In Paris, a day that starts without shopping and ends without shopping is a day I’m not familiar with. — SGL
Yes, I just quoted myself. Sue me. Actually, don’t. Cause I’m spending all my money on “soldes.”
What’s “soldes,” you ask? Only one of the two best times of year here in Paris, when everything—and I mean everything—goes on sale. From the pharmacies touting discounts on moisturizers to the various eyeglass stores offering markdowns on lunettes (shaded and prescription), there isn’t a full-priced item in town.
I kid, of course. The eclairs and croissants are still top euro. And the 35-euro kickboxing courses or the spring 2015 “nouvelle collection” that’s started to bloom in stores don’t get the sale treatment. But pretty much everything else does. And I’m having a field day. I leave the house with the intention of just going for a coffee or hitting a museum or maybe seeing a movie. Next thing I know I’m in a dressing room trying on jeans. To be fair, I don’t always get the jeans. But I do get sucked into trying them on. (Which, subsequently involves more sucking-in due to all the aforementioned croissants I’ve been eating. But I digress.)
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for a sale. Loehmann’s was practically my second home and I know the layout of Nordstrom Rack in Union Square like Jay Z knows Brooklyn. (Coats straight ahead off the escalator, accessories to the left, lingerie behind them, changing rooms in the back near the men’s collection and shoes just before the registers.) My sister and I also flock to sample sales as pigeons do to air conditioners. Of course, a lot of times the slashed down prices are still a pretty penny, but it doesn’t matter. If I see a “was X is now X,” numbers turn into rainbows and unicorns.
To help you understand the magnitude of “soldes” here in Paris, let me explain: The government delineates discounts twice a year—and twice a year only: once in January and again in June. Over the course of six weeks, merchandise is marked down a first time (usually about 40%)…then a second time (50-60%)…then again for maximum save-age (up to 70%!) as the sale period comes to a close. You will not find a small section with discounts on merch that isn’t selling well in, say, March or October. There are no one-day flash sales for VIP customers or coupons to cash in on. This is it.
Which, of course, means I’m walking around seeing unicorns and rainbows pretty much all the time.
Still, I refuse to spend money on totally superfluous stuff that either a) won’t remind me of, or isn’t made in, Paris or b) doesn’t suit my everyday needs or c) have anything to do with furnishing/decorating a new apartment in Paris (I move this week!). But that actually still leaves room for quite a lot of savings and the pressure to take advantage runs deep. I start thinking, ‘Well, I’m not out of that moisturizer yet, but in a few weeks I will be…’ Or, ‘Gosh, I haven’t lost or broken this umbrella yet, but it’s only a matter of time…’ Or, ‘I think I can get away with just a microwave and stovetop in my new apartment, but what if I want to roast a chicken?’
Shouldn’t I just stock up now before it’s too late and I have to (gasp) pay full price????
For now, I’m trying to keep my admittedly #firstworld quandaries in check by just sticking to the necessities. This may include a pair of jeans from Maje cause I’ve pretty much been wearing the same skinnies since arriving, but mostly it’ll include visiting Darty (Paris’ Best Buy) for a new toaster oven or an iron (snooze) and Ikea for closet organizers, door hooks and a desk/armchair (triple snooze).
Plus, you can stock up on umbrellas all you want, but they’re destined to end up on the floor of a dressing room somewhere no matter how much you pay for them. (Ahem, true story. Got the jeans, though!)