I tend to forget significant events such as birthdays and anniversaries. However, during the twenty-two years I’ve lived in France, two dates are always penned on my calendar; the dates the soldes (sales) begin.
Even the richest French natives wait for the sales, which take place twice a year. The government dictates the start and finish dates for the winter and summer sales. People line up in front of the doors of the major department stores in order to make their semiannual “killings.” Betting may be involved since each day you play the waiting game, markdowns become more interesting. However, if you delay, the items (s) you crave may have upped and disappeared.
Throughout the years, I’ve advised people to fly to France and shop to their hearts’ delight. Eat your Wheaties and be prepared to do battle with men and woman, who are pros, and take no prisoners. Shoppers with non-EU passports have a further advantage.
Most hotels have maps with 10% discount coupons and if you’re exporting the merchandise out of the EU, people spending more than approximately $150 (in one store on the same day) are entitled to have the sales tax (up to 18.6%) rebated. Rarely do you recoup that much tax because there’s a handling fee. But, 14-16% isn’t chopped liver.
Even with the weak dollar, you’re bound to come out ahead? True? Usually Many French department stores and boutiques are hurting enough that countless items are deep discounted since inventories are less. If it’s a boutique where the owner is presiding, you might be ever discuss slightly more of a discount. Please be polite, SVP.
The French don’t feel the need to have walk-in closets piled with floor to ceiling clothes and buy less and more carefully. A major purchase might be a Hermes scarf or tie or other accessories to dress up or down outfits.
One of the things I’ve learned to expect is a last minute call from a friend or two who’d like to come and stay while saving money doing their seasonal shopping. Who can blame them…. and if they take me out to dinner … well, I’m willing to supply room and (some) board…. but please don’t ask me to shop with them. I have enough clothes. That doesn’t keep me from buying something I can’t live without. Sure.
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