Ask Karen: Paris Sales

Dear Charles: You’re right when you state that the twice-annual sales are government regulated.  There’s a winter sale in January that is (unfortunately) too long after the holidays to buy presents and pretend you were late delivering them. It’s usually around the 15th of the month but the exact date varies each year. That doesn’t mean there aren’t “promotions” that are a way of fudging the issue. Promotions are clothes and items especially delivered to stores to diminish the manufacturer’s stock. A sale item (legally) has to be something that was available for purchase the sale.  The first sale days start with reductions of usually 30%.  Combine that with the VAT if you are leaving the EU and it’s quite a savings. By the second week of the sale, reductions vary from 30 to 50%. By week #3, you can even snag some things that have been reduced by 70%. However, by that time the selections are slim and often VERY picked over and shop worn. They’ve been handled by a lot of people! To decide whether or not to buy the first week or not takes a lot of calculation.  I buy baby clothes without too much of a wait.  They seem to disappear as if babies were being born each day. I usually wait for the second week to buy sheets and towels. Ditto for clothes; As I seem to buy the same ones, I am buying fewer and fewer.  How many black pants can a person have?The summer sales begin around June 20th.  It’s early enough in the season to profit. Ditto for the above but this is when I do my holiday shopping.  My granddaughter has next summer’s all-French wardrobe which will be wrapped in holiday paper and awaiting her under the Christmas tree. Regarding the VAT – please check on the regulations: People must spend 1200 Euros in one day at the same store to qualify. OH — I forgot to add. Be sure to get your 10% discount card that’s available for tourists in many of the large department stores. In all of the major stores, there are desks manned by people who are trained to fill out the papers so you may obtain the VAT.  When the dollar was stronger, I knew people who came ONLY to shop.  With cheap winter fares – -you can still score!  Click here for inexpensive flights.  And for great hotel deals try Hotel  Best, Karen         
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