Sunday, December 11, 2005

Discount Shopping Deconstructed

Some of my fondest childhood memories are climbing up the library-style ladders at Miller's Outpost (in an attempt to invade the floating western town facade that always sat on top of the columns of Anchor Blue Jeans), collecting Gotcha and Jimmy'z sticker/tags from the floor of Marshalls, and daring my poor brother to swing on the clothing rack rotundas at Ross Dress for Less while my mother would sift through piles and piles of discounted dudds. For most of my days in Fresno, this was considered to be a day of shopping; finding something 'designer' at an un-designer price was key. But in a recent conversation with my mother, who was just in town last weekend turning my room from Barbie headquarters into a 70's dental office, I came to this epiphany:

... you know there's a problem when your clothes shopping involves a shopping cart.

The lines, the frenzy, the markdowns ... I was raised to believe that if something is good and on sale, you should buy it. For my mother, finding a piece of Liz Claiborne at Marshalls is like a homeless kid finding a dime sack of weed ... there is ultimately no choice but to snatch it. The mere thought of getting something that is worth $100 for $20 is orgasmic ... even if it is ill-fitted, odd-colored, or out of style. Which is probably what drove my aunt a few years back to purchase all of my cousins and myself (male and female, ages ranging from pre-pre-teen to late twenties) sleeveless sweaters ... with the price tags "accidentally" left -on- ... but with obvious sticky residue from the discount sticker that once took up residence on top of the original price on the tag. A gift to clearly say "I want it to look like I spent $100 on you, but really I spent $5."

My point here is this ... personally speaking, I would rather spend $120 on a pair of jeans that I like, are tailored well, and that I will wear often versus 6 pairs of similar jeans, or hell, even the same jeans ... if it means that I have to spend hours hoarding through piles, fighting crowds, and waiting in line. Even as fabulous as Target may be, if when you look down into your cart, and it contains something like: cat litter, shaving cream, light bulbs, potting soil, asparagus, and a sweater ... i'd say that it's time for an intervention.


Stephanie Gugliemo said...

Alas, someone else feels my pain. I have been making this observation for years, only to be told by my bargain-hungry mother, "Don't be such a snob". It is simply NOT kosher to purchase your clothes from the same place that sells sparkplugs and houseplants.

Call me materialistic, but I simply cannot purchase my clothing from a retailer that proudly features the Kathie Lee collection, the Jaclyn Smith collection, or any other "collection" designed by a washed up celebrity, or insane Bible thumper turned tabloid journalist.

ninja rad said...

i agree whole heartedly yet we need someone to do an intervention on isaac mizrahi and mossimo - both of which i've caught myself in an 'ohhhh, that looks cute' stupor before i slap my face and realize i'm at targayboutique.

Kim said...

You have so written my life story here. It drives me nuts to walk into a Ross Dress For Less and see the piles of clothes tossed here and there. I can't even imagine myself shlupping through that to find a diamond in the rough. I have a hard time shopping off sale racks as well. I just thought it was laziness, but thankfully you've made me realize that I am not alone...