Did you know that this weekend is the biggest sale ever? It really doesn't matter where you want to shop as I'm sure that store is yes, having the biggest sale ever! I also received an email from my printing company that they are having their biggest sale ever; the same email I get every single day. And I'm sure if I looked hard enough I could find a store staying open until midnight having yes, their biggest sale ever.
In mid January I was fortunate enough to travel to Paris, France. While searching the web for fun things to see and do out of the ordinary Eiffel Tower/Notre Dame type tours, I discovered that I would be traveling in Paris during what is called "Les Soldes" or "The Sale". Of course that didn't really trigger any big response as I am so conditioned that everything is on sale everyday. Then I read further.
Without being able to really say why this is, many countries in Europe have sales that are government regulated. In France, there are two sales annually, each lasting about six weeks. Arriving in Paris on January 9, "Les Soldes" was scheduled to begin on January 12. I couldn't imagine a place where everything wasn't on sale everyday. This meant to me that the absolute best selection of goods possible would be available; that this was most definitely an event that was not taken for granted.
The streets of Paris were not crowded on January 9, 10 and 11. However, come January 12 it was like black Friday on steroids. I have never witnessed such a frenzy or a sale that creates such a mood amongst people. This was an EVENT, like a national holiday. Women were dressed to the nines, making their way through racks and racks of designer clothing, shoes, everything they could get their hands on. Dare you put something down for a moment and it was picked up by the person next to you!
Despite the crowds and long lines to pay, it was something that I am so glad I got to experience. The general excitement was infectious; the thrill of the bargain was so intense. It was obvious to me that many people only shop during "Les Soldes". By the time January 13 and 14 rolled around I do not exaggerate when I say the sale shelves and racks were empty. And there were still several weeks to go.
I realize that the economy is rough here in the US. I know, having had my own retail store that sales are sometimes necessary to move inventory and generate cash flow. However, I never wanted my customers to be conditioned to only shop when I had things on sale. I sorely needed my full price goods to move. In a boutique environment I will say that "the biggest sale ever" is less frequent.
Maybe just maybe if the big box/department stores stopped having the biggest sale ever every single day, or the one day only sale is really only one day, or the 50% off all full price for a limited time only really is a limited time the general public would get used to having to pay full price once in awhile. A sale would be considered a treat. Maybe more cash would be flowing through our retailers and we wouldn't see stores closing every single day.
I'm not looking for government intervention here but an event like "Les Soldes" made me see sales in a totally different way. It was fun to see how excited people were, what a special thing this really was. Armed with a few shopping bags of my own, I was pretty happy too.