Beauty Bitch: Sample Sale Mayhem

Mimi ON Dec 04, 2008 AT 12:15 pm

Sample Sale

Sample Sale

Maybe it’s the current climate, but there seem to be many more ‘sample’ sales on this year. Getting more for less, though, isn’t always the sweet experience you’d expect it. While I don’t attend many sample sales, I’ve been lured to visit a few high end ones, if only to see what goes on behind the hallowed doors of a ‘friends & family’ event.

Many companies use email to spread the word of ‘friends and family’ sample sales; some even ask for confirmation that you’ll be attending or insist that you register to ‘ensure entry’ – and hey, look! Their mailing list just trebled. So the offer of heavily discounted goods comes at a price to you of many more targeted emails to your inbox as I’ve discovered with Anya Hindmarch, who email so often we are practically bezzie mates.  Smythson ask that you email them back to confirm attendance; it won’t be long now before I get a barrage of ‘special offers’ – or maybe they are just too highbrow for that kind of lowbrow marketing. We’ll see. Reiss, held in Islington a few weeks ago, was crowded beyond belief, but had a system in place that ensured everything proceeded – albeit slowly – in an orderly fashion. They even had current stock heavily discounted so for that alone they get a star. It wasn’t all summer dresses and t-shirts.

 Sample sales can be pretty grisly; and it’s not the hoards of customers who are to blame. Over officious security guards who think they are protecting the crown jewels – not boxes of mis-matched clothes that nobody wanted to buy at full price – turn them into a living hell. I’ve witnessed one poor woman being accused of stealing when in fact the assistant forgot to put a purchased purse in her bag – when she tried to rectify this she was accused of trying to pull a fast one and absolutely refused point blank a replacement purse that she had in fact already paid for but hadn’t got.

The worst culprits however are Burberry. Their badly organised bag-drop where bags are handed in is run by one security person who is also in charge of the bags-out section. This means that while he’s checking your purchases against your receipt to ensure you haven’t stolen anything, he can’t be checking bags in – just in case you try to slip anything into your clutch. From the minute you walk in you are an assumed shop lifter. Ironically, however, they do employ a man (with walkie talkie and Bluetooth of course) purely to open the door to let you out. If he can be bothered he will occasionally help with the bag checks. They are rude, rude, rude, and to make things even worse, when I visited today, Burberry have now changed the rules. You can only get in with a printed invitation. Last week, you didn’t need one. So the jumped up security guards (who I suspect are just hauled in from some seedy nightclub door for the day) are happy as larry shouting at confused Japanese people and refusing entry left, right and centre.

 My advice? Stick to classy sales that don’t drop their standards just because they are holding a sample event and that don’t treat anyone just trying to snag a pre-offered bargain like the shoplifter of the year. Stylish clothes? I don’t think so.

Sample Sale

Sample Sale

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