I popped into PC world earlier to purchase a Kylie-style headset suitable for Skyping… figured I’d be able to pick one up for around £9.99, max. £14.99. Turns out the cheapest was £19.55. So after much humming and haring, I saunter over to the till, the assistant rings it up and demands £54.25! “Hmm, I don’t think so”, comes my reply, as I coax Mr Congeniality from his Perspex booth and lead him over to the display stand. Long story short, he takes the price ticket from the rack, scans the label and this time the SKU says £34.24 – admittedly better than £54.25 but still no cigar.
His tone is less than conciliatory, so with hands on hips, I start spinning around in manner of Wonder Woman to reveal my Shopper’s Champion catsuit carefully concealed under my coat (“fighting for your rights, in my satin tights”). At his suggestion I agree to speak to the manager but discover I’m expected to chase after him like a contestant on Supermarket Sweep. I snare him with the Doris Day death ray on his way out to lunch and explain that while it might be inconvenient for PC World, I believe I’m within my rights to purchase the goods for sale at the price marked on the rack. He agrees. Result: I pay £19.56. Total blag – er – saving: £34.69.
But the day gets better…
Remember the lovely dress I tried on in the Banbury branch of TK Maxx last month but didn’t purchase? And then spent the entire weekend longing for, fantasising about the award ceremonies I’d never be able to wear it to? Well, I spotted it in the Clapham Junction branch on Saturday reduced from the original £134.99 to £30.00, ostensibly because one of the diamanté clasps had snapped (I can whip that into Ells & Farrier for an inexpensive repair, no problem). So, figuring this was couture karma, I decided to go for it.
However, I didn’t have time to queue up (there were forty or so people in front of me), so I hid it on a rail in another part of the store*, the plan being to return today which I did. Having checked the hiding place and finding it gone, I go back to ahem clearance and there it is… waiting for me. At the till, I point out the damage and even though it had already been reduced from TK’s bargainous selling price of £49.99, I scoop a further £2 reduction netting a total blag of £21.99 (or £106.99 if you wanna be picky.)
*My sometime Westfield cohort, High Priestess of Wholesale, BiBi Blaganda recommends hiding finds in the little boys’ trainer dump bin – top tip! So, if you see someone stuffing a La Perla bra into a Thomas the Tank Engine slipper, size 2, in the words of Jerry Lee, it’ll be me. On second thoughts, better make it a size 4 to allow for the gel pads.
Good day, sunshine… and the day gets even better.
Once home I excitedly slip on my lovely new gown, envisioning all the glamorous occasions we’ll be going to. Ripple dissolve and I’m poolside sipping Cuba libres against the Havana skyline, one hand resting on a white marble balustrade, next I’m leaning over the blackjack table in manner of high roller’s moll, then sashaying through the throng at an after-show bash before draping myself languorously against a white Steinway as the pianist catches my eye, winks and plays the opening bars to Stardust.
But, as I carefully step into my homage-to-Carmen Miranda, sequin-embellished chocolate suede wedges (eBay: £12.00), adjust the dress’s straps and gently begin to pull up the zipper it’s, it’s, it’s… too big! Not only have I saved money, apparently I’ve dropped a dress size in the process. With the item already relegated to “red label” status – effectively the knackers’ yard for bargains – finding another that fits is not going to be easy.
Mindful that I have only 14 days to find a replacement or be stuck with my purchase for richer or poorer, my shop hound’s instincts are razor sharp, the vein in my temple begins to twitch betraying a purposeful zeal rarely exhibited outside the run-up to Christmas. The following week sees me sniff out numerous TK Maxxes (Maxi?); I draw a blank at Collier’s Wood, Kingston, Croydon, Purley Way, Ealing and Sutton but it is Epsom that delivers the goods, boasting not one but three size 8s, all in perfect nick, and all winking at me as I home in on my quarry. Nanoseconds later I’m at the counter, the sales assistant carefully folding my prize purchase between layers of tissue paper, modom.
By way of a postscipt, I worked in nearby Chessington for years but it took this quest for me to return for a trip down memory lane. And although it’s been many moons since I commuted to Reggie Perrin country on a daily basis, I’ve nonetheless retained a fondness for the Ashley Centre and its quaint environs, not least for the Good Life health food shop on Waterloo Road which I was delighted to discover is still alive and kicking.
Blag City Blaggin’ was originally posted on Bar Nothing in April 2009. Samski remains committed to sniffing out genuine bargains and singing the praises of those retailers that consistently hit the spot (or not).