I have mentioned before that I am a “rebuyer“. I will scout out deals on clothing items I need. I purchase the items. Then I wait awhile and see if the items are still available online and determine if either the price has been reduced or I have some sort of coupon that will lower the price point I initially obtained, then I re-buy the item at the reduced cost. Quirky? Perhaps. OCD? Maybe. Savvy? Yeah….that’s it. This approach is savvy.
I am able to use this system because I am a) very specific about the items I purchase and b) I am patient. Just because I have made a clothing purchases does not mean that I have to wear it immediately.
I am working on transitioning to more flattering colors when I am updating my wardrobe. I have also been looking for a very warm jacket for my wardrobe. I live in a cold climate and a jacket is probably the most profound fashion statement I can make. I realized that when I am “out in public” and seeing other people, I normally have my coat on. Thus, for me at this point in my life, it is the best investment piece of clothing I can make is the winter jacket. I found this jacket at Land’s End. It was described as “warmest” and on account of the warmth factor and the style, I gave it a B+. If it was in navy, It would have been an A, but the jacket did not come in navy, so it was demoted to a B+.
The jacket was originally something like $165. Then it went on sale to $84 which was a reasonable price point. However, I just couldn’t be content with the $84. I had to see what would happen in February when my “save $15 a $75 purchase” would become redeemable. I received this coupon when I purchased the original jacket. This jacket fluctuated on the Lands End site of being in stock in a medium and out of stock. So, I was not convinced that I could return my original jacket because there may not be a size medium available on the website when I would be able to redeem my coupon.
However, on the coupon redemption day, a medium was available and I purchased it for $70. With my savings of $15.40 which is a combination of $14 ($84 – $70) plus $1.40–I received another $1.40 cash back from Ebates. I could use the $15.40 to defray the cost of the fingerless gloves I purchased from Sundance. I look at these gloves as a business expense. I normally draft my posts at hockey games or hockey practices. It is pretty chilly at the rinks and sometimes my hands are too cold to type. The glove were $28 and received nearly 5 stars from 171 people. I would have got them if 50 people like them. Thus, by saving $15.40, I now look at the gloves as a $12.60 purchase plus shipping….$7.95…which is a little over $20.
When the gloves arrived, they were incredibly warm. They definitely deserved 5 stars. Yet, I received the wrong color. The color I received which was listed as “cream” on the invoice were in fact more of an oatmeal. I wanted to return the gloves for the correct color, but was afraid that with a long processing time, the gloves may become unavailable since we are phasing out of winter. I called Sundance and the company explained to me that they could immediately ship me another pair without paying any shipping charges. Then, when I returned the defective gloves, I would be reimbursed for the $28.
The Sundance associate did not immediately suggest that Sundance would take the shipping cost off a new pair. I just inquired what I was supposed to do for 30 days…30 days was the processing time for returns. I explained that I needed to use the gloves now and I was fearful that they would be out of stock in the cream color when my return was processed thirty days later. When I mentioned this point the associate offered the free shipping option. I realized that I had acquired some sort of strategic advantage. I would get my “real” gloves soon while others who failed to call Sundance would have sent their pair back and waited for thirty days for their replacement pair to arrive.
I decided to use this new found knowledge with another online order mishap. Mr. Super Frugalette needed some shorts from Eddie Bauer. I decided to check out the clearance section to see if there was anything in navy that would be appealing. I came across the velour sweatshirt below. The color was not called navy but called “eclipse” which looked like a dark smoky blue. Dark smoky blue is equivalent to navy for my color purposes so I added my sweatshirt to the order. What I received in the mail today was an eggplant colored sweatshirt. It was definitely purple. I put it next to my navy blue clutch and there was no mistaking it.
Taking my cue from my Sundance success story, I decided to call Eddie Bauer and see what they could do about the situation. I had them clarify the exact color of eclipse–it was a “dark smoky blue”. Then I explained that I had an eggplant colored sweatshirt. I wanted to know if they could send me another one since it appears that the one I received had come from a faulty dye lot. Much to my dismay, I was told that all the size mediums were sold out! Thus, they could not offer me a substitution, but she could send me a $10 gift card.
After these two incidents I realized that I definitely could save more money since I was very content with delayed gratification but I also realized that by calling the retailer when I had a problem with my order, I received definite strategic advantages. For Sundance, I was ensured a pair of cream colored gloves that would arrive within the week. At Eddie Bauer, I could not obtain a navy sweatshirt but I did obtain a $10 gift card for my wasted time. I was receiving a level of service and options that other shoppers were not accessing.
Fess up…are you are “rebuyer”? Have you ever learned something about a retailer that has given you a strategic advantage?
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