I wouldn’t say I’m a “bargain shopper”.
If a bargain happens to present itself during the course of shopping, however, I am, of course, elated and feel like I won a prize. Especially if the bargain isn’t immediately apparent, such as when the amazingly low price isn’t indicated on the tag and it only shows up when the tag is scanned at the register. Then I feel like I’ve not only won a prize but that I’ve somehow managed to pull something over on the store, even though I had nothing to do with the lower price not being marked. I almost feel like winking at the cashier. And sometimes, when I’m in a particularly kicky mood, I do. (But only inside my head, because winking is the hallmark of the cheesy and I pride myself on being delightfully dairy-free.)
So, anyway, sometimes the bargains can’t just help but be there, by dint of the store in which I’m shopping. TJMaxx, for example. However, I have found that I cannot get anything “good” at the one here because anything groovy is quickly snatched up by city slickers with good taste, and all that’s left is the stuff that, in the store’s suburban branches, would have the Liz Claiborne and Eddie Bauer set all a-twitter, digging in the heels of their sensible shoes to be the first to set their hands on a wooden duck with a bow around its neck or a sculpture of a lighthouse. My mother always gets fantastic stuff in the TJMaxx near her house, because no one else there clamors for the cool stuff. So I suppose the suburbs do have their advantages.
As for me, well, when I want a bargain I go to Loehmann’s. Not for me Century 21 and its hideous crowds. I’m partial to Loehmann’s. It’s closer to home, attracts fewer tourists (Century 21 is just across the street from the World Trade Center site), and it doesn’t make me nervous. In addition, Loehmann’s is one of my only concessions to Judaism. So I haven’t been inside a synagogue since my brother’s bar mitzvah in 1974. So what? I’ve been to Loehmann’s. That should count for something.
So, anyway, I shop there from time to time, and although my excursions don’t always yield something, the last time I went I was fortunate. (No, no photos. You can just wait for the paparazzi to hound me and see the stuff on Celebrities Uncensored. You’ll also get to see me secretly eating sides of beef when I think no one’s looking.) Two of the shirts had tags that categorized them as CAREER. This might lead you to think I bought a bow blouse that would make John T. Molloy, the author of Dress for Success, beam with pride, appreciation, and approval, but I assure you that’s not the case. Indeed, I was actually shocked to find these two shirts in the “career” section, given how much they don’t appear to be career-wear.
Then I realized this: Perhaps Loehmann’s is liberal! Perhaps they don’t regard “career” as an office job. Perhaps their notion of what “career” consists of is broader than mine is. I wanted to ask one of the salespeople why, for instance, slutty lingerie was not marked as “career”, when that’s what some ladies wear for their careers. Or why athletic apparel wasn’t marked that way, either, when many people make their livings as personal trainers. Or why pajama bottoms and T-shirts weren’t indicated as “career” for writers who work from home. Or bloody aprons for butchers. Or bloody anything for career criminals.
See, I’m not a bargain shopper, but by dint of the tags on two Loehmann’s shirts, I got more than I bargained for: high style … and an entry for my fabulous website!