Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
The Barneys Warehouse Sale returns this Thursday, August 25, which means you've got only a few days to prepare for what's easily the craziest discount event of the year. We're here to offer you three ways to go about these preparations, depending on your level of commitment.
If you're really obsessed, you can read through three and a half years worth of Racked sale coverage. If you want the basics, you can check out the February 2011 edition of our bi-annual Warehouse Sale Survival Guide. And if you want something in between, you can stay right here for some advice for advanced shoppers. After all, at this point, you probably know to hit the shoes first.
1.) Sort your potential purchases into must-haves and maybe-wants before you get to the register.
That way, you'll ensure you can afford the items you really love. Only include the things you're ambivalent about if your subtotal doesn't add up to more than you want to spend. This is also a helpful means to keep from going crazy while you're waiting in the epic line to pay.
2.) Be nice to the employees.
This isn't just good karma—it's also pragmatic. If you can win over Barneys staffers, they might tell you useful insider information, like how cheap the discounts will go, or when the new shoes from Beverly Hills will arrive. Employees have real power here: Last time around, shipments of new merchandise appeared throughout the sale, but it was up to the staffers when to put it all on the sales floor. (Note: Regular shoppers of the 18th Street store have an advantage, since they can find their favorite sales associates from the rest of the year.)
3.) Early on, look for items that Barneys bought specifically for the sale.
Before the Warehouse Sale, Barneys often stocks up on leftover merchandise from vendors. If you see fifty of the same Rag & Bone blazer, for example, that's probably because Rag & Bone sold the jackets to Barneys in bulk. These pieces can still be expensive, but because they arrive in plastic packaging, they're guaranteed to be in good shape. Just act fast: They all tend to disappear after the first few days.
4.) Don't neglect the Chelsea Passage.
Sure, it might be utterly devoid of Phillip Lim, but the housewares section is often full of potential birthday and holiday gifts. And since the stuff there doesn't move too fast, you can get great discounts on the last few days.
5.) Lastly, save your receipts.
Returns at the Warehouse Sale can be frustrating, since shoppers tend to pay in cash and then lose their receipts. Even if you think you're madly in love with your new purchases, hang onto that little piece of paper for a couple days. If you come across a really legitimate complaint—like major damage, or two left shoes—and you've got proof that you bought the item at the sale, then salespeople will usually accommodate you.
· The Barneys Warehouse Sale Survival Guide: February 2011 [Racked NY]
· All Barneys Warheouse Sale coverage [Racked NY]