Saturday, November 07, 2009

I really am amazed

I went to the mall this morning.

I'll give you a second to get over the shock.

SEE, I had a coupon for 15% off at JcPennys, and they had sent me this thing in the paper saying they had ‘door buster’ deals and according to the terms on my coupon I would get the 15% off “in-store” things which meant that I would get the 15% off the 60% off the stuff, plus they had a tiered $X off $Y purchase, blah blah blah…

Well. I fully expected that somehow, some way, I would end up paying a lot more for clothes. You know, the 15% wouldn’t count on this, or that, or this, and anything “good” wouldn’t be part of the 60% off thing and so forth and so on.

I’m already suspicious of their motives when they give me a time limit – shop from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. only!

But, I’m desperate. I start work next week (either Tuesday or Thursday, it depends on when my paperwork finally fully clears), and I have only one (1) pair of office-worthy pants…and I wore them for my interview. While I’m not 100% certain anybody would actually notice that, I’m pretty sure it would be noticed if I wore the same one pair of pants and same two (2) shirts all week, every week, until such time as I got around to shopping.

Depressed by the utter failure of our local thrift stores to cover my back (literally) (or hips, or thighs, or any other part of me my new coworkers would really prefer I kept covered), I girded my loins and took my budget in cash to prevent any accidental craziness and braved the lion’s den, my 15% coupon held before me like a shield.

Holy. Smokes.

I got such good prices on things today that it felt…vaguely…sinful.

When I’d taken the girls shopping a couple weeks ago, they’d wanted these cute, cozy little chenille-like sweaters. They were adorable and warm and I’d thought they would be a great addition to the cold-weather wardrobes around here – but they were $29.99 each.

Naturally, I’d gone to Plan K: I will Knit you something with stash yarn, darling. (And it should be ready for you to wear right before you head off to college!)

By the time all the various discounts were applied, they were $7. Seven. Bucks.

I found a couple work shirts on the “we really mean it, LAST-last chance!” rack. By the time they’d applied all the 60% here and 15% there and last-LAST chance discount…I paid $2 for each of them.

And I got a pair of $65 jeans (which are not ‘jeans’ in my humble opinion, as they are obviously designed to be “fashionable” which to me is a terrible oxymoron…jeans are working clothes to me, but what do I know about anything, I’m wearing a t-shirt with screaming ears of corn watching popcorn in a microwave with the caption “HORROR MOVIE” emblazoned across it. I don’t think I’m the one to turn to for advice around what is or is not fashionable, yo) for $12.

Which is $2 less than a pair of used jeans at the Goodwill right now, which is ridiculous and likely to lead to a twenty-seven page rant about when the HECK Goodwill decided $14 was the right price for a pair of used jeans…so let’s just keep talking about the great experience at the mall today, shall we?

Normally, I leave the mall angry and empty-handed. I walk out muttering things like, “Not paying that for that!” and comparing the prices at the thrift store and even saying things like, “I don’t care if has a little stain or needs new buttons or is a little worn at the elbows! At least it didn’t cost no $RIDICULOUS_DOLLAR_AMT!”

I walked out of there today like a skinny female Santa, with a huge, heavy bag slung over my shoulder.

And it was like Christmas around here as I took everything out. The girls kept shrieking. Oh, I WANTED that! Eeeeee, you got the red one! Oooooooh, whose is THAT? Is that MINE? Oh. It’s hers. Can I borrow it?!

I’m really stunned. I got a tremendous amount of good stuff today – and it didn’t cost more than the thrift store.

A few of the things actually cost less.

Which is probably more of a commentary on how much prices have gone up at the thrift stores lately than how low the department store prices really are…like I said, our Goodwill started charging $14 for a pair of women’s jeans not long ago. It absolutely sears my soul because they don’t even make allowances for things like stained up / banged up / holier than the Bible / so out of fashion it makes pre-teen’s eyes bleed…every pair of jeans, $14.

At least the hospice thrift has a sliding scale. You can still get a pair of basic work jeans for $6 over there, and only the fancier / nicer ones will be up in the $14 to $20 range.

But I digress. Which is no surprise because I feel as though the world tipped upside down here. I took $200 cash to that mall, and I still have $40 of it – and I got two dresses, twelve shirts, three sweaters and two pairs of jeans for the Denizens, plus five work shirts, five pairs of pants [two slacks, two corduroy, one ‘fashionable’ pair of jeans] for me, and a full set of towels for the kids’ bathroom – four bath towels, four hand towels, and four washcloths.

Holy crap. And they’re brand new! No stains, no missing buttons, no need for hemming, tucking, trimming off loose threads or anything else. When I saw something cute in a size 14, I dug around and found glory be!, the same thing in a 6! It’s a miracle!


I can almost see the appeal of shopping at the mall. From 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Door Buster Saturday, anyway. (You still can’t pay me enough to face Black Friday, though. There is no sale good enough to get me out of the Den on Black Friday. I won’t even go out for food on Black Friday. If we have no food on Black Friday [which is, you know, so never going to happen], well, a one-day fast is good for the soul.) (You can, however, talk me into Internet shopping on Black Friday. Oh my goodness yes you can…in my sweat pants, with a homemade dark chocolate mocha in my greedy little fist and a carefully organized list of stuff I’d like to pawn off on people for Christmas in hand…)

Now if there were just a way to go to the mall without being stepped on, pushed, leaned on, coughed upon or shoved by my fellow shoppers, I might actually hang out there a bit more.

From 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 on Door Buster Saturday, anyway.


Science PhD Mom said...

Ahhhh, you have met the power of the clearance rack plus awesome few or no restriction coupons. Welcome to my world. Around here Kohls gets all the lurrve in that respect, and I regularly clothe my husband in $3 dress shirts from the last-last clearance rack, give him free new slippers, gift $3 baby clothes, and wear a $12 Easter outfit. I LOOOOVE the clearance racks, coupons, and "store cash". Oh yeah. Waaaay better than the thrift store, and those racks are always there. The trick is to only go when you actually NEED something.

emily10 said...

Amazing! I clearly need to learn from this.
And it's a shame about the thrift stores. I live in a college town, so they can charge more because of all the hipsters.

Tola said...

yay go you!!!

i moved from Idaho/Utah, land of amazing thrift stores to PA/NJ where Goodwill is a bad joke. i very very rarely find anything i would buy new, much less used. sometimes you can find tiny thrift stores that benefit a hospital, or an orphanage, or something like that. but their stuff isn't much better. i am so looking forward to a trip home to visit the folks, and make serious inroads on my clothing-poor closet at the Deseret Industries. i might even find some yarn or knitting needles, it's happened before!

Jeanne said...

Hey, I hit that sale too! Got a set of curtains for a LARGE window in my teenage daughter's room. Bought one panel got the 2nd for 1 penny and had a $10 off coupon. $35 for room darkening (hello, teenager who sleeps during the day, not at night when it's ya know naturally dark) insulated drapes.

Lisa T said...

guess it's to late to suggest keeping the sweaters the girls really wanted to give them at xmas, huh?

Steph B said...

Wow, lady, you did some power shopping there! That is awesome! I was in the mall last week (for the first time in a loooooong while) and was appalled at the prices. Clearly I was there at the wrong time! The Goodwill stores around us tend to be a little ridiculous too, although you can still find some good bargains if you take the time. My favorite, though, is the ENORMOUS thrift shop near my sister, in Ohio. We regularly bring home items with the store tags still on them for $2 - $5 dollars each. They actually sort by size range, so you don't have to look through every single pair of jeans to find the ones that might fit you, too. Hmmm....I'm beginning to feel the urge for a little road trip!

Elizabeth L in Apex, NC said...

There's nothing like the feeling that you got away with something truly sinful, but you know they can't arrest you for it!

Here's hoping you new job is a joy and a blessing - and you jump into a routine with the family right away. Positive thoughts coming your way..

Lisa said...

Way. To. Go. I'd rather crawl naked through broken glass on a freshly salted highway than go to the mall. Oddly enough, I like thrift and consignment shops. Go figure.

How would you like to be my personal shopper?? (Ya know, if you didn't have that new job, maybe that would really be a marketable skill!)