Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Outlet shopping

Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to teach a two week workshop at Clemson University. It was an awesome experience, despite the heat, and I loved working with the kids and teachers. But the real meat of this post is about what I found along the way... the Gaffney Outlet Mall in SC. (Can you hear the dramatic music playing... this place is incredible!)

Among the shops that were there, I found the Pottery Barn Outlet (cue dramatic crescendo). I could have spent hours in this place and I saw so many things to drool over... table linens, bedding, outdoor furnishings, and of course, the clearance/scratch and dent section. What did I find in the clearance section? A $3 linen colored hemp table runner. At 108", it was a bit long for our table, but that was nothing my mom couldn't handle with the help of my Grandma's sewing machine (I could have done it by hand, but she offered.) So now, I have a custom length table runner and a nice big basket liner for the basket we put dinner rolls in when we have company. (Come on, when it's just us, we just grab them hot off the pan... don't you?) Thanks, Mom for the help with that!

I also found the Hanes outlet, where I found my favorite bras on clearance for $2.50 each! So, I scored two of those, and was on my way to explore some more. I also found the Bath and Body Works outlet, which was way cheaper than the retail places in the mall, but I still couldn't rationalize paying $3 for foaming soap I could make myself for pennies. I did make a mental note that this might be a nice place to stop in for gifts, if I'm ever in the market for stuff like that and we're in the Charlotte area.

Later this summer, when we were at Hatteras with Benny's mom, we discovered the outlets there (it was raining... no, we didn't blow off the beach on a pretty sunny day to go shopping). We browsed each store, noting that they weren't that different from what the Blowing Rock outlets offer, but we found a few deals. One was a book store that did a lot of second hand books, so we gathered up three for $10 for beach reading. (I like cheesy romance novels for beach reading, but I don't like to pay full price for something I'm only going to read once or twice. And I didn't have enough library books with me, once the rain set in.) The cool thing about this shop was that you could bring in two of the books you'd purchased from him and trade them out for a new one. So, had we been there longer, we could have made even greater use of the great deal we were getting.

We also found the Bass outlet at Hatteras, which meant that I wanted to try on almost every pair of sandals in the store. I'm a sucker for sandals, especially comfortable ones like Bass offers. They had a pretty good sale going, but I knew I didn't need a new pair of sandals. But if you're a shoe hound like me, you know how they can just keep calling your name. Finally, I found one pair on the clearance table (can you tell that's where I usually start in the store?!) for $15. Benny's mom had a $10 off coupon, so by the time I used that, they came out to six dollars and some change with tax. Not too shabby for a new pair of sandals! They'll be great for teaching in, and fairly versatile, because they're brown with a little bit of a wedge heel. So, they'll work with skirts and pants.

Have you scored any great deals at outlet malls? I'd love to hear about your summer shopping adventures! Here's to living and saving green, even when shopping!

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