08 August 2006

Bargain Hunters

As a slave to the retail industry as of late, I have come to a greater understanding of the ebb and flow of buying and selling. Previously one to simply purchase what was needed at the time it was needed, I never gave a great deal of thought to the concept of seasonal sales. Sure, I knew about those after-Christmas sales with scads of forlorn ornaments that will never grace anyone's tree and ridiculous sweaters that no one in Texas would ever have occasion to wear, and the back-to-school specials where everyone bought No. 2 pencils and Mead notebooks for half price, and, here recently, the phenomenon known as tax-free weekend where teenagers and their parents flocked to local malls just to save two or three dollars on their Hollister jeans. But did I really stop to consider the logic, the reasoning, the...well, scheming that went into seasonal sales? Not until today.

While my coworkers scurried about, frantically asking the other if they'd found any good finds yet, I marked down the remaining set of fondue forks to 99 cents. A giant procelain rooster was marked down to $43.99 (not quite so much of a steal, but still a heavy discount). A set of three bud vases went to $11.99, and a cast-iron chicken-shaped roaster was marked $19.99 (which caused quite a ruckus as three employees neared blows to see who'd get the last two). Straw placemats went to $2.99 and a tin of dinosaur cookie cutters was marked down to $4.99. This is just a bunch of junk, I thought. But, oh, how quickly would I eat my words.

Not long after, whatever spells the head honchos of the retail world have cast over their marked-down merchandise caught me in its inescapable grasp, and I purchased two bottles of dish soap, a Rachel Ray cookbook, an ice cream scoop and an adorable little round cutting board.

What is it, I began to wonder, about those red 99s or bright orange stickers marked "clearance"? Why are we so compelled to purchase something, never mind that we wouldn't know what to do with red peach nectar or beaded fish napkin rings, just because some retailer deems it a bargain?

I have a funny feeling this will become a ritual on markdown days. I just can't resist a bargain. At least, that's what the higher-ups would have me think.

No comments: