It’s easy to think that national chains and big box stores always have the best prices, but that is not always true. Every once and a while, the rinky dink mom-and-pop retailer beats out Target, Costco, or Home Depot, for instance.
Case in point, my search for the best price on a North Face Denali fleece for Christmas. Prices for this particular line of fleece jackets varied by fewer than $5 at The North Face, REI, EMS, and little-known online stores, which surprised me. Oftentimes, a retailer will drop a price on an item to drum up sales. But apparently this fleece is so popular people buy it even if they have to pay full price.
No worries, I thought. I will find a coupon and wait for a sale. Except that my coupons excluded this brand and sales did not apply to the Denali fleece. Dang it!
My only other option was to wait until three days before Christmas and buy the fleece for $122 at a rare North Face Outlet in the Bay Area, where I will be spending the holiday. The Outlet does not sell online. But a call to the outlet revealed they were sold out of the Denali fleece and the rep did not know when a new shipment would arrive.
I resigned myself to paying a whopping $165 for the fleece when a friend saw a sign at a local surf shop. For two days, everything made by The North Face was 20% off. Holy cow – a sale on prime merchandise that not even the big boys were discounting!
So much for national chains passing on bulk discounts. Perhaps this little store needed to clear out stock or opted to reduce its profit margins to draw customers in. No matter, I purchased the fleece for $132 and sighed. The hunt was over, but not before I got a bargain. What bargains have you found while holiday shopping?