Sample Sale and Warehouse Sale Shopping Tips


Bargain hunters come in all sizes shapes and walks of life. All of us want to pay less and have more. Some of us are thrift store junkies or off price boutique snobs. Some of us are weekly garage sale or swap meet gurus. Then some of us are sample sale and warehouse warriors. Shopping any of these venues has its own rewards. But ya gotta have a plan or technique to work these venues to your advantage.


All kinds of sample and warehouse sales need a plan of action. Try these when you plan on attending a warehouse or sample sale.


1. Make a list of what you’re looking for. Even a mental list is better than no list. Shop for what you want first, then cruise for other deals afterward. Keep your focus on what you are shopping for at a sale. Sample/ warehouse can be chaotic and loss of focus will slow you down causing you to lose out to a faster, more organized shopper.


2. If it’s a “one time only” warehouse sale or your favorite designer label is at a sample sale, get to the sale well before it opens. Grab a cup of Joe and a friend incase you have to wait in line. The best selection is when the doors open


3. Many sales don’t have changing rooms so be prepared with prudent underclothes and outer clothes that are easy off/ easy on. Stay away from lace up shoes and multiply button blouses. Dress comfortably.


4. Take all measurements of family members, living spaces and doorways along with a measuring tape with you to all warehouse or samples sales. You’ll need it to measure inseams, waistlines, sofas, coffee tables, TV’s … everything. Garment sizing runs different label to label.


5. If possible, take color swatches with you so your purchase doesn’t clash with what you already own. The mind does not remember color accurately.


6. If you’re shopping for furniture or larger items, plan ahead how you will transport your “prize” home.


7. Leave your check book and oversized handbag at home. Bring cash and credit cards only. Cash is still king at warehouse and sample sales.


8. If you’re shopping just for fun or sport, go later when the crowds die down. You may miss out on the very best items, but you’ll also miss out on crowds and bad behavior. It will be more like a treasure hunt. Like swap meets some sample sale start dropping pricing at the end of the day.


9. Bring a sense of humor and good manners. It can be tight quarters in chaotic circumstances. A good sense of humor can save the day and turn a potentially nasty situation around into a good laugh.


10. Parents should leave all children under the age of 12 at home. As a parent of a ten year old, I can attest there is no anti kid bias here. The only possible exception should be when it is the sale for child related products.


11. Team shopping. I have seen this technique and it works…. A couple of shoppers hit a sample sale pulling items both for themselves and their team member. It’s the fastest way to shop a sale. Both team members have to really know what the other likes and hopefully be different sizes. This technique should work well at all sales. I have also seen multiply team shopping, where entire families go to a sale.


12. Lastly, all sales are final. There are no returns at these kinds of sales. Always examine your items several times. Under good light, inspect all clothing seams, fabric color, button etc. Check all manufacturer warranties and parts before you purchase. Get down on your knees, crawl under tables, turn over cushions… check everything.