Cheap Outlet Shopping? The Truth About Outlets
|July 14, 2012||Posted by thecheapskatemom under fashion, lifestyle, money-management|
by Hannah Walton aka The Cheapskate Mom
Today…. I'm thinking about whether or not outlet shopping – such a popular past time among many friends and family members – is actually the good deal it seems like it is.
My husband really likes a certain style of Gap pants – it's all he wears to work and at $30.00 a pair it's a good deal as Gap clothing is reasonably durable and hey – the hubbie loves them…. but what about shopping at outlets as a rule ? Where does the merchandise come from? Are the prices fair?
Outlet shops are a decent way to buy new products – mainly clothes, shoes and bags – at a somewhat affordable price. I think outlets aren't a bad idea for Christmas and holiday shopping when you want to buy a loved one something nice at an affordable price.
Sometimes you can find great deals in the clearance racks and a $6.00 pair of jeans is obtainable if you search hard. When I was pregnant I went to the outlets to find maternity clothing – and in the clearance racks I was able to score a pair of black slacks for $10.00 – which is a good price for specialized maternity wear. Later though, I discovered that childrens' consignment shops and regular thrift stores had a great selection of maternity wear …. so I skipped buying the new clothing and opted for the "pre-loved" versions.
When I lived in Vermont, a local snowboard factory held a long awaited annual factory sale. This sale was literally in the storage warehouse and the products available for purchase were dinged, dented, imperfect or demos – therefore, the prices were INCREDIBLE. Factory sales like this is how the idea of shopping at factory outlets became popular – the idea of the factory outlet was that you could buy imperfect versions of store brand products for drastically reduced prices.
Factory outlet complexes as we know them today are loaded with season appropriate products and the same style of jeans in many different sizes and washes. The fact that the factory outlet has five hundred pairs of in season jeans in every size means that these jeans are made specifically for the factory outlet – they are not imperfect , dinged, ripped or otherwise damaged main brand goods but items specifically designed and made to be sold at outlet stores. Wow.
Now that we know that most goods being sold at outlet stores are specifically manufactured to be sold at the outlets – we also know that outlet shopping doesn't mean we are getting a regular store item at a deep discount : we are getting an outlet item at whatever the set price for that item is (unless we are buying off the outlet clearance rack).
So, there is a bit of smoke and mirrors to outlet shopping. One reason outlets are located in slightly out of the way locations is because they add to the mystique of the outlet shopping bargain – heck, if you need to drive out of the way to get there, there must be a pot of treasure waiting at the end of the rainbow? I guess – if you're interested in items that have a brand name but were made with lower quality materials for a not so wonderful price.