue; some stores may be trying to fool their customers. So stop fighting your sister-in-law for those chestnut wedges, because they may be last year’s model…or the year before that.
I recently heard a complaint that stores were setting out merchandise for customers that was either the same stuff from the previous sidewalk sale, or had never even been seen in the store. This means those alleged businesses could be buying stock for the sole purpose of the sale, or saving outdated products for the next year.
As a shopper, this could go a couple of ways. You could be appalled that your favorite boutique is setting out dusty sweaters from three years ago instead of marking down current products, or you could totally dig the scratchy kitten sweater and enjoy paying a low price.
For those riding the “I can’t believe they would do that!” train, it’s best to tame your excitement and express some caution when scanning the sales. Yes, it sucks that your hopes were up and now you can’t get the deals you thought you were. But the best way to show the business what you think of them is with your money. Your dollar is like a vote, a way of you saying “yes, I like this!” and if you don’t spend it, you’re saying “no, I don’t”.
For those aboard the Cat Sweater Express, do your thing. Sidewalk sales can’t disappoint you because your expectations are already low. This makes the day stress free and you can really enjoy sifting through the crumpled t-shirts the stampede of frenzied shoppers already passed through.
And to the businesses, while this may seem like a genius cash cow or possible money-saver, you too should approach with caution. As we’ve already seen, there are some customers who won’t care if the merchandise is old. But some will, and you don’t want to lose their business in the future. Loyal customers are important to maintain, so keeping their business is important. If offering really cheap or old material offends too many shoppers, it may end up costing you.
And finally, for those who attend the sacred sidewalk sales merely for entertainment value, you have nothing to lose this Saturday morning. Continue sipping your mocha crème and take in the glorious sight of tourists failing to parallel park.
What’s your craziest sidewalk sale story? Share with us here at Michigan Creative!