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 Manolo Blahnik sample sale opened to friends, family, and VIPs yesterday, and today it opens to the general public at 9am. Reporter Joy Fan is on the scene at the Warwick Hotel. Read her full account below.
7:30am: Got here at 7:15am and I'm 231 on the official sign-in list. The unofficial line marshall from the last sale is back too!
7:35am: The first ten people in line got here before 6am. If people sleepy equates to being quiet, I'd say most people are pretty awake. The copious amounts of Starbucks cups might have something to do with that.
7:40am: Not totally sure, but it seems like this is the first time the sign-in sheet has been implemented. Only time will tell if it's effective.
7:45am: Kicking myself for not getting here at 5:30 as planned.
7:47am: We're up to 282 people now.
7:50am: The unofficial line marshall is serving as a liaison between the caffeinated public and sale organizers, making sure the tickets are given out soon to prevent chaos.
Dutifully signing in
7:55am: The husband of the year award goes to the man who woke up at 5am to shop for his wife. A sale veteran, he can't wait for the tickets to be handed out around 8am so he can go back to work and come back. He's one of the six dutiful/unlucky menI see here.
7:57am: A friendly reminder from the staff that the sale is cash only.
7:58am: Important announcement from one of the two (!) staffers working the sale: the girl handing tickets is not here yet, and the sale might open early. Since there are so many people here, she's not sure how giving out tickets according to number will work out.
8:00am: She seems a bit intimidated against the crowd. "There are only two of us against all of you."
8:05am: Air conditioning can't keep up—so glad there's water!
8:07am: List is at 335 now. Wondering if this many people lounging about is a fire hazard.
8:10am: Sure, everyone is waiting patiently now. But toddlers might not fare so well once they get into the sale. Still cute though.
8:13am: Crowd hears an official-sounding voice and they all flock over.
8:15am: She doesn't work here guys! She just comes to the sale every year.
8:17am: Still no tickets.
8:20am: The crowd is moving! The first 75 people are going in!
8:30am: Uh oh. They don't seem to be going by the list. I can't even squeeze to the front to investigate!
8:31am: They just called out #24 and #25. Does that mean they're checking IDs?
8:35am: A wave of relief washes over the crowd when they find out they're going by the list. Does nothing to dissipate the crowd, though.
8:37am: The sale organizers are calling out numbers now. If you're not in the first 200, come back in an hour!
8:40am: Numbers 1-59 are in now. Numbers 100 onward are slowly retreating back to the waiting room.
8:52am: Ladies, don't leave the sale—not even for breakfast! Th guard by the entrance is not letting anyone back upstairs: "NOBODY IS GOING UPSTAIRS."
9:10am: Now they're calling numbers 100 through 200 to come and make a line.
9:11am: Overheard the staff saying they made the deliberate decision not to use the ticket system this year. They're not checking IDs, but you do have to state your name before they check it off.
9:30am: One woman who just made it out of the sale (below) says it's a mess inside. She's a size 8, and the selection was already pretty limited when she got in. (She was #61.)
9:35am: They're giving out tickets to the 200s now. You can get a ticket, and sit back down to wait.
9:50am: I just got an "I" ticket. It's a ticket to the sale but NOT a ticket to go out and potentially come back. The hotel stopped letting anybody in. Once you leave you can't get back in. There is a line outside the hotel wrapped around the block.
10:10am: My new friend, "Big Momma Jo", just got a AA ticket (she's #335). She tells me: "Honey, I've had two kids. I've never been a AA in my life."
10:30am: They're still going through the hundreds. The sign-in sheet closed at 465, and there's a crazy line outside. All of these factors seem to add up to: don't waste your time heading over if you're not already here.
10:35am: I just got moved to the final holding room before actually going in to the sale. Another hour from here!
UPDATE: Since there's a pretty epic conversation happening in our comments section, we've decided to include Joy's report from inside the sale right here. Photos from inside are in the gallery above.
Basically, she says that size 37s will have the most luck, but forget about it if you're a size 38, 39, or 39.5. Those tables are empty, and if there are any stragglers on the tables, they're probably other sizes that have been misplaced.
If you're looking for rhinestones, or any shoes with a lot of ornamentation, you better be a size 36.5 and below, or a size 40.5 and above. There are a lot of winter boots, but absolutely no BB pumps. We repeat, no BBs.
As for whether not it's worth it to stop by, know that they cut off the list at 465, and hotel guards are now manning the elevators and service stairs, and getting a ticket does NOT mean you can come back. Also: hotel guests have to show their room keys to the security, so don't think you can just pretend to be visiting from the Midwest.