I have never really been inveigled by shops’ enticements to buy in the post Christmas bargain bonanza never quite seeing the point of sleeping outside a store just so I could be amongst the first to enter its portals the moment the Christmas crackers have been pulled and the After Eights passed round.
The thought of waking up with a mouth that felt like a fox’s armpit, body odour that was at best stale and both hair and face giving the appearance of a bewitched harpy all for the sake of a toaster just never appealed.
But today I decided to join the sales groupies and the following are just a few of my personal recommendations:
Don’t leave home without one: No I’m not talking about your flexible friend, more your safe seat aka your own home loo. Always go to the loo before leaving home. That 15 minute easy car journey turns into an hour of bumper to bumper bad tempered drivers, all angling to get one car ahead and even when you reach your city destination, expect to join another long queue as you search for a car-park space in the multi-storey.
Don’t forget your returns/exchanges: There is nothing more annoying than sitting in the car for 2 hours, parking then opening the boot triumphantly only to discover it is completely empty and remembering you put the M&S bag down when you went to the loo (see above).
Don’t forget your receipt: It’s sale time, so that luxurious golden fleece jumper you bought at great cost is now reduced from £85 to £15 and if you don’t have the original receipt you may as well kiss goodbye to £70 as they will only allow you an item with the equivalent marked down price.
Leave the pram at home: On the whole if you have a pram/push-chair and you are making your way through a shop or street, most people will move to one side and be sympathetic to your plight. Take your double buggy into Next or Debenhams at sale time and you will be scowled at if you are lucky or virtually lynched for being so stupid as to bring something that takes up the space of 3+ people in the snaking queue that leads to the tills. I recommend you leave ALL child related items at home with granny, that includes the child!
The Lavatory Lament: It is a fact of which there is NO escape: women take longer to go to the loo than men. There’s no quick fix for the ladies, we can’t just whip it out, perform, give it a quick flick and be done; nope, there’s the whole find a vacant cubicle (and you just know you will end up with the stinky one that has the wet seat and plop marks in the bowl and however much you try to look demure as you come out of the cubicle, the next visitor looks at you with such disdain you feel you need to give a statement of truth as to the state you found it in when you entered); remove bags from shoulders, look for somewhere other than the urine covered floor to put the bags, check there is a supply of loo roll (another item of toileting ladies need that men don’t) and if able, squat without allowing skin to touch loo seat…. I don’t think I need go any further. But suffice to say, it’s no easy task for us gals to go to the loo.
Don’t stop for refreshments: I know it’s tempting, a shopping expedition has to be accompanied by a Costa Coffee & muffin; it’s like bacon & eggs, bangers & mash, but the moment you stop you run the risk of losing that bargain and needing to relieve yourself (all that rummaging/walking/standing/etc has a peculiar effect on ‘down below’ and you will need to find a decent customer toilet (see previous point).
The final and most important point: Be strict with yourself: Ask yourself, ‘do I really need this?’ It’s only a bargain if it will be used/enjoyed/be of some benefit at some point in the not too distant future. So forget about the pink feather boa that you are sure would match your bedroom colour scheme that you are planning to do sometime soon, don’t even think about buying that set of drawers that would look just great if and when you manage to build that spare room you have been planning for the last 10 years. Nope, if it’s going to end up being put in a box for the next 10 years, then it’s just not worth it.
So there you are, just a few suggestions that might make for a successful, safer, stress-limited sales foray.
Of course you could always shop online and find masses of bargains all year round in the reassuring knowledge there will be no queue and any spots, splodges or other toilet detritus in the smallest room in your house will all be homemade.