I’ve just had a look through my wardrobe and taken a tally of the clothes I own that I’ve bought at full price. So far, I can spot a couple of items from Primark, and possibly one extravagant spend on a winter coat from Zara. Everything I else I bought in the sale, or from a charity shop. It’s slowly dawning on my me how much of an utter cheapskate I am. I always knew I was a bargain hunter, but I’m starting to think that I need to calm down a bit with the thriftiness.
My friends got married a couple of years ago, and I went surveying the land to find a nice dress. After all, this was probably the first wedding of someone I was ‘talk on the phone for more than small talk’ close to. After a day trawling through Oxford street being disheartened by the fact that everyone in central London seems 5 times more fashionable than I can ever hope to be, and ever will be, I found myself in Topshop. I actually quite like Topshop. It dawned on me recently that when I tell people I don’t really like Topshop, what I actually mean is “I am too much of a cheapskate to buy a top for £30, therefore I hate shops that compel me to do so”. The clothes in Topshop are nice, even though they do insist on making skirts that are actually more loin cloth than suitable outerwear.
So as I mooched my way around, sneering at the over priced neon (neon should always be cheap), I chanced upon a dress that I though would be perfect for the wedding. It was shimmering under the harsh lighting, all gold and white and maxi and overpriced. “£40!” I muttered. “40! On one dress! What is the world coming to? I remember when a weekly bus pass used to be £4….”. I sighed and took it into the dressing room. It fit. “That looks well nice on ya..” a nice lady nodded at me. “Thanks!” I said, quietly agreeing. It did look rather spiffing (if I do say so myself). So with a heavy heart and a grudge against the clothing industry, I made my way to the till and bled my bank account of £40. On the train home I muttered to myself again “£40! On a dress? I got a pair of leather boots at the charity shop last week for a fiver..”
I know that it’s not normal. I know that £40 on a dress is a relatively expected price for a high street store. But when I see that jeans in Zara are knocked down to £12 during the sale, it makes it incredibly difficult to bring myself to buy them for £35 during non-sale season. Some kid in India is being paid around 24 pence a week to sew those jeans and I sure as hades am not paying a £34. 76 mark up.
In fact, although Primark get a lot of stick for ‘unethical’ trading practices, I personally think they are the most ethical of all high street stores. At least they’re sharing the discount with their customers. The kid in India is probably making clothes for Topshop and Primark on the same day. Maybe using the same material at times (within reason), but the difference is that Topshop is going to get Kate Moss to parade around in the T-shirt and then whack up the price by 400%, and Primark will only do it by 100%. And am I the only person noticing that clothes are getting more and more expensive by the month, by the minute?. My Mum got me a rain mac from Primarni last week. Cost her £9. I remember when they used to be £4. It’s just daylight robbery. I would rather some hoodlum in Bermondsey held me up and stole my Iphone, than pay Topshop £25 for a cotton T-shirt.
You might think that my cheapy ways mean that I don’t go shopping and am awesome at saving money. Actually, what I’m good at is buying an incredible amount of clothes for an incredibly small amount of money.
I get paid for the first time in September (insert harlem shake). I think that a regular salary might change my cheapskate ways, but I wouldn’t be surprised if come payday you find me outside the St Peter’s Hospice shop, clutching an insane amount of cheap second hand shoes.
Anyone else as much of a tightwad when it comes to high street prices as I am?