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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Clearance" Should be a Controlled Substance

Day 109
"Clearance" Should be a Controlled Substance

Our government attempts to protect us from ourselves by ordering intensive warning labeling. "Don't Plug This in While Standing in a Tub of Water." "Warning: Do Not use Orally After Using Rectally." A prescription drug advertisement can have 10 times more warnings than benefits! Yet, some of the most dangerous things come without warning at all. For me, it's the (da, da, da ...) clearance sale.

This is the third in the series of "why I shop" revelations. Over the past 100+ days, I have come to the realization that I shop because I love clothes and because it is a response to nearly every emotion in my repertoire. The final reason is that I am virtually defenseless against a really good clearance sale, or any really good sale at all, for that matter. I rarely buy anything at full price anymore. I don't even think stores expect us to. Each week, stores woo us with fetching seasonal ads boasting great discounts. I saw that JC Penney has tried to get away from the constant sale cycle by offering great "everyday" prices, and even they now have "lowest price Fridays" or something similar. TJ Maxx doesn't have sales, but --oh boy-- they have clearances.

The mall nearest me has a Lord and Taylor Outlet store. It is not uncommon to find a rack of clothing "90% Off". I am drawn like a moth to a flame. The idea of purchasing something for just 10% of its retail price is intoxicating. Doesn't matter what is it, how ugly or ill-fitting, or even the ridiculousness of the original price, I want it. Parisian has lured me time after time with Yellow Tag Clearance and extra markdown coupons. Almost every store does it. I feel a real sense of triumph when I am savvy enough to purchase something at a mere fraction of what the general public pays. I am SAVING money for my family, in fact, my husband will likely retire early with all I have saved from these remarkable sales-- NOT! The fact is, my worst, most wasteful, stupidest purchases come from clearance sales. I quickly forgive a flaw, a color that I should never wear, or a completely unflattering style. Each time I find another item buried in my closet with a price tag still intact--you can bet it's a clearance tag. Why? If I purchase something a full price, or even at an ordinary sale, I scrutinize like crazy. How well does it fit? How will this work with my existing wardrobe? Is it really worth the price? All of that reasoning flies out the mall door when a clearance tag is in sight.

While I do not buy clothes, I still have occasion to be in stores where they are sold, and I still look! The sight of the clearance sign still, even after 109 days, gives me quivers. I hope, hope, hope that 365 days will be enough time to defend myself, because I don't think a government warning is on the horizon.

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