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Monday 25 September 2023 Dublin: 14°C
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Opinion SALE! Why does this one word cause all logic to go out the window?
I can’t go into town at the moment. Don’t trust myself. It’s too dangerous.

‘SALE!’ –What is it about that word that causes all logic to go out the window?

I can’t go into town at the moment. Don’t trust myself. It’s too dangerous. I’m likely to go in to pick up my contact lenses and come back three high street bags heavier. Because there is something unmistakable about those big red signs that lure me in and cause some chemical reaction in my brain. One that says ‘Thou shallst buy’. Along with the lethal accompanying mantra of ‘If you don’t, somebody else will’.

Clearly I am the quintessential, lowest common denominator of consumer. I am the kind of punter that single-handedly keeps retailers afloat. The troika must love me. Because, recession and all, I will buy virtually anything if it’s greater than 50% off.

Skewed logic

Slightly imperfect? Size 8 but liable to stretch? Floral pattern worthy of Hyacinth Bouquet? Bring it on… sartorial duds welcome here.

For a relatively balanced individual, I find myself using all kinds of skewed logic to justify my purchases.

For example; ‘Well, I’m not really spending €80 by purchasing those LKBennett shoes. I’m actually saving €115. Even if they are bright purple and half a size too big.’

Or ,‘No, I don’t have a stitch that matches lime green. And in ways it’s pretty hideous, really. But didn’t I read in the hairdressers that it’s all the rage? And a girl has to start somewhere. And sure wouldn’t it make a nice change to black…’ Blah. Blah. Blah.

Blinded by sales 

My husband left me alone for all of seven minutes last Saturday while he went to park the car. And in that space of time I managed to spend 60 quid. When he returned he looked aghast. How did my buying a Capri Sun for our three year old, morph into a pair of capri pants?

It went something like this…

Head for Spar shop on Nassau Street. Pass High Street shop en route. Become blinded by SALE sign. Notice ‘75% off’ statistic. Choose to ignore the ‘up to’ small print. Brain enters parallel retail universe. Legs move myself and buggy into shop premises. Eyes drawn to sale rail. Rifle through reduced clothes. Remove any vaguely plausible garments. Enter changing rooms;

Too small. Too tight. Too short. Too tarty. Too garish. Just plain hideous.

Aha… bingo! Plausible item.

Check tag. 50% off!

Become giddy with excitement. Oh, the unmistakable thrilllll of the bargain…

Bit small maybe? Bit tight around the backside?

But, Claire, they’re 50% off. A positive steal. Yes, you may not have been a size 10 since 2005, but you never know. You might be again at some stage in the future. And then where will you be? Some other lucky punter will be out swanning around in your half price capris! Well we can’t be having that…

Trot over to checkout before logic quadrant of brain has a chance to kick in. Saunter out of shop with ‘sale’ itch successfully scratched. ‘Sold!’ to the window shopper with the over-extended credit card…

Meet husband. Hide bag. Curse toddler for asking where her drink is.

Leisurely try on capris three hours later at home without sale adrenalin pumping and potential competition in adjoining changing rooms. Realise they are actually pretty hideous. And bet onto you. From every angle. With pockets that refuse to sit delicately, but instead stick out either side of your hips, proudly announcing to the world at large that they’re at least one size too small.

Prized ponies 

Capris join other casualties from earlier seasons at the back of the wardrobe. Because you never get back in in time to return them. Or by the time you do, your ‘prized ponies’ have been reduced to under a tenner…

Oh well. Another Sale Rail Fail… probably should have just gone for broke and ventured into the ‘New Season Stock’. At least then I might have bought something I might actually wear.

Resolve to not go into town again until at least August for fear of recurrence and potential divorce. And to shop in Lidl only for the next month. Where even if I do lose the run of myself on the savings I’ve made on fish fingers, it will only be on a paddling pool for the back garden or a high pressure cleaner with 17 different settings and five adjustable nozzles.

Is it a uniquely Irish trait this love of the bargain? The ‘cute-hoor-ism’ where we all love to point out how little we paid for something? And how we definitely paid less than Mick down the road. Who’s an awful eijit really. Wasn’t in ‘The Know’. Didn’t shop around and do his homework. Doesn ‘t matter that we’ve not got exactly what we wanted. Doesn’t matter that it’s a complete false economy. So long as we feel like we’ve saved a few quid.

Yes, when it comes to the sales, if the price is right, then it matters little if the purchase is entirely wrong. ‘Further reduction time’ anyone?

Claire Micks is the mother of a (reasonably behaved) three-year-old girl and an (entirely spoiled) 15-month-old boy. She survives by day and writes by night. Croaks rather than tweets, but despite that somehow manages to get her ramblings published on occasion.

Read: Pre-recession habits are starting to creep back into our shopping routines

Read: 6 different types of pain you’ll feel while sales shopping

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