Reporting from the Front Lines: A Sample Sale Virgin's First Time
Normally this is the sort if thing I avoid like the plague. Tons of crazed women acting like sharks that smell blood in the water, battling it out over discounted (and more often than not, defective) products. To me, its the gateway drug to becoming a hoarder. So I have to admit that my initial thought was a big, fat N-O when good friend and fellow SheTrusts contributor Alessandra Horii invited me to go with her to the Sanctuary warehouse sale. But when she followed it up with her endorsement of Sanctuary as a fashion brand that she trusts, I decided to come from a "place of yes" and use my first warehouse sample sale experience as an excuse to do some fashion research.
So we arrive an an inconspicuous warehouse deep in the valley on a Saturday morning at 8:15am, about 45 minutes prior to the opening, and we were lucky enough to be one of the firsts in line. Over time, it grew to to a respectable size of about 50 to 60 people. As we waited it was interesting for me to observe the social dynamic of the women who come to these things. There was the token middle-aged housewife in her Mercedes, moms with their daughters, single ladies in their mid-twenties like ourselves, and then those who I could tell were looking to purchase everything they could get their hands on in order to flip it around, raise the price and make a quick buck.
I was surprised to learn that they don't allow men at these things, and I didn't really understand the reasoning until later. No sooner than about five minutes after we were allowed to go inside did I observe groups of women stripping down to their underwear to try on their discounted finds in front of the one large mirror that was provided. Reduced to the bare minimum for this sort of operation, its just normal behavior to try things on right out in the open. Never one to have much shame (read: collegiate swimming), I followed suit and was thankful that I chose today to wear my favorite bra.
The two of us ended up spending about an hour snatching up everything that we thought looked remotely cute and of good quality, and narrowing down our selection as we quickly tried everything on. When it comes to checking out at a sample sale, please take advantage of this one tip from me to you: never pay the price they ask for at sample sales. Always, always, haggle. You'd be surprised at how easy it is to get up to 75% off of their asking price. I proudly got away with two blazers, printed jeans, leather shorts, and two dresses for $100 (as opposed to the $250 it would've been if I hadn't).
All in all, it wasn't the nightmare of a hoarder's paradise that I had anticipated, and I have to admit the rush of getting such a discounted price was pretty exhilarating. And while I did come across a good amount of items with horrendous defects, I did come away with some great finds with seemingly substantial quality (stay tuned for the reviews!). I can promise you that this will not be a reoccurring theme for all my Saturday mornings, but I'd be happy to try my luck again at a few other sample sales in the future.
Until next time, happy trusting!
... in the experience of Katherine Hanson.