I’m a pretty big fan of Wisebread. Friday they had a post after my own heart asking whether outlet malls are worth your time. I’ve always said NO, they’re not worth your time. And I’ve often had my head bitten off whenever I suggested this may be the case. I have some friends who swear by outlet malls.
Wisebread suggests three reasons why outlet malls may not be worth it. Let’s dig in (with my usual two cents):
- They’re Inconvenient (Totally – especially if you count fighting for a freakin’ parking space. And don’t get me started about the stress of whoever is sitting in the passenger seat pointing out all of “our spots” that people steal or all the spots I miss because I’m not sufficiently stalking people while they walk for their cars…);
- The Items Are Lower Quality (I didn’t believe this until this year. Guess what? It’s often true! One of my buddies at work pointed this out with Brooks Brothers ties. Apparently Brooks Brothers even calls their outlet stuff a slightly different name – like Brooks Brothers 346 or something like that; and
- The Savings Really Are Too Good to Be True (I believe it. And those of my friends and family who did not threaten to kill me when I suggested they “step away from” the outlet malls agree mostly with this point. I’ve been a bunch of times and am rarely impressed.).
The comments (to date) suggest that some readers agree with Wisebread (and me) for reasons including lack of warranties, the best deals are often on refurbished items and near-equal (or better) alternative sites like eBay, for example. But there’s at least one person who does quite a bit of shopping at outlet stores.
My take is that outlet shopping can be OK if you have patience, discipline and flexibility. It’s not for a rookie. And it’s not for me. So I’ll be stepping away from any mall – outlet or conventional. I’ll be doing most of my holiday shopping online.
What about you? Where are you doing your holiday shopping? What’s your take on outlet shopping? It’s just not worth the headache for me.
Until next time, put your credit card down and slowly step away from the mall!