I’ve been a fan of Banana Republic for a long time and I don’t even like a lot of what they carry in the store. But, I can usually find at least one thing I want anytime I walk into any of their stores… anywhere. I know how much of their clothes fit and I can buy, try at home and return unworn items within 30 days as long as the tags remain and I keep my receipts. Plus, they often have awesome sales. What could be easier?
What I’m not so crazy about is the fact it’s a chain store. I wish I had more time to spend trying on clothes at smaller, local shops and boutiques. Truth be told, I’m often in a rush and I’ve gained some weight, which makes it harder to find something I like that both fits and is affordable. At the end of the day, when I’m in a rush and looking for something reliable and within my budget, Banana is often my default stop.
During our trip to Chicago, although I did a bit of shopping (still another post or two to follow), I didn’t buy any new clothes for fall. So, when a coupon for 40% off appeared in my inbox the other day, I was thought it was pretty darn awesome. Of course I shared it immediately on my Twitter feed. Yep, 40% off on all regular-priced merchandise for two full days in mid-September is a pretty sweet deal.
Like everyone else who works on Bloor Street and can’t afford the likes of Chanel, I scooted on over at lunchtime on day one. The store was absolutely packed with people but low on stock. The line-ups at the cash were not to be believed. It looked like Boxing Day in the 80s! Thanks to the suggestion from Sarah Roger, I had hoped to find a suit but their really weren’t any that cranked my chain. Oddly enough, the fitting rooms were relatively empty. I quickly picked up a few pairs of pants and tried them on to confirm my size.
Then I went on to survey the rest of the store all the while wondering how I’d possibly have time to stand in line for at least 30-40 minutes. I had a client meeting in 15. There was no way. I resigned myself to putting down the pile of pants I was carrying, when out of nowhere came a salesperson. I took a chance and asked if he’d be able to put my items on hold. I told him I’d be back to buy all of them – even at 40% off, Banana was still accepting returns – he told me I could have until the end of tomorrow. Music to my ears. I couldn’t believe it – most stores would have said no way, especially when the stock was so low. I’m sure wearing a Banana Republic dress didn’t hurt my cause either. ;-)
How could I avoid a line up the next day? I needed to devise a plan. Hmm, arrive before noon to try beating the lunch rush. Walk directly to the cashier counter, do not pass go. Do not look at a single piece of clothing. Don’t worry about the clothes on hold.
Get in line, NOW! You’ll find a salesperson while your waiting. Yep, that was my plan. It worked. I was in line for less than 10 minutes, when a salesperson appeared. She was helping another woman in line who looked like she was buying one of everything in the store for her daughters. Be patient. Just a minute. Ah, finally. I had her attention and told her I had several pairs of pants and one sweater on hold. Within three minutes she was back with only a minute to spare before it was my turn to pay. Yahoo!
At the cash, I double-checked the return policy and also learned I could even exchange any of my purchase for the same item in another size at the same price (to be confirmed). I also got a postcard giving me 40% off on one regular-priced item once a week throughout the entire month of October! Talk about service and cultivating customer loyalty. Maybe I’ll still get that new suit yet... and at 40% off.
Have any shopping tricks up your sleeve?