With some online sales starting on Christmas Day and shoppers queuing through the night to get into stores first, the sales are certainly silly this year. But can you really bag a bargain, or do sales just stress you out?
In January the frantic scrabble for last-minute bargains can put off even a hardened shopper. So this year, I’ve made a resolution to avoid shopping in January. The empty post-Christmas bank account and stress of competing for discounts is far too much for me.
But am I missing out on some amazing bargains? So far, January seems to have been filled with friends’ tales of 70% discounts, bargain gadgets, and bulk-buys that sound far too good to be true. Don’t even get me started on my Mum’s bargain £45 suit (which, despite raving about it for hours on New Year’s Eve, she will definitely never ever wear).
Being frugal and avoiding fights
The main reason I’m avoiding the sales is because, ironically, I just can’t afford them. I was a bit over-generous this Christmas, and the combination of a lot of presents for others and a lot of drinks for myself means that my wallet is completely empty until payday. Even the biggest bargains still cost something!
But I think I’m also a bit wearied by the act of sales shopping itself. Queuing outside a shop, pushing with others to get in, then having a battle of wills at the trouser rack when you see someone else eye the last pair in your size: it’s exhausting.
Not to mention the panic that hits when you realise you want to return something. Top tip from our Which? Consumer Rights section: your right to return faulty goods doesn’t disappear just because you’ve bought something in a sale.
Tightening belts in 2011
I suspect I’m not the only one who’ll be avoiding the January sales. The VAT rise won’t be helping shops shift their stock, and public sector cuts and job losses mean that many will be anticipating a leaner year in 2011.
I’m not sure if there’s a name for a post-Christmas Scrooge, but I am one – sitting at home in my Christmas jumper for the foreseeable future rather than venturing out. Will you be doing the same, or have you already hit the silly sales season and bagged some bargains?