You know that IKEA commercial where the woman is at the register, looks at her receipt, and then hustles out of the store, yelling “Start the car! Start the car!” to her husband waiting in the car? It kind of feels like she’s shoplifting because the prices are so good? Brilliant ad. The stuff of Mad Men. I had a moment like that today.

I’ve been on the hunt for a spring jacket (to replace my fleece) and a nice handbag (to replace my backpack and not-big-enough purse). I’ve looked everywhere—and I’m picky. And while I’m not into designer bags (do you have any idea how much a Coach bag is? Holy…), I was prepared to pay good money for the perfect bag: satchel-like and big enough to hold a book and shoes for work. 

At Macy’s, I was stunned to see shelves and shelves of bags. Colorful canvas bags from $29.99 to buttery leather bags upwards or $300. I gravitated to the soft, buttery bags (surprise) that were way out of my range until I finally stumbled upon a random forest green bag with a little shimmer. Oh, it was heavenly. And not another bag like it, which was problematic when I realized I had chosen the one bag without a tag. I looked into the pockets (look at all the pockets! pockets for gadgets I don’t even own) and brought it to the register to see if the saleswoman could look it up.

“I can’t sell this to you because there’s no price,” she said. 

Cut to me, crestfallen.

“You can’t look it up?”

“We don’t even sell this brand anymore. They have it at the Cambridge store. We can call them if you want to leave your name and number,” she said.

Couldn’t she just call them now, I must have wondered aloud.

“It’ll take 24 hours,” she said.

To make a phone call?? Aren’t we in a recession that demands superior customer service? I wrote down my name and number but was convinced she would lose 1 )the bag or 2) my number. I can’t say I’d blame her. I’m an annoying customer who oh, I don’t know, just wants to buy the merchandise that’s on the floor.

“Wait,” she said. “There’s a tag in the pocket. It’s a return.” How we had both missed the tag, I have no idea, but I noticed it didn’t include a price. She scanned the barcode.

“Four-fifty,” she said. I was fairly convinced she didn’t mean $450, but I thought maybe $45 or $40.50.

“Four-fifty,” she repeated.

“Four dollars and fifty cents?” I exclaimed. A friend had once told me never to question good news. “I’ll take it.”

Then, sliding over my credit card, I remembered I had a gift card, making the item free. The perfect bag for free. And, in finding this tiny, grainy image of it (click on it for better views; you know you want it), I discovered that it’s a $78 bag on sale for $58. Suckers.


Hello, satchel

So, on the advice of my mother who always says, “Never go home when you’re on a good shopping roll,” I forged on to the jackets. It was trenchtastic. Trenches everywhere. Except, I don’t really get the appeal of trench coats. Sure, they’re classic, but they don’t look good when you’re short. They’re all nude London Foggy numbers. Blah. 

But then I found a super-cute white Tommy Hilfigger one with black polka dots. My love of polka dots trumps my dislike of trenches, so I snapped it up. I’m more of a color girl though, so I tried on a bunch more and loved this teal blue one too.


The teal trench: a steal.

The teal trench: a steal.

At $160 and $120, I’d only keep one but decided to buy both so I could think it over at home. I brought them to the register (different woman who was a pistol!) ready to pay full price, because while the entire store seemed to be on sale, these coats weren’t. 

“Honey, you got the last two of these,” she told me. “Adorable!”

“I’m excellent at that,” I said.

“Let’s see what we can do here,” she said.

Do? Is haggling now allowed at Macy’s? Turns out they were on sale. And she scanned a flyer (I never remember those annoying coupons) and told me I was gonna like this.

“That’s $142,” she said.

I did like this.

“That’s with your Macy’s card.”

“Uh, I don’t have a Macy’s card,” I said.

“Oh, honey. Well, let’s see if I can work some magic.”

I was eager to watch her work some magic.

“Look! It’s better. $135.”

Yup, the price of one coat alone. I knew the drill and slid my card over and booked it out of there. Hello, shopportunity. So, there. I’ve done my part to stimulate the economy—and my wardrobe.


4 thoughts on “Shopportunity

  1. Fabulous finds – and not even at a yard sale! Was it Downtown Crossing?!? I’m going tomorrow. I want a teal trench. Cambridgeside is too small. And dark and gloomy. And, quite frankly, a little scary if you go at the wrong time.

  2. You failed to mention how depressing Downtown Crossing has become. I almost started crying. For real. I love the half demolished building and gaping hole that was once Filene’s. It really adds to the ambiance.

  3. Ugh, I love it. I am jealous. I went shopping yesterday and bought a bag with the same idea–big enough to fit all my work needs without needing to carry my back pack. Enjoy!! PS — I love the coats!

  4. I love really good shopping stories! I can imagine myself around the campfire with the other hunters reliving stories of the dramatic kill. Sorry for the image, but I think some primal genes have been aroused. Now I need to sharpen my spear and get out there. I want a new bag too!

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