The lot of it (not all mine though). I forgot to include a boxed gift set so that's the only one missing.
The part that's mine. (I know, still A LOT.)
Joico K-PAK Reconstructive Conditioners and Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
NARS Skin Toners and Nail Polish
Shiseido Skincare Products (my stash for a whole year)
I was really looking forward to getting a NARS Multiple something but most of what they had were bronzers and I don't really use bronzers so I passed. I also wanted to pick up some of the Shiseido sunscreen products but it was the first item to sell out. It was ridiculous. I saw women taking 4 bottles at a time! Lucky that Mr. J found those Sun Protection foundation sticks. He actually braved the rabid horde of women at the skincare section to grab a couple for me while I was checking out the cosmetics area. So proud of him! In case you were wondering, they also had the whole spectrum of liquid foundations from both Shiseido and NARS, as well as eyeshadow, primers, lipstick and lip gloss, blushes, bronzers, highlighters...everything! I just didn't get eyeshadow because I need another like I do a hole in the head. I might have gone crazy but not so crazy that I even limited my nail polish purchases to only 3. My biggest regret is that I didn't grab more when I found out how amazingly cheap they were selling for. Oh, well. There's always next year. Or next May.
Brand new, just not in the box.
Sealed! (The blue one I tampered with. :P)
If you're hesitant about purchasing products from a warehouse sale, don't be. They provide testers so that the products you do purchase are intact and even sealed, albeit without a box. The NARS toners I got were still sealed in boxes though, but I think they're the exception to the rule. These aren't close to expiry either. All of the skincare products I purchased had their expiry pegged at 2013. That's a good leeway. If I had to make a guess, these are products that were over-ordered and are taking up too much space in the warehouse. Some of the cosmetics shades are from relatively current collections, too. One of the NARS nail polishes I got is Desperado from the Spring 2011 collection. Whereas there are others that are from older releases like another NARS polish I got: Midnight Express. But what about prices? Was it worth the hassle of waiting for at least an hour to get inside and then having to deal with little old ladies who surprisingly shove pretty hard?
***The retail prices above were gleaned from various websites including Sephora.com, Narscosmetics.com and Spaboutique.ca and are mostly in USD so the savings in CDN might even be significantly larger than shown.
As you can see from the chart above, you can easily get as much as 50% off your total purchase price. Notice though how much different the discount rates are for the various products. The Shiseido skincare products are some of the lower discount rates. But the NARS Skin toners are among some of the deeper discounts. In fact, I'll make a sweeping generalization and say that the NARS products have better discounts than the Shiseido ones. Now, if you're wondering if it's just all about NARS and Shiseido, fear not! If you're an Orlane fan, they also had their skin care products available, as well as hair care products from salon brands like Evolve, Bain de Terre and Joico that are all also heavily discounted. A perfume section is also present with brands like Issey Miyake and Jean Paul Gaultier with fragrances for both men and women. They even had gift sets with prices that range from $35-$50 that would make for great Christmas presents for any perfume enthusiast.
Now that I have you convinced that hitting up these warehouse sales are definitely worth the effort, how exactly does one go about it without going bankrupt and/or getting the most out of it? Here are a few things I've had to learn the hard way from last year's first foray and this year's better experience.
- Do your research. I cannot stress this enough. First, know when and where the warehouse sales will be. Find out if there's ample parking or if it would be better to either carpool with a friend or be dropped off by the hubby. That's one less thing to stress about. Second, find out what brands/products will be available and which of them you definitely want. Know the retail prices of each so you can decide if the prices at the warehouse sale make them worth getting. Go to the product counters at your local mall so you can swatch products in advance and consult what products would be best for your skin care needs.
- Draw out a plan of attack. Mr. J and I are all about efficiency. He holds the bags and stands to the side while I work through the crowds to get the products. I also brief him prior to going to the sale so that he knows what to look out for if I miss them. Photos are especially helpful.
- Come early. "The early bird gets the worm." If you really want something that is liable to sell out fast, be prepared to arrive at least half an hour earlier than the warehouse sale start time. It might mean an extra half hour of queuing but it might guarantee you getting the product you want. (I learned this from missing out on the sunscreen.)
- Dress appropriately. Expect to be on your feet, in line, for at least an hour or so. Be kind to your feet (and legs) and leave the heels at home. Dress warmly if you're coming to the November sale. You'll be standing around in the cold in an open space near an airport so when the wind blows, it blows COLD.
- Bring snacks and/or drinks in case of hunger/thirst pangs. If you come closer to lunch (10-11am), chances are you won't be having lunch till 2pm. I'd hope you had a huge breakfast or you might be cranky and rushing through when you finally get inside that you won't be able to maximize haulage.
- Bring a buddy along. Waiting for a while with friends makes the waiting go much better. Just make sure you don't bring whiners along (that's counterproductive!). If you can't find anyone, make sure to bring a book or some form of entertainment to keep the waiting game from getting to you. At worst, start chatting up the person next in line to make a new friend.
- Please, please, please don't bring your kids. I always feel bad for these little cuties waiting with their moms in the cold. I've seen a few full-blown tantrums, especially when the moms don't make provisions for the comfort of their children. If you must bring them, bring a stroller or folding chairs so they won't have to stand with you. Bring something to keep them occupied as well, like toys or books as well as food and drink to keep them happy. But in the rush of the crowd inside, know that having a child with you will make it harder for you to navigate inside, as well as not give you enough time to test different cosmetics.
- Be patient, play nice but expect some shoving. Women go the craziest in the skincare section. I've been shoved, elbowed and pushed around by these little old Asian ladies that are rabid about their skincare. It's insane. But it works in my favor than I can reach over them (while saying "excuse my reach", of course) and just grab from open boxes the products I want. This is where my research comes into play as I already know what I want and have no need to ask the lady watching the counter what would work best with my skin needs.
From last year's queue where we came later and had to wait in line for 2 hours. I forgot to take a photo this year since we waited for only about 30-40mins. FYI, the entrance is on the top far right where the people with the reflective vests are standing.
After all is said and done, you don't really have to follow all the tips I've outlined above to get the most out of a warehouse sale experience. I've even seen husbands or boyfriends by themselves walking around with lists and giving them to the ladies who man the counters, asking them to get the items on the list for them. So really, what might work for me, may not work for you.
Have you been to any warehouse sale? Would you be interested to hit one up after reading this post? Is there any product shown above that you'd be more interested to see an in-depth review on?