Sample Sale Bedlam: What bloggers endure to deliver the best review possible
New York City’s hottest sample sales are nothing short of pandemonium. Various fashion blogs feature weekly reviews of the hottest sample sales. They’re full of pictures and prices, providing our beloved readers with an accurate opinion and description of the sale at hand, exhibiting sufficient reason to attend or skip the sale at hand, as to not waste their time. It sounds like a pretty simple job, right? Wrong. It may sound fun to shop for a living, and don’t get me wrong – it is! – but with all good must come bad, and it’s about time we point it out for no other reason than to give fashionistas a behind the scenes glimpse to an average work day for a New York City sample sale reviewer.
For well over two years I have been covering sample sales, visiting every variety, shape and size sale you could possibly dream up. I can easily predict the crowd, selection, prices, and overall environment before even stepping foot into the mayhem.
However, despite the crazed fashionistas and deal hungry shoppers, who merely foam at the mouth for an 80% off pair of heels, the biggest grief givers within sample sales are the organizers and employees themselves. This isn’t the case for all organizers mind you (namely 260 Fifth – they are by far the most professional), but as for the other half, they seem to get their kicks by barking at shoppers, forcing them to stand in inclement weather for hours at a time, being inconsiderate with the prized designer bags, laptops, and leather jackets that customers are required to check upon entering, and perhaps worst of all, placing dressing rooms off limits, forcing shoppers to strip down to their unmentionables as they try on discounted jeans, blouses, and well, even bathing suits. What else are they supposed to do given the no refund or exchange policy? After all these years the sample sale has been eternalized as a hubbub of rabid and crazed shoppers who are itching for deals, but are the organizers actually the ones to blame for inducing this behavior?
Most sales also have a strict “no photography” policy, and balk when they see journalist like myself scribbling away in her notebook. Perhaps they hope that without press, a mystique will be added to the sale and in the end draw in more curious customers. At one recent sale in particular–which shall remain nameless– they were not allowing press inside. Being that The Stylish City is relied on for delivering same day reviews, no one was going to stop me from entering this sale. Well, aside from the estimated 2.5-hour wait that is. Using my vast sample sale knowledge I found a loophole. There was about 5-minutes before the doors opened to the public, and boxes of merchandise were still being wheeled in through their loading dock. Sneaky me tip toed toward the side entrance and made my best attempt at “blending in” with the deliverymen. Walking slowly behind them I quickly ducked into a public bathroom before being snagged by security. While inside the restroom, I impatiently stared at my watch until opening time struck. As I heard the herds role in, I quickly scampered inside, successfully entering the hottest sample sale of the week without even having to wait a minute.
It’s true, sample sale shoppers can be rude, grabby, and exhibitionists. They don’t care who is in their way of a $20 Alexander Wang tee-shirt and they will most likely risk jail time for the discount. But as I mentioned, aside from the rabid fashionistas, the employees are those who immediately come to mind when envisioning the negative side to sample sale shopping.
By Caitlin Colford
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