You all know how much I love to shop at small stores and boutiques, and for so many reasons I encourage you to do the same, but sometimes there are situations that apply to a specific need or special request, which gets me out to the corporate retail giants. When it applies, I find this list of mantras to be crucial.
1. Pre-Shop Online.
Save yourself the heartbreak and make sure the item you want is available at a particular location by checking it’s in-store availability online first.
2. Go Early!
There are a million common proverbial phrases that you could apply to this to help you if you’re not a morning person; “The early bird gets the worm”, “Just before dawn I have the world all to myself”, “A rising tide lifts all boats” …However you want to motivate yourself to be the first one to Nordy’s on that Saturday morning, I promise you it’s worth it. Or better yet, shoot for the off-peak, weekday morning. You’ll be overjoyed by the lack of crowds.
3. Look For The Veteran Salesperson.
Generally speaking that person you’ve seen perhaps every time you’re in the store, who is dressed professionally and has a little more purpose to their step is going to be the one to turn to. The seasoned pro will better know their inventory, help clue you in on sales, and likely be more polite and caring.
4. Grab Two Sizes When Retreating To The Fitting Rooms.
Many companies size their clothing differently, some even partaking in that old exasperating trick, “Vanity Sizing” (i.e. The reason you get so excited about that size 6 yet so disparaged by that size 10 all in a matter of minutes). Keep in mind size is just a number and what people see is how your clothes fit, not the tag in the back. So grab two sizes to save you time and be mindful of your fitting guidelines not those silly numbers.
5. When Your Size Isn’t In Stock, Order Online.
If they don’t have your size in stock, try on the same item in a different color or similar style to assume fit and then order online. Oddly enough, in many cases it’s much faster to order online from your phone while you’re right there in the dressing room, as opposed to having a clerk check other stores for shipment availability first. However, if a salesperson has generously assisted you, acknowledging them with the commission is in good form.
6. Do Coupon.
Download them to your phone, clip them from flyers, or print them from the web – however you coup, I applaud you. Do your research for upcoming sale days and plan accordingly. Keep in mind at many stores the sales are changing everyday and on the fly. And sometimes even when the store is having a sale online, they don’t honor it in the stores. Confusing, isn’t it?! (I’m looking at you, Banana Republic). I suggest calling the store the day of to check, as sometimes even the sales associates aren’t clued in until they get to work.
7. Be Cautious Of Sale Racks.
Even though you’ve waited months for a particular garment to be marked down, it isn’t a race to the check-out just yet. Make sure you look out for snags and tears, beads or buttons missing, makeup stains and any other blemishes that may be blurred by your excitement. You’ll only be let down later.
8. Make Your Best Entrance.
And I don’t mean make sure you remember to comb your hair for all the strangers you’re about to encounter. I mean source the proper door for your intentions. If you’re on the hunt for shoes and you know the shoe department is an easy stroll through the West Entrance, park accordingly. Department stores have plenty of distractions and can be pretty overwhelming. Don’t erase all you’ve set out to do by finding yourself lost in a maze, or overstimulated by selection.
9. Come Well Nourished.
It may not seem strenuous but all the bright lights, people, and pretty things can take a lot out of you. Keep snacks on hand and a bottle of water for what is to be a day of shopping. Burning out when you’re mid-mission and empty handed isn’t going to have you feeling accomplished in the slightest.
10. Be Prepared To Say No To The Credit Card Offer.
They will try to lure you in with more discounts by opening a new card. If you are considering it, be sure you are doing it on the smartest day possible when you are making a substantial purchase. Some stores such as Nordstrom offer a debit card instead still providing the same rewards with less to be weary of.
I hope these tips help you on your mission. Now, go forth and conquer!