Shopping Lessons Learned

The other day I headed to a department store to buy a suit. I have 2 suits currently, but they are close to 10 years old. Luckily, I haven’t put on any weight to make them too small, I just want an updated look to my wardrobe, sans the pleats.

Before I went to the store, I saw online that they were having a big sale. Many suits that were $500 each were on sale for $200. Talk about a deal!! The only problem was that the sizes offered online were few and far between.

When I arrived at the store, I was greeted by a salesman who proceeded to tell me he would find me a great suit and took my measurements. I was instantly turned off. While I am not a salesman, my wife is and over the years, I have learned to spot what makes a good salesman and what makes a poor salesman.

The #1 thing is asking the customer what they want. I cannot stand it when a salesman just starts telling me the benefits or features of a new suit, car, TV, etc. without even asking me what I am looking for.

In my experience with the suit salesman, he began showing me a bunch of suits off the rack. He didn’t ask what fit I was looking for (I was interested in seeing how the slim fitting suits fit/felt as opposed to my suits which were more traditional in fit). He didn’t even ask the colors I was looking for.

After taking a step back and letting the salesman know what I was looking for, I asked about the sale online. Sadly, that sale was online only. But, the store was having a sale: buy one, get one free. I decided to keep trying on some suits, just to get a sense of the feel of the suits.

As time passed, I found a suit I liked that didn’t need much alteration aside from the length of the pants. The salesman had me try on some shoes as well so they could get the proper length of the pants.

Once the fitting was complete and I changed, it was time for the hard sell. I am not a fan of the hard sell. When I stepped out of the changing room, the shoes I had on for the fitting were on the counter, to be included with my purchase. Additionally, my suit was now on a table where there were a handful of shirt and tie combinations to choose from.

After passing on these, next came the cedar hangers to hang the suit on. It was as if the selling never stopped. In the end, I walked out of the store with 2 suits for the price of $500. Overall it was an OK experience.

What I Learned From This Shopping Trip

When you go shopping for something, know how much you plan to spend. I wanted to spend around $200 for a suit. I paid a little more than that, but still came away happy. I would have not bought the suits had they been more expensive.

Don’t let someone pressure you into a sale. Take your time. As much as I disliked the upsell of the shirts and ties, I did appreciate seeing which color combinations would work with my suit color. I could have easily bought the shirts and ties, but I remembered that I had a white and blue dress shirt already (two of each in fact, and both in great shape).

Nothing is final until the sale. Even then, you could return it, but know that you can easily change your mind at any point up until the sale is complete without having to deal with a restocking fee.

Lastly, don’t give up too much information. If you need a suit for a wedding this weekend, don’t let that information be known until later in the process. Yes, you can say you need a suit for a wedding, just don’t say when it is, though a good salesman will ask anyways. The reason you don’t want to offer up this information is because it gives the salesman power. If the wedding is this weekend and you try to leave, they will tell you that you have to buy today because alterations take time, etc. The less information they have to work with, the easier it is for you to walk away.

Final Thoughts

Always remember that you hold the keys when buying anything. Don’t be afraid to walk away if the price isn’t right or the item isn’t what you had in mind. You work hard for your money, you should work just as hard to keep it and spend on the things you truly need.

One Response to Shopping Lessons Learned

  1. Myles Money says:

    It’s easy to get caught up in the up-sale of other items to go with your new purchase, particularly if the additional items are also offered at a discount. But the stores are in the business of making your wallet as light as possible before you walk out of the door so no-one should be surprised that they’ll offer you extra services or a “special discount” if you sign up now. Isn’t it what everyone’s doing on their websites too? Time-sensitive offers are everywhere. And “just enter your email for your free XYZ” is the way pretty much everyone makes a subscriber list.