Sale off and grab yourself a bargain

John Ward
John Ward
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WARD’S WORLD: By John Ward

With Christmas over for another six months, or earlier depending on stock arriving after Easter, we enter another buying season or extravaganza. We now turn our attention, plus importantly wallets, purses with assorted methods of paying that range from that common cash thing to cards and electronic gizmos that don’t seemingly need you there but just to wander pass a scanner sited within a mile or a kilo is all that is needed as we now go into the world of the January sale malarkey.

For some this means staring into shop windows to see that what they shelled out for with their hard earned just mere weeks or days ago, has now been reduced in price that can range from 10% to 75% off with perhaps a keen eye to spot in small print the magic word ‘from’ that is usually about 10% the size of the big sale printed prices. Once you realise this and other basic rules of engagement, its time to ‘fire up the wallet/purse’ and head off into the super world of bargains and sale items.

In years past this has been a straight forward process as in you snapped up that elusive ‘bargain’ that before you may not have even considered as a must-have but with the price - it says on the ticket - now reduced, it could well indeed be yours, whether needed or not as after all if the ‘price is right’ it must indeed be a bargain.

As I said at the beginning of the last paragraph, and I hope you are paying attention, the process of snapping a bargain has now entered a new phase as those with too much time on their hands have now made this their own little jungle.

Nowadays you can see folk looking at items and importantly the price ticket and then get their mobile phone, device or laptop out and these can be anything from the size of a pack of playing cards to something the size of a paving slab depending on how vain the owner is. They then proceed to take a snap, sorry, photograph or scan of the said price ticket and then sends it to a cohort on ‘social media’ to tell it/them what they have seen and with photographic evidence to back their case up.

Plan B kicks in. Compare the price like for like for the same item/article in, say, Cambodia although it should be pointed out it may well be cheaper in said Cambodia but you will have to have the plug changed and allow a few months while it’s transported here by mule, rickshaw then ship and eventually ends up in the Scottish islands as the courier misread the address label, but it was cheaper of course.

I must admit I find the electrical world of household appliances rather an odd situation as I will relate to my way of thinking. I still cannot grasp the fact that you can purchase a washing machine for less than under two hundred pounds that has the complexity to wash your clothing and spin it dry plus lose a sock in the process at alternate times or by arrangement, although a vacuum cleaner that in basic terms sucks up dust and fluff and can, and does in a lot of instances, cost over four hundred pounds. When you consider all the working components in a washing machine and pro rata in the vacuum cleaner, it just doesn’t add up or it’s one heck of an expensive ‘name’ to have bought or perhaps it’s been trained or programmed to suck up only select high quality dust and fluff and not any of the common stuff - apparently .

Perhaps the next sale or bargain area on the pecking order of things is clothing that has been reduced. One gem from years ago was a friend of mine who worked in a clothing outlet and one time wasting customer inquired if the raincoats in the main shop window were being reduced and Paul said it could be arranged and “Had Sir got his eye on a particular one?” he asked politely.

All smiles as he pointed one out, Paul then asked him if he wanted the sleeves cutting off as this would indeed have been a big ‘reduction’ to which the man stared at him and said that it would be a waste and Paul replied it could set trends for use in summer depending on which weather forecast you bothered to believe in.

Buying items of clothing or garments in general is a jungle all of its own and one has to be careful when entering it as although there are assorted signs informing you that you can return the item, there are also those that state no returns are acceptable due to the nature of the item. One intellectual cracker was some years ago now but for all that, quite memorable, otherwise I wouldn’t be scribbling about it now. My mum, of the people for the people, was in a then local clothing store, large and catered for both ladies and gents apparel and she was wandering through the gents outfitter section when a lady was having a session of heated discussion with the chap on the service counter.

As the conversation or shouting match was going on, mum learnt the lady was returning a gents tie brought for her husband but was the wrong size - yes, really - as it was ‘quite tight on him’ (?!) and wanted to exchange it for another with a slacker fitting - like you do - and it seemed things were getting nowhere until, yes, you may have guessed already. Mum intervened by suggesting perhaps if her husband kept the tie as it seems from what she overheard her hubby liked it, but try tying it with a different knot to make it fit better as she could put him in touch with Alistair, who ran the local scout group, and perhaps he could show him a few different knots he could try. From what mum said the lady suggested she “Go to Hull” so there was a nautical theme to it, all knots considered.

Of course the actual price reduction quoted can be a strong contender for the Misleading Statement of the Year Award in that it says one thing but means another in reality. For instance: the price quoted is the current sale price although if you look at the almighty small print section, the saviour of the retail world as we have come to know it, it was sold at a reduced price during the period following St. Rodney the Befuddled Day for a week, but then shot up to the ‘normal price’ thereafter before being lowered again for this ‘sale’ to work out at five pounds more than the last sale offer price (still with me?) and speaking as somebody who has been through this process when buying a printer, I really ought to know better.

Memo to self: before embarking on a ‘bargain sale’ hunt, pack microscope and telescope to check price tickets and descriptions out more thoroughly in future.

Have a Happy, Bargain New Year.