Sample Sale Etiquette

Sample Sale Etiquette

My Dear Readers,

While I know that none of you would ever engage in any violence over a pair of Christian Louboutin’s because they are 70% off, after watching ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ for the millionth time, and during a sample sale shopping trip (where my sister got her Vera Wang wedding dress for only $250 and I scored 4 bridesmaid dresses for $100 total!), I felt compelled to create some tips for attending a sample sale to help make everyone’s retail therapy a joyous and pleasant one and less of a scene from ‘Gladiator’.

1. Bring Cash. This is a general good rule of thumb so you don’t go through credit card shock when the bill comes in, but also some sample sales only take cash.

2. Maximize your time. One of my favorite sample sales has a strict policy of only allowing 90 people in at a time and for 30 minutes at a time. Have ideas of what you are looking for ahead of time by surveying the room for what they have.

3. Multitask. Pick up many things while keeping an eye on the next one.

4. If you know you don’t want it, put it back for another shopper to discover it. Remember that once it’s out of your hands it becomes community property.

5. Check items for any damage. A true sample sale will have items that were the actual samples  shown to buyers and therefore might have a rip or a pen mark so it can’t be sold in the stores. Make sure you can (and will) repair it.

6. Negotiate. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the cashier. I’ve walked out of sample sales with $200 worth of goodies for only $150, mostly because they need to get everyone out of there and also they’re looking to get rid of items. It’s not guaranteed, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

7. Have fun! Shopping isn’t just for therapy, but also the thrill of the hunt. Finding that perfect dress or bag at a ridiculously low price can be worth standing in line over an hour. Bring a friend or two (just make sure you don’t wear the same size).

Have your own sample sale etiquette tips? Let us know in the comments.


Co-founder | Scarlett Rocourt
Scarlett creator of Wonder Curl is a Marketing Maven, DIY Diva & Glamour Girl! Her affinity for style, organization & discount designer shopping makes her a true Budget Socialite. Her flare for creativity allowed her to translate that into a career in marketing.

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