Thursday, December 30, 2004

The After Christmas Sale-a-thon

I like clothes, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I don’t feel girly or gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that) because I insist that my shirts bear the insignia of Izod or my pants the iconography of Van Heusen. But good guys’ clothes can get pricey. Since men tend to purchase clothes less frequently, and therefore expect those clothes to last longer and be more durable than comparable women’s clothing, ours naturally cost more than women’s clothes. Now if you’re poor like me, and you dwell in a constant state of “short on cash,” you have to find the best bang for your buck. And that brings me to the ubiquitous after Christmas sale-a-thon, going on now.

Isn’t amazing how that $50 shirt becomes just $9.99 with nothing more than the flip of a calendar page! Markdowns, blowouts, roll backs, and end of the year clearance extravaganzas of all sorts usher in savings of every kind to the savvy buyer. And so it is without shame that during this special holiday season of silent nights and commercial discounts that you will find me at the mall, and the outlet mall, and the strip malls, and Target, hell, even Wal-Mart spending every last cent that I can spare without risking having the electricity shut off. I think of it as a kind of investment – saving money whilst procuring a good that will have longer-term, recurring benefit; and things that I would have to purchase anyway eventually.

The market is not always predictable, but it often is. And this is one instance where the clearance aisle is a persistent harbinger of good: it means that the spring merchandise is ready and waiting to be shipped out for the world to buy. And these sales allow penny pinchers like me to enter the market to get “just-barely-still-in-style” fashions for pennies on the dollar. Ultimately I don’t mind wearing last year’s best – it certainly beats this year’s worst. Somehow, though, the only one who got stuff today (on MY birthday no less) was my wife. Talk about market failures.

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