Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Here in Paris, the sales period has begun. Unlike in the US, where there is always a sales rack with discounted merchandise and where there are multiple big-sales periods (I'm thinking Thanksgiving, after Christmas, July 4th, Memorial Day, and every other holiday that the stores tack sales onto), in France sales only comes twice a year: January and July. So imagine all the stress and waiting in lines and people cramming into the stores and stressed out salespeople, but packed into a month. And for - gasp - 30% off the retail price! Welcome to French sales.

I guess if you never get to buy anything on sale 20 or 30% off sounds like a big deal, and it is true that as the sales period goes on they might even reach 40% off, but I can't stand the crowding and the ginourmous lines for such little discounts. Today I was near a shopping center so I decided to drop in a Petit Bateau to check it out. The merchandise was only discounted between 20 and 30%, and there was a line with about that many people in it! And this is a TINY store, with usually 2 saleswomen max (I think today they might have had 3). But this was the grand opening day of sales, and I'm sure I'll check it out in a few weeks when everything has calmed down. Last year I got a great coat from Comptoir des Cotonniers for about 40% off towards the end of the sales period when it was no longer stressful to go shopping. And one upside of it is that stores that don't do Soldes, like bookstores or electronic stores (I'm thinking of Gibert Jeune and FNAC) are eerily empty when usually they would be packed.
But for now, I am steering clear of Parisian boutiques!

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