Friday, May 20, 2011

Sample Sales

I have never been to a good sample sale (up to this point).

Part 1: Merchandise
It's difficult enough as it is if you aren't a hanger or a mannequin to find something that looks good and fits in ready-to-wear at an affordable price in a regular store on a regular non-sample sale day. Ah, for the brief moment when I was a size 4, 106 pounds. Short of exercisingly furious and going on one of those ridiculous cleanses where you only drink your meals in the form of lemon juice and cayenne pepper, I'm still stuck looking for outfits that fit when I try them on and not (optimistically) in the few months it will take me to shed a few pounds. (Side note: I've always had a problem with the term "shedding a few pounds." It sounds reminiscent of a snake shedding its skin, making it seem like something that's quite natural to do...habitually...when in fact regularly gaining and losing a significant amount of weight is far from healthy...anyway...) The things you find at sample sales almost never fit right even if you are a sample size (I do happen to fit a 4-6, Small for the most part). It's not just that there's not a lot of choice (which there isn't) but that there often seems to be something wrong with what's on sale. Unusual bulge in the back of a jacket, an improperly sewn and thus puckering seam on the side of a silk or chiffon dress, something that looks good in the store but when taken home and washed once reveals itself to be terribly constructed and so fragile that for whatever reason it can never be worn again. Yay, sample sales.

Part 2: Location
For some unknown reason, unless the sale is happening in a store, it's happening up flights and flights of stairs in a dirty, unassuming, seemingly abandoned building that is barely marked and that you have to hunt for even when you're already standing on that block. That, or it's happening in an office building down a long corridor that smells stale, and like hopelessness. This location usually does not seem like it's been chosen because it's the best of all possible locations regardless of what Pangloss might say about the matter should we question him. No, it's usually terribly crowded, with no way of really arranging the merchandise without everyone still bumping into each other without space to maneuver. That brings us to...

Part 3: Fellow Shoppers
Now, I'm a New Yorker. I'm used to it here. But suddenly during sample sales all rules go out the window. Girls who might be the sweetest people you will ever meet outside of a sample sale are suddenly yelling and pushing, monopolizing time in front of the mirror when they aren't throwing things all over the place with complete disregard for the safety hazard or the people who then have to clean it up.

So what's my point? I guess this post is just an extended dejected sigh. And yet I keep going back. It's more than wanting to find a good bargain. There's something tantalizing about a sample sale. The promise of finding a truly special piece that everyone else isn't going to own...the chance of obtaining something that's within your means although under normal circumstances it wouldn't be. I suppose that's it. Sample sales have a little bit of magic about them, despite the lack of glamour that comes with the reality. They're like that liminal time or place in the fairytale when something out of the ordinary can happen, when you can bridge the gap between your world and one you aspire to, when you can steal some of the magic and use it to transform yourself... Perhaps I'm overthinking things. I tend to do that. Suffice it to say, once again I've returned home empty handed but not defeated. I'll be right back out there hunting through the racks soon enough.

Until next time... :)

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