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When Waiting for Deep Discounts to Save Money Backfires

By (view all posts by Susan.Yoo-Lee)
at 8:56AM Monday November 15, 2010
under Shop Smarter

Recently, I was a bad mom.  A really bad mom.  I told my daughter if she continued to be a good girl, I would go to the Disney Store to buy her a Mulan costume for Halloween.  So every day, she was very well-mannered and on her best behavior, both at home and at school (although expected, even without the bribe).

The time came to buy her Mulan costume and I was very much excited for her because it was the day we had all been waiting for.  It was five days before Halloween and I just knew that no other girls would want to be Mulan and it would be heavily discounted because it would be excess stock. 

Boy, was I wrong and it was the biggest retail wake-up call ever.
I walked in and started looking for the costume and couldn't find any.  So I asked for a team member's assistance and they took me to the corner where the only costumes I saw was for a pirate, some plastic character (whatever that was), and an overflow of Jasmine tops and pants (too risque for my four year-old). 

I was simply devastated.

After looking at my horrified expression, the team member proceeded to tell me, "What you see is what you get."  She didn't actually say those words, but that's how I interpreted her one minute spiel into a simple sentence, I could understand.

The persistent mother that I am, I made the associate call every Disney Store in the 50 mile radius (I know that sounds crazy, but I was desperate).  Too my disappointment, they were all sold out!  At that point, I panicked and looked for plan B, C, and D.

Right before I left, the associate reminded me that since the economy was so bad, retailers had cut back significantly and reduced their stock to half of what they had the previous year.  She told me if there was something that I had in mind for Christmas, to buy it now because I may not see it in stock again.

I don't know how true that is, but I'm sure the message was not to wait until the last minute.

So while I spent a ton of energy going to ten different Halloween Superstores, I found nothing for my daughter. I waited until the last minute to buy my daughter's Halloween costume and it literally bombed in my face.  Not only did I not get any savings on my purchase, I didn't get to buy the item at all--definitely a lesson learned!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two biggest days in the retail world both off and online, are right around the corner.  One word of advice:  Don't wait until the last minute this holiday season.  Especially with highly sought after children's toys and baby gear--they will go fast and even faster if they are discounted.  Be wise during this shopping season!

What items do you think you will purchase during these two days and what items do you think you will hold off on?  Do you think you will experience a savings backfire similar to mine if you wait until the last minute--especially if you are purchasing a Christmas gift?