Wild Herds in Aisle Nine

I survived the BCBG annual warehouse sample sale today. This year is definitely crazier than last year. I actually went much earlier this time and the line was much longer. Good thing I had a friend who had friends who got there earlier. Hence, it didn't take very long before we got inside, but once there, all hell broke loose. Seeing the chaos, we scheduled to meet outside in 2 hours. In the end, those 2 hours weren't enough, since it took an hour just to wait in line for the cash registers.

Time constraints made me much more efficient, but still, in the beginning, the chaos dashed my plan in pieces. Having my heart set on getting suits, I went looking for them. But suits were hard to find, especially with throngs of people around and things not very clearly marked. Once I found the jackets, my mantra became "grab now, match later"--that is, matching the tops with bottoms that I could grab. I couldn't find any matching bottoms since all the small sizes are either nonexistent or gone. Still, at $25 a pop, the blazers were cheap. I ended up buying 2 of them in neutral colors that will be easier to match in the near future.

The next big-ticket item I homed in on were dresses. Again, all the petite sizes were gone from the racks. After that, I went for the less coveted basic pieces. Then I circled back to the sorting area where people who grabbed too much come to their senses and let some go. That's where I picked up a really nice dress. I also picked up a small chiffon top and a matching skirt. The skirt was really funky--one of those corkscrew types, with stuff hanging down. At first, I wisely decided against it, but while I was waiting in line, I saw one abandoned on the racks, so I ended up buying it. That's probably the least practical piece of clothing I had out of the 6 pieces I ended up buying.

The checkout line is a funny place. While standing in line for an hour just to pay, I realized how much cash was going to leave my wallet, so I abandoned a few items on the rafters above. However, as I progressed further down the line, I picked up a few other things (a blazer and that corkscrew skirt, a pair of shoes). I got to talking with people I was standing in line with, and we were appalled by the amount of good clothing strewn all over the ground, prime for trampling. One lady told me that she saw a person dragging her bag on the ground, didn't realize that halfway through the bag tore away along with the contents, and when she did, she found a group of women closing in on the torn bag and picking off the pieces. She actually had to fight people off. I don't know how many levels of hearsay this is, but that goes to show you that during these crazy sales, people can become wild animals. While I haven't personally witnessed any animalistic behavior, this was definitely a crazy sale. I ended up spending just shy of $200, but most of the things are very practical--3 jackets/blazers, 1 chiffon top, 1 chiffon skirt (not all that practical), 1 pair of leather shoes, 1 dress. The most expensive item is a really nice $45 dress. I was a little pissed that my friend's satin ballgown-type dress was considered a "dress" at $30 and mine was a "gown" at $45. I'm not sure that it's worth the $480 that's on the price tag, but it's certainly worth my $45, despite my grumbling that it's not $30.

The sale is still on tomorrow, but I doubt that a whole lot is left. If you're willing to go at your own risk, check out BargainsLA.com for the address. Then again, even on the first day, there's little to be found because things are so chaotic. Maybe I'll go later next year to avoid the craziness.

Bottom line: when going to crazy sales, strategize ahead of time. Know what you need, what you don't really need, what sizes of which brand fits, etc. When you prioritize, you'll have a better chance of scoring what you really want. Even if you don't get the things lower on your wishlist, you won't really lose out. Get a friend or 2 to go along with you to save a place in line, but make sure you have plans to meet at a certain time to check in with each other just in case you all get dispersed by the crazy crowds. Wear comfortable shoes--there's a lot of walking and standing, so it's no time to look really cute and trendy in your 3-inch heels and miniskirt. That would have been appropriate for Melrose or Robertson, but you're shopping at a warehouse, for goodness sakes! If you'll be in line early in the morning, layer your clothes because it warms up really fast once the sun comes up.

If you want cheaper BCBG clothes without the madness, there are other ways. Go to BCBG outlets, liquidation stores, and eBay. It won't be as crazy-cheap as the warehouse sale, but it's not all that much more expensive. At least you get to try things on, have time to think about it, and not run the risk of getting trampled the moment you put something down. As for eBay, avoid getting things from sellers shipping from China. Those seem to be a little sketchy.

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