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rain dampens spirits

"We just popped in for the half-price shoes": Stephen's(s) Day sales shoppers are being disappointingly sensible

Tales of common sense and politeness, from the streets of south Dublin.

PERHAPS IT WAS the rain. Perhaps more of us are choosing to bargain-hunt online.

Or maybe the country’s getting so used to having a few quid again, we don’t feel the need to tear into town at the break of dawn to snatch up last-minutes gifts before the in-laws land for Stephen’s(s)* Day lunch.

Sure, there were queues outside the usual places before shutters went up this morning – and retailers, as you might expect, have been doing their level best to talk-up the annual winter sales.

Crowds gathered outside Brown Thomas from stupid o’clock as usual – and newsrooms around the country have been sent the traditional pictures of people streaming in the doors to snap up the discount handbags.

The Brown Thomas Winter S Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

For the most part, though, shoppers pottering about the Grafton Street area of Dublin earlier today were unrelentingly well-behaved, as set out to get the low-down on the winter sales.

Not a great help for someone in search of an interesting headline (though, sure – it’s a positive sign that society in general isn’t going to hell in a handbasket).

The Brown Thomas Winter S Customer Tim Wani on the hunt for bargains in Brown Thomas. Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

We talked to around 20 people between Wicklow Street and Stephen’s Green before lunch.

Around the same time last year, a woman regaled us with tales of people pulling handbags out of each-other’s hands. Another shopper said she had seen ‘shoe fights’ and ‘bag fights’ break out – not just in one store, but in a few.


We’re just in for a cup of tea, we might have a quick look later.

- An elderly woman chatting with friends in Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre.

We took a look at a few shops. It’s fine.

- A US couple sheltering in the doorway of HMV.

We just popped-in for the half-price shoes. Now we’re off.

- Two middle-aged women, clutching sensible-looking brown paper shopping bags.

Down at the Marks & Spencer café, we strike up a chat with a woman at a table by the window…

I’m actually working in Brown Thomas, so no – I’m not shopping myself. “And how is it? Is it mad?”

No, it’s grand. I’m at the Beauty counter anyway – but no, it’s fine.

Pausing to put up their umbrellas in the doorway of BT2, woman from Artane tells us (again, much to our disappointment) that it’s “not too bad at all”.

I wouldn’t be in first thing or anything. I’m not that kind of bargain-hunter. We were in about an hour ago and now we’re heading.

“I’ve seen it a lot busier,” says Angela.

siss Madigan and Will Siss. Daragh Brophy Daragh Brophy

Around the corner, at the Phil Lynott statue, honeymooning US couple Will and Madigan agree it’s been “really negotiable”.

We haven’t been running into crowds or anything.

Won’t someone think of the headline-writers?

* Following several queries – yes, this is reference to the traditional Dublin pronunciation of the feast day. 

Read: Retailers expect bumper Christmas sales after early-morning queues

Read: In pics and videos: Your Christmas and Stephen’s Day swims



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