Monday, June 19, 2017

Gated Shopping Community

First things first - this is a First World Problem if ever there was one, but I'm a shallow person after all, so let me vent a bit, o.k.? As you might now, I have been spending a few days in Nice every summer for the past years. My friends and I usually go there in late July, early August and this is when shops try to clear out the summer stuff, wooing customers with stickers or labels everywhere saying deuxième démarque or -70% in many cases. Needless to say, everyone who walks into the store can benefit from these reductions and we readily do...ahem. This year, I'll be there in the second half of August, when the sales will probably already have ended, but this is another story.
I did not know, however, that there seems to be a system behind seasonal sales in France. When I was in Lyon last week, I noticed tempting signs with reductions popping up in most stores the second day we were there. Upon closer inspection some (very confusingly, not all, though, meaning you only find out when you are about to pay) of these signs explain that you need to have "la carte", i.e. that store's loyalty card in order to qualify. Depending on how nice the person at the checkout counter is, they can sign you up, even if you are not a resident or ask the person behind you if they are willing to present their card to allow you to get the discount, but in theory, it is not for you, the average tourist itching to whip out her credit card. Bummer!
In fact, I got so frustrated seeing all those sale stickers at Galeries Lafayette, my favourite store to sales shop in in France, that I ended up walking out pretty quickly. I actually asked the lady at the info counter if this was a Lyon specific thing as I had often benefited from the reductions sans la carte elsewhere and she explained that the general sale begins after June 25. So - mental note, only book a vacation to France in the first half of June if you want to save money or torture yourself ;-p
Also, while on a shopaholic frustration rant - I already knew from Nice that Galeries Lafayette for example attaches squares of various colours that stand for the discount - e.g. green = 40%, organge = 50%. There is no "glossary" anywhere though, so you need to ask and it is not the same in every store either, i.e. I found the colours to stand for different percentages in different department stores. Very confusing. Well, I guess I saved money by not being allowed to join the sales party.
Minor shopaholic complaints aside, Lyon was absolutely amazing and I can wholeheartedly recommend a visit there - so much to see and do and very friendly locals.

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