THE FESTIVE season is still in full swing for many of us. The turkey has not yet fully digested but already we’re braving the chilly conditions and heading out to bag a bargain. Boxing Day sales are not just for one day – a quick glance at an app on my iPhone indicates a Boxing Day sale ending on 31st December (maybe renaming to ‘the end of year sale’ may be more appropriate?). Anyway we are a nation seduced by bargains all year round. We head online and into shops looking for stuff on deals. We have developed a sharp eye for spotting the different coloured shelf edge labels in supermarkets that tell us a deal is on. It’s actually getting to a point where we’re starting to feel ripped-off when we purchase items at normal price!
The bargain mentality
Our liking for a bargain has been around for ages. Recently whilst going through some of my retro archives, I dug up a few adverts from the 70s – one of them for a furniture shop boasting about their New Year sale and the other a convenient shore boasting of low prices. I’m a great example of an eagle-eyed bargain hunter. I spent last Christmas in Spain and totally missed the Boxing Day sales. This Christmas I’ve been away again but this time in the East of England. I returned home on Wednesday (27th) evening about 7pm. Once home and before unpacking the car, I went to the local supermarket. I didn’t need anything urgently from the supermarket, I went for one simple reason … to try and bag an after Christmas bargain. My trip proved to be quite unsuccessful as other bargain hunters were quick off the mark and left the shelves bare. I wasn’t going to give up. Next morning I was out of bed pretty sharpish and back down to the supermarket. My thought process was that maybe the nightshift crew had replenished the bargain stocks. Sadly again I was left disappointed as I ran into more bare shelves. I did spot a half-moon shaped blue cheese that was originally reduced from £3.50 to £1.75. A few days earlier my wife had bought this for £3. I took a photo of the price reduction, showed it to my wife and suggested that maybe we should celebrate Christmas Day on the 27th or 28th in future. The logic is that we could buy Christmas presents and food on the 26th and save a fortune. So there you have it, an example of bargain mentality.
Is a bargain really a bargain?
Sometimes. During my unsuccessful bargain hunting venture, I did see a DAB radio reduced from £35 to £25. The radio looked familiar … it was the same one sitting in the kitchen at home – I bought it 2 years earlier in the same shop for £15! (No surprise I remembered the exact price I paid 2 years earlier). So what’s cracking on here? Sounds like a case of excessive stock syndrome whilst trying to drive monetary value.
Also that half moon of blue cheese had a use by date of 2nd January. As much as we like blue cheese in our household, we’d struggle to get through even a quarter of this by the 2nd. There were other bargains in the supermarket but the thought of buying something of no use to us is poor use of money.
The future of bargains
The future is bright for the hard-core bargain hunters. The bargains can be scooped up from almost anywhere on the high street. We’ll continue to be enticed by knock down prices. We’ll continue to pack your trolleys with deals and offers. The various sales throughout the year show no signs of disappearing. The late night trips to the supermarket to grab a basketful of items with yellow stickers still have mileage.
As a seasoned bargain hunter, I managed to turn my disappointment into success in the last 48 hours. I managed to bag a plug-in doorbell for £6.99 (originally £16.99) – a perfect purchase as visitors have had to pound on the front door with their fists for the last 4 years. I also managed to buy all the Christmas cards needed for 2018 at half price. The future is bright – BOGOF’s, yellow stickers, deals and discounts – the bargain train continues to speed down the track with headlamps blazing.
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