Holiday Shopping

27 November 2017

Holiday Shopping is Hard—Don't Shoot The Sales Associate

Let’s face it: nobody sees sales associates as heroes. With the exception of Shopgirl, few movies feature a protagonist who lives this life. And yet… so many of us find ourselves working in sales—even if it was never the end goal.

Maybe you’re one such person. Maybe you thought you’d make it as an actress, but you decided to work a day job behind the counter just to pay the rent in the meantime. And then 10 years go by. You still identify as an actress, but it’s been years since you went on an audition.

This is a true story of a woman named Martha, whom I met years ago when I worked at the beauty counter of a NYC department store. Martha’s story is not unique. I encountered countless stories like hers. And yet… these stories are never portrayed on the big screen. Like an elephant in the room, they’re the stories most commonly lived but never discussed.

And then there are the people who decide to reenter the workforce, and think that the seasonal retail gig is their way in. They never foresee how brutal retail during the holiday season can be. So as the holidays approach… have some empathy for these sales associates and their unexamined lives. With the economy and consumer confidence on the rise, large retailers are excited for you to visit them online, but they’re desperate to get you in their stores, in the flesh. They’re also prepping their employment ads promising temporary sales positions that may eventually turn into permanent ones, but most only have enough bandwidth to focus on the near future—enough extra hands and smiles to handle the stressed-out holiday shoppers. Those seasonal employees will most likely be giving up time spent with family and friends to be in the store and earn that paycheck. Don’t forget their stories either.

As a TSC reader, you are probably a bargain connoisseur by now and you know better than to be anywhere near a mall on Black Friday or the week before Christmas. But we still encourage you to go visit the stores when you can and feel the glorious energy of the holiday frenzy. And when that frenzy turns to chaos in those brand name stores, sample sales are a breath of fresh air from it all. As always, we’ve got suggestions on that front.

Though there are plenty of clothing and shoe sample sales in New York this week, we must focus on home merchandise as we’ve stumbled upon the trifecta of sample sales that shouldn’t be missed. Trends quickly come and go in fashion, but tableware purchases are… forever? Considering how expensive they are, that’s how the saying should go, right? Here are three European brands synonymous with quality and luxury:

  • Baccarat Crystal is a French based company, located in Baccarat.
  • Waterford Crystal is named after the city of WaterfordIreland, with production in different European cities.
  • Lalique is also French and proudly carries the name of its founder, a renowned glassmaker and jeweller René Lalique.

A well-thought-out purchase at any of these sample sales could be enough to make your house feel more like a home… or tiny NY apartment more like a castle.

The Baccarat Sample Sale brings tableware, decorative pieces, lighting collections and a large selection of jewelry at 80% off.

The Lalique Sample Sale will feature select pieces from their interior design, decorative objects, jewelry and fragrance collections.

The Waterford Sample Sale has a wide array of formal and casual dinnerware and giftware, crystal stemware, flatware, lighting, collectible figurines and holiday items all discounted from 50-75% off.

Start decking your halls. Happy shopping.

Posted by Staff Writer at 12:15 AM
Our Views and Opinions |

9 December 2013

Cyber Month: A Non-Stop Shop-aganza

Still waking up to emails in your inbox with subjects such as, “BIG SAVINGS NOW!”, “SURPRISE 40% OFF SALE!” “EXCLUSIVE HOLIDAY DEALS!” and “LAST CHANCE FOR 60% OFF!”?

You aren’t alone.

In fact, any consumer who’s ever signed up for a retailer’s newsletter (that’d be pretty much everyone on the planet) has been wading through a flurry of such emails for a while; since before Thanksgiving and before Black Friday and certainly before Cyber Monday. And here we are, over a week after the turkeys digested, still receiving those same emails.

Welcome to cyber month.

Cyber month: A month full of blowout sales, mouth watering markdowns and can’t-resist-pop-up specials designed to get consumers to spend as much as humanely possible. You can expect those emails to flood your inbox up until the day before Christmas.

Sure, the thought of seemingly endless discounts is reason to celebrate for some. Heaven knows I’ve spent more than I should have in the past week alone. Not just on gifts, but on myself! How’s that for holiday spirit?

Still, for some consumers on a mission to snag the best prices, all these deals can be overwhelming. For starters, there’s a lot to choose from, making anyone on a budget feel a little panicked and unsure of their purchases. It’s also hard to tell whether a retailer’s inflated prices on items just to make it seem like you’re getting a better deal than you actually are. Lastly, people are wary of pushing the “complete checkout” button for fear they’ll find the same item on sale in tomorrow’s batch of retail emails.

One of those worriers? Know that there are ways to side step the stress of holiday shopping.

1. Ultimately, your best bet is to only buy things you previously had on your “to buy” list. It’s hard to resist sales, but if you didn’t need it before it went on sale, you don’t need it now.

2. It’s also smart to do some research to see what the price the item actually retails for (especially on electronics). This is harder to do for clothing, but if it was previously on your “to buy list” you likely had an idea of what it cost in the first place.

3. Review the retailer’s return policy and then save your tags and receipts. If, after a week, you begin regretting your decision or find another item you like more for a better price, return your purchase.

4. Lastly, when you can, shop at retailers who price match. The website/app DealScience has compiled a short list of stores that do price match:

Department stores:

  • Sears: 100%
  • Kohl’s: 100%
  • JCPenney: 100%
  • Target: 100%
  • Walmart: 100%

Specialty stores:

  • BestBuy: 110%
  • Fry’s: 110%
  • Home Depot: 110%
  • Lowe’s: 110%
  • Staples: 100%
  • Expedia: 100%
  • 100%

What are your thoughts on “cyber month”? Overwhelmed and shopped out? Or are you reveling in the joys of two fortnights of discounts supreme? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

By Wendy Rose Gould

Posted by Wendy Rose Gould at 11:00 AM
Opinions , Saving Tips , SHOPPING |

15 December 2012

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, tis the season to be jolly, and shop this week to don your new apparel come the big day, during the last official shopping week before Christmas! For those procrastinating New Yorkers out there, this is your time to show those credit cards whose boss and get on out there to shop, shop, shop, because you can’t expect the elves to do all the work, can you?

Your “savings” grace comes in the form of sample sales this week from Alice + Olivia, Bitta, Hugo Boss, Kimberly Ovitz, et al., and Rena Lange.

Sample Sale Alert: Yellow

After a crazy month jam packed with sample sales, Rena Lange starts off the last official week of hectic holiday shopping with their annual sample sale in the Meatpacking District. Start your week off early on Sunday and be among the first bunch of shoppers to browse Lange’s signature apparel from both her Fall and Winter 2012 seasons. True samples will be on hand at this sale as well!

Tuesday brings the crowd pleasing Alice + Olivia Sample Sale at 260 Fifth Avenue. Alice + Olivia is noted for their pixie-like designs and black and white boldness, with a pop of color. Get the ultimate Christmas Day dress here for as low as $199 beginning at 9AM. With jackets starting at $149, this may be the perfect stop for some last minute gift options as well.

Post-dress shopping at Alice + Olivia, jet across town to the Huge Boss Sample Sale at Soiffer Haskin for some casual pick me ups. Still haven’t found a special something for the man in your life? Don’t fret! At the Hugo Boss Sample Sale 70% off will be slashed from the original retail price of tailored clothing, sportswear, and accessories. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Considering Silver and Gold are the official colors of the holiday season, why not mark yourself with these dazzling hues by purchasing yourself a bold new piece of jewelry at the Bitta Design Group Sample Sale? From delicate gold and diamonds to trendy statement pieces for up to 80% off, this sale has all you’re are seeking in one place. If you fret the taste of your significant other, why not pick a gift out here for yourself? Take a snap with your cell phone and it along with a wink. It’s a win/win!

Last up on the shopping list is a visit to the Kimberly Ovitz, Sachin +Babi & Nili Lotan Sample Sale on Fifth Avenue. Pick up some designer treats for the babes in toyland of your life. For up to 80% off, look to score some fabulous sweater dresses, funky vests, and last minute casual delights during your final sample sale trip before Christmas. Ah!

Reward yourself and drink some spiked eggnog by the fire as you sip and savor the moment when all your shopping is complete. The mounds of packages await, just don’t have too many egg nogs before you start wrapping!

By Caitlin Colford

Posted by Caitlin Colford at 11:00 AM
Opinions , SALES , Sample Sale Previews , The City |

13 December 2012

We’re calling Henri Bendel 2012’s best place to stuff your holiday stockings. The upscale women’s speciality store — which sells everything from parfums to beauty products, gourmet foods to accessories and beyond — is seriously like a one stop shop for all the women (and a handful of men) on your shopping list.

Need convincing? We’ve compiled a list of 7 reasons why we adore NYC’s Henri Bendel.


Henri Bendel’s flagship store is located at 712 Fifth Ave., making it ultra convenient if you plan to hit other stores, as well. It’s right next door to Harry Winston and Bvlgari, which gives passers by a chance to check out the famous star on 57th and Fifth Avenue.

Harry Winston

Up and Coming Jewelry Designers

Henri Bendel buys and sells from blossoming jewelry designers. That means shoppers will often find fresh designs at affordable prices. Ask yourself: what makes a better gift than a new piece of jewelry that stands out in a crowd?

Up and Coming Jewelry Designers at Henri Bendel

Just the Right Size

Feeling cramped while shopping can be a major drag for any customer. Stores that are so massive they overwhelm you aren’t any better, either. Henri Bendel is neither too big nor too small. It’s an intimate venue that has an air of elegance about it. We particularly love their central sumptuous stairs. “They make me feel a socialite has decided to open her doors for the holidays and I am snooping through her stuff,” noted The Style City’s site owner, Mirela.

Henri Bendel is just the right size

Budget Friendly

Unlike some of Fifth Avenue’s major hot spots, Henri Bendel is sensitive to shoppers’ wallets. This is apparent even by checking out their website, which groups gifts into different price brackets. You’ll even be able to find some gifts under $10.

Budget Friendly $10 gifts at Henri Bendel

Humor Abounds

While refined, Henri Bendel also has a sense of humor. For example, their book selection includes titles such as, “Angry Little Girls,” “Dads are the Original Hipsters,” and “Worst Case Scenario Pocket Guide: New York City.”

Humor Abounds at Henri Bendel, their book selection includes titles such as, 'Angry Little Girls,' 'Dads are the Original Hipsters,' and 'Worst Case Scenario Pocket Guide: New York City.'

The upscale women's speciality store -- which sells everything from parfums to beauty products, gourmet foods to accessories and beyond

More Books

In addition to the humorous selections mentioned above, Henri Bendel sells loads of style books, as well. These make a great gift for any BFF who has an interest in the fashion, style or beauty world.

More Books at Henri Bendel

Candle Obsessed

Luxury candles make the perfect gift for a hostess, mother in law, best friend or even boss. Henri Bendel carries a large selection of candles, including their own line of lauded home fragrances. Mirela particularly loves that they carry her favorite brand, Antica Farmacista, which isn’t always easy to find.

Candle Obsessed at Henri Bendel

 Antica Farmacista, which isn't always easy to find.

By Wendy Rose Gould

Photos: Micky Filip

Posted by Wendy Rose Gould at 06:00 AM
bargain news , In the Neighborhood , Opinions , Places , SHOPPING , Stores , The City , Trends |

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