a short story about the sample sale

There are lots and lots of sample sales in the building next door to the building I work in. There are sales of expensive jeans, of linens, of exquisite silk goods and luxury baby clothes. I don't go to many of them (I'd be broke if I did) but there are a couple that I watch for and yesterday I went to one of the ones that is worth my time (and money).
It's an accessories manufacturer that is unloading their stock this week and I went down there to do some Christmas shopping.
I did very well the first time I went. I was able to find great stuff for each of my three nieces (my goal for the morning) and I found some nifty stuff for K to give me for Christmas. (We were going to give each other a new television but have lost our enthusiasm for it.)
I came back upstairs feeling pretty smug about my choices and thrilled because I stayed on target budget-wise. We are fortunate, at my company, as we have done a project with this organization in the past and have an additional 25% off their merchandise at their sales (so, you can imagine, a person could really do some serious shopping).
Later in the morning, I had an errand to run and went back down to the sale. (We even have our own entrance so we don't have to wait on the line outside.)
I bought a gorgeous camel-colored cashmere scarf for someone else and then poked around for just a few minutes with some co-workers (we'll all go down to the sale a few times over the next few days).
And then I made a discovery.
In this gigantic sale (several thousand square feet of selling space) where nothing was priced at more than $30 or $40, I managed to find something extraordinary....
Under a huge pile (several cartons of gloves) I saw a tag. It was a purple tag and there were no other purple tags in the place.
Attached to this tag was the most magnificent cashmere.
A pair of cashmere armwarmers.
A pair of unbelievably finely knitted, charcoal grey, cashmere armwarmers like I have never seen. They were finished more beautifully than any knitwear I have ever seen and I pulled them on before I thought more about it.
They were warm and looked wonderful over my black turtleneck sweater.
They covered most of my hands and were the softest thing I've felt in a long time.
The kicker?
With my additional discount -
TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS, I moaned, and a Sales Associate heard me.
She couldn't believe they were $200. Nothing at this sale is that expensive.
We stood, dumbfounded. $200?
Let's look them up, she offered.
None of the price tags are real at this sale.
One receives a coded price list upon entry and must cross check item numbers with the list to determine the prices of things and then figure out the additional discount.
We looked them up.
We did the math.
They were still $200.
My new friend suggested I go to the manager - ask that guy in the white shirt, they want to MOVE stuff, she said, and I went over to him and whined that they were too expensive and that all my co-workers were spending money and...and...and he LAUGHED at me.
I thought, for just a second, that K might, if I called him, tell me to go ahead and buy them.
But then I realized that there was no way I could justify buying them.
Even if I had that kind of money to spend on something so frivolous (so LOVELY!) I still think I would feel funny spending a couple of hundred dollars on THE SLEEVES OF A VERY NICE SWEATER.
They were gorgeous, truly, and I peeled them off my arms.
I stared at them for a few seconds.
I felt their softness and admired the work of them.
And then?
I did what any sane person would do, under the circumstances.
I hid them under an enormous pile of red plaid scarves.

And then, I went back to work.


Desatating!! I did amost the same thing with a cardigan. I had read the label wrong and thought it was £75. I tried it on and admired myself in it and dreamed of how sofisticated i was going to look in it. It was £175 noy £75. I just couldn't justify that for a cardigan. So i put it back and it took me 2 weeks to stop sulking!!
Anonymous said…
You are such an adult! I was going to suggest that you buy some cashmere yarn and knit them yourself, but then I realized that the yarn alone would cost $200. At least.
Anonymous said…
I was hoping for a happy ending.
Of those arm warmers ON your arms.
Anonymous said…
And, THANK GOD I don't live ANYWHERE near that sample sale place!!!
I'd be a very chic begger by now.
Amy A. said…
Such a sad tale. Such a rude manager. You did right by hiding them. Maybe you will come into some funds and they will still be there. :)
Anonymous said…
I feel like I am ALWAYS falling in love with expensive things. It's the worst because the love is almost always unrequited.
You have my sympathy. And seriously, keep going back and re-hiding them until the last day when those delectable sweater sleeves may be marked down to something more reasonable. $200 my eye.

Anonymous said…
Darn. I was hoping for a happy ending. I wouldn've hid them too.