What is a bargain? Well, truly, it’s in the eye – or, rather, pocket – of the beholder. It’s intensely personal. Haute couture clients stay rake-slim because they can buy the catwalk samples at a heavyweight mark-down. That’s a bargain to them – despite five-figure price-tags that most everyday folk would baulk at.
That’s an extreme version of the bargains that many of us snap up in the end-of-season sales. I wonder how many of us justify a splurge with the spurious assertion that, considering the percentage points knocked off the original RRP, we’re actually saving money?
Maybe it’s just me. I have a wardrobe crammed with woefully impractical and barely worn sale “bargains”. Did I really need a ruffled Junya Watanabe Perfecto? Or a metallic Burberry Prorsum trench that makes me look like a jacket potato? I would never have considered paying full-price, but with 50 per cent off they became not only attainable, but newly desirable.
The furtive thrill of pouncing on something thrice-reduced can often cloud basic judgement. Niggling questions, such as, “Do I need it?”, “Does it fit?” or even, “Do I like it?” are dismissed. It’s cheap, so it must be good.
It sounds ludicrous. But it’s something I recognise in myself. That dreadful, covetous urge to buy a lot without spending that much. Nevertheless, isn’t the point to actually get something you want, not just the best deal?
So will I be queuing for the sales come 26 December? It’s a shamefaced “yes”. Old habits die hard. And you never know. I may come home with a genuine bargain. Or another jacket-potato jacket.