Outlet Shopping with the Family, Was It Worth It?September 3, 2013 by Kyle 14 comments • Filed Under Consumer News, Family and Health
The stars all seemed aligned on Saturday when I pulled the minivan into the Vacaville Outlets as we had a couple extra hours to do a little shopping before we finished our drive to visit friends in the San Francisco bay area. The stars quickly seemed to be exploding as the parking lot was TOTALLY packed. I almost said “screw this” as I drove the minivan around and around looking for an empty stall with 3 kids in the back who were getting “anxious” to get out.
In case you were wondering, I looked up the word “anxious” in the smart-ass dictionary and it means, “driving Mom and Dad crazy and making them want to saddle up to the bar at Chili’s.”
Labor Day Sales Rock.
Once we finally found a spot to park, we were very impressed with the Labor Day sales many outlets had going on. In particular, American Eagle Outfitters had a 50% off the entire store sale going on, even on clearance items. My wife bought some blouses that were regularly $45 for like $12 since they were on the clearance rack and she got an additional 50% off. I had no idea that AEO even had outlet stores since I always see their overstocks at our local TJ Maxx. But sure enough they do, and the 50% off dealio was pretty awesome.
I asked the gal when we were checking out if they do this often and she said “No, only twice a year can you buy this trendy, Cambodian made, crappy clothing for 50% off our ridiculously expensive regular prices.” Kidding, but that would have been the BEST ANSWER EVER. I think I would have leaped the counter and given her a huge bear hug. At which point I probably would have been tased by Paul Blart.
Impulse Purchases? Yes, Please.
Gotta say that if you have a weakness for good deals, most of which you clearly don’t need, you might want to stay away from outlets like I stay away from the center aisles at Costco. The deals tend to call out my name and pull me in with their force field. This was especially true when I was standing in the long checkout line at the Nike Outlet where they have all these cool socks, clearance shoes, and other awesome sports thingies. It was all I could do to keep my blinders on and stay focused on why I came into the store which was to buy my 11-year old son some new duds for back-to-school.
Some Outlets Ain’t Outlets!
The biggest takeaway from my family trip to the outlets was that you have to be really careful about the pricing. Just because a store looks like an outlet, has an outlet bathroom, smells like an outlet, and has outlet employees doesn’t mean the prices are any better than their regular retail location. Some seem to have the exact same merchandise at what appears to be the same price which is really odd to me. What the heck is the point? Shoppers are eventually going to catch on (if they haven’t already). If you’re going to have an outlet location at the very least take last season’s merchandise, poke some holes in it, mark the tag with a Sharpie, and lower the price by 20%.
In the end, we came out ahead and had a successful shopping trip. Since most outlets (including the one we went to) are located in the middle of nowhere with cow pastures on both sides, I am not sure we would make a special trip as the cost to get there eats into any savings. But if you happen to be passing by an outlet it is definitely worth checking out.
What is your take on outlet shopping? Worth it? Yay or nay?
By Kyle James