Nearly new sales, baby sales, preloved sales. Doesn’t matter what you call them. The mere mention is like a bolt of lightning in a DeLorean at 88 miles per hour.
I can feel the adrenalin soaring already and a countdown begins! Dates are highlighted on the calendar and my weekend work is moved around accordingly – my piano pupils have no idea. I may have been known to visit parents in Scotland when there happens to be a sale on, or the in-laws near Cambridge. I’m in London.
How did it all begin and are there many like-minded souls? My other half calls it an affliction; addiction! I know few others afflicted (except my mother-in-law) but am reassured by the queues. Think of Apple iPhone queues on a compact scale, except there is the sense in arriving early to snag the best bargains!
It doesn’t surprise me as it’s not about just the savings. There is such a buzz, a rush, a thrill… I daresay the same as shopaholic-ism or any other “isms”. To me, it makes utter sense! I mean, the boys were in and out of first outfits and some things were literally worn once, even not once. Being gifted things in the next size/s is always frustrating – not to sound ungrateful – but it means that by the time they get to that size, it’s the wrong season for that vest or snowsuit!
But what if the outfit only cost £1 and looked virtually new? Even pretty used, I’d hand over a quid any day if the kid only manages to adorn it once! A new packet of several baby vests would set you back on average a tenner – why spend £8 more than you need to for the exact same ones, used a few times but in nearly new condition? Goodness knows that those vomiting, pooing, dirt-magnets we endearingly call our offspring, need an abundance of spares; there is an argument for quantity over quality in these times! Is there now no excuse for shrewd shopping for prams, baby equipment, toys, all manner of outfits etc.?
An addict, me? I prefer to be called a bargain hunter. You just can’t knock it; the exhilaration from knowing you’ve bagged a bargain is second to none! Why should toys be brand new and wrapped tightly in a show box? I can safely vouch that it makes no difference to the kid.
Method: There is a skill, I’ve seen people master it and my mother-in-law is no exception. Yet I haven’t managed to fine tune the art of picking out the crop of the goods on entry from having had a good position in the queue.
Getting through the doors is overwhelming, somewhat panicky – where do you go first? Circle all the stalls or dive for anything you see while wasting precious time paying for it?! I think I will need to visit a few more to try and improve on this method.
It’s not that we are especially tight for money; I’d never scrimp so much that they’d be without what they really need. Last season, Spider-Man wellies were all the rage, so I knew it’d be pointless scouting for some in a sale. Well, I pinned some down on eBay, the next point of call. But they set me back £6 including delivery, and then there was the wait. All his previous wellies have cost under £2 a pair from sales, lasting no more than a year. Spare wellies and clothes are left at their grandparents but do not always still fit on following visits!
That’s the beauty of it – guilt free, environmentally friendly shopping for goods with short life-cycles, where a splurge is more than justified! It’s swift, it’s convenient, it saves hours of trawling on the internet and postage fees; you can ask for demos on equipment, try toys out and even put your haggling skills to use.
I hate buying anything new now and always think that maybe I could find it at the next sale. I have no shame in admitting that under our Christmas tree, Santa will have had at least 70% help from a baby sale!
How many have I visited? Hmm, let’s see… My oldest kid is 3 and 8 months, and I discovered the first sale when he was 3 months old. I make it to about twelve per year, so somewhere in the region of forty in total. Does that sound bad?!
Calculations say that I may have saved a couple of thousand pounds in that time.
So if people ask me how we can manage another holiday or long weekend away, I reveal my no-brainer scheme!
What do I do with all the stuff once he grows out of it? Become a seller and have the benefit of “previewing” goods in a sale before anyone else! Members have priority entrance, undoubtedly the sole reason for joining. And what do I do with all that newly found space? Hit the next sale, of course!
Before kids, I had to haul myself up a snowy mountain wrapped up like a marshmallow to seek a thrill. Now it’s the matter of how fast the route 42 will get me to the next sale.
This post was contributed to the blog by S Li-Barker