Adjusting to the Push ‘n Shove
Think I’m referring to the NYC Subway? Wrong. The crowded streets of the bustling city? Wrong again.
I’m referring to a good old-fashioned sample sale.
As a newbie to being an NYC resident, I had been to “sample sales” always in empty retail spaces down in Soho or the Village, but not a real sample sale in a designer’s showroom. Not until today.
My first real sample sale was Cynthia Steffe; set in a posh, lofty building that houses the offices and showrooms of not only Cynthia Steffe, but also several different floors of Ralph Lauren, Badgley Mischka, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and many other designers. I expected this sample to be much like the others I had been to, but naïve me; I had no idea what I was in for.
A sample sale sort of resembles backstage at a fashion show, but far less organized. There are clothes everywhere and girls everywhere. There are no makeup mirrors, stylists, or back-of-house girls lining the models up. There is pushing, shoving, stripping (yes, stripping, to try on clothes…there are no fitting rooms) and it’s hot. Really, really hot.
I was almost prepared for the nakedness, until I saw a girl in only a nude thong (she might as well have not even bothered)– Apparently she came very prepared to try on clothes.
I was also surprised that a girl would have no issue ripping something off a hanger that I was casually looking at if she wanted it. These chicks are cut-throat.
While it sounds like a slightly scary experience, it really wasn’t at all. In fact, it was exhilarating and exciting—it was what I dreamed a real sample sale would be like (but never expected it to actually be like). It’s like a sporting event…in shopping.
I unfortunately arrived an hour after the sale started (I was in class) so by the time I got there, it was 100 degrees and half of what was left was in piles on the windowsills or in heaps on the floor, which I didn’t have the patience to go through. After sifting through a few racks and piles of shoes, I came out of the sale with one adorable, pink and white damask printed babydoll top, perfect for summer…for only $20! The original MSRP was $195. Fabulous!
If there are a few rules of the sample sale that I have learned and should pass on to you, they are as follows:
1. Arrive early.
2. Wear clothing (and undies) conducive to stripping in front of other people and that are comfortable once it gets hot.
3. Be prepared for pushing, shoving and clothes stealing. It happens and you shouldn’t get aggravated—it’s the norm for this type of shopping event.
4. Try on whatever you purchase unless you’re an amazing ebayer. Sample sale items are final sale, and if it doesn’t fit, you’re stuck with it.
Resources to finding great sample sales:
TopButton requires free subscription
Daily Candy requires free subscription
Timeout New York (direct link to page)