Outlet Shopping

Outlet-storesIs it just me, or are outlet deals not as good as they used to be?

I went down to Niagara-on-the-Lake this weekend, to catch some Shaw Festival and outlet shopping. “My Fair Lady”¬†wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but then the Rex Harrison/Audrey Hepburn movie is so firmly engrained in my head that I’m afraid I’ll be hyper-critical for the rest of my days.

But I did hope to catch some good deals at the outlet mall on the Canadian side. I know the outlet malls on the US side are larger, but I seriously could not be bothered crossing in one day. (I also considered, but discounted, going to Borders.)

So I stayed in maple leaf land, and by and large I was a little let down. I managed to get a birthday present for my father at the Coach outlet, but only because it was a small item, and it was an additional 30% off. But for things like jeans, shoes, and other clothing, the deals are no better, and sometimes worse, than regular season sales. And the parking lot was tiny. And it was just swarming. Swarming. I don’t go out of my way to outlet malls, but now I’m wondering if some of them are even worth dropping by, if I’m in the area.

Do you go outlet shopping? Or do you live near one?

- Jean AAR

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12 Responses to “Outlet Shopping”

  1. Tee says:

    We live fairly near two major outlets in my area. One is about 60 minutes away, while the other is around 20 minutes. I don’t go often at all, because I also don’t feel there are necessarily good deals to be had. I’ve also heard, which may not be true, that the stores sell seconds, which we all know can be both good and bad. Some merchandise is hardly recognizable as a second, while others are more quickly spotted. We are more apt to shop at these areas while passing them on our way to some other destination. But they sure appear to be busy during certain times; for instance, before school begins in September and around the Christmas season.

  2. LinnieGayl says:

    I’ve only gone to outlet malls a couple times and was very disappointed. It just seemed as if the outlet stores were selling things that I wouldn’t find in the regular stores. But the times I’ve gone the malls have been packed. I find I do better just keeping my eye on sales at the regular-non-outlet stores.

  3. Jean says:

    Tee – 20 minutes is a fairly decent distance. But Canadians have always gone across-the-border shopping, taking advantage of the pricing difference, and an hour and a half, plus border crossing, is just not happening for me. Even for the discounts.

    LinnieGayl – Yeah, keeping an eye is more or less what I do. Or searching out the few genuine discount stores.

  4. Tee says:

    Jean: But Canadians have always gone across-the-border shopping, taking advantage of the pricing difference, and an hour and a half, plus border crossing, is just not happening for me.

    Yes, we do see a lot of Canadian license plates at these outlets. And you’re right about that wait (depending on the time of day) crossing the border. So I guess for some people it must be worth it. I’m not sure I’d want to do that if the roles were reversed. But we do enjoy visiting different cities in Canada for other reasons!

  5. Susan says:

    I do not go Outlet shopping. A lot of the products available there are lesser quality made just FOR the outlet market, so it’s really not the deal you think it is.

    Rather, I haunt the discount warehouse stores like Ross, Name Brand Clothing, and such. You can sometimes find gems mixed in with the remainders.

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