to the sales Cat?" a neighbour asked me yesterday.
I was out picking up the papers at about 6am. She was heading off to the Boxing Day sales in the city - or somewhere. I did not inquire.
"No, I don't want to get my paws trodden on," I told her.
"You might get a bargain," she told me eagerly.
"No thanks. There's nothing we need."
It is, after all, only a bargain if you need something.
I just don't understand the obsession some people have with the Boxing Day sales. I know people for whom this is the Big Shopping Event of the year. They scour the advertisements beforehand. They make lists. They save. They plan. They change their minds.
Do they come home with what they planned? I doubt it. They will get there and find it is not in the size they wanted or the colour "isn't quite right" and even that "there weren't any left". Sometimes something else catches their eye.
Do they regret their purchases? I suspect that, sometimes, they do. They buy without due consideration or care. They discover that something is cheap because it is a "second". There will be a flaw in what they have bought. That does not mean it cannot be used but it will be not quite as good as it could have been. It will mean it cannot be returned because it is a "sale item" and it is fit for the purpose for which it has been sold.
Unusually for me I bought a pair of shoes on the 24th December. I hate buying shoes. I don't walk into a shoe shop unless I absolutely have to do it. I only buy shoes when I absolutely must but even the Senior Cat had said, "Isn't it time you got rid of those?" of the pair I have been wearing around the house. He was right.
There is a shop in our local shopping centre which sells shoes. They actually sell some sensible shoes, the sort of shoes people might actually wear.
I prowled in cautiously. The assistant, holding a large pile of boxes, actually asked if she could help. I told her what I wanted.
"Sale starts on Boxing Day," she told me as she dumped the boxes on a display shelf.
I was about to open my mouth and mew that I was not interested in Boxing Day sales when she added, "But I've already marked some down. Just let me get the next lot out..."
She disappeared into the store room and came back with another pile and dumped them next to the first. She ran her finger up the end of the boxes, found the size I had mentioned and hauled out a box.
"Try those and see what you think," she told me.
I dutifully tried them. We both looked. They were "all right but not quite right" with respect to fit. She shook her head and ran her finger down the boxes again,
"Try these instead."
I tried them. We both looked. I prowled around the shop which was, thankfully, empty of other customers.
"They'll do very nicely," I told her. She nodded and smiled and said, "I can let you have them at the sale price."
Perfect - indeed purr-fect! I paid for them. I had my necessary shoes. They fit nicely. I have worn them without trouble and know I can continue to do so. It was all done without the stress of "going to the sales". I consider myself fortunate.
I wonder how many people entered the same shop yesterday and bought shoes because "they were on sale"? I wonder how many of those shoes will be worn for just a day?
Yes, I might have bought the same pair at the actual sale I suppose but I might have bought the first pair I tried on, the pair that was not quite right. I infinitely preferred getting a little attention and getting the right size. I was prepared to pay more for that. Getting them at sale price was a pleasant surprise.
I won't bother with Boxing Day sales.