Maybe some of you placed a wager on tonight’s big game, but I never had the stomach for gambling. The thought of watching my hard-earned money evaporate into the ether with nothing to show for it—well, it makes me sick to my stomach. But I admit there is a high-risk, high-reward pastime that I can’t seem to quit. Despite the fact that it sometimes ends in heartache and always results in a depleted bank account, I can’t resist online shopping.
When you win, you win big, scoring bargains on much cuter things than you can find at the local mall, things that make you look and feel amazing on an otherwise crappy day like, for example, a dress covered with cats wearing sunglasses and neckties.
The icing on this already delectable cake is that you did it all without having to put on pants.
There’s another level to this game, one that not many people have the guts to face, the equivalent of the high limit poker tables in Vegas, and that is the Final Sale section of Modcloth.
If you’ve never heard of Modcloth, then I simultaneously pity and envy you, for once you visit their website, there’s no turning back. You are never again the same.
Their wares are world-rockingly adorable but generally pretty expensive (especially from the perspective of an employee of the state of South Carolina), their sales are rare, and things I love have sold out often enough that I have broken down and paid full price for things from their site–which is way out of character for me–more often than I care to admit.
Their sizing can be maddeningly inconsistent, since they sell a lot of different designers. And if you stumble upon something from the UK, you have to put your ego in check and bite the bullet and order a size two or three up from your normal one.
I have always wanted to visit the UK, but Modcloth has given me some pause about this desire. Judging by the scale of the clothes, the women there, in addition to having cool accents and excellent fashion sense, must all be tiny, delicate, hobbit-scaled creatures who’d make me feel like a gigantic, gangly, ugly American in their presence. I’m just not sure my already healthy inferiority complex could take that.
That’s a big part of what makes Final Sale such a dangerous place. Modcloth lures you in with tantalizing deals “up to 70% off,” but once items get into this special section, they don’t allow returns or even exchanges on them. Whatever you buy in Final Sale is yours forever.
Then too is the danger of seeing something you paid full price for, or got at a lesser discount, now listed for much cheaper. I have known that heartbreak too. In those instances you must first check to see if your size is sold out. If so, you are vindicated in having bought your size while you had the chance, a true shopping ninja.
But let’s say you’re like me with a fox scarf I bought a few weeks ago, marked down in the regular sale section to $18 from $60. (I don’t know who pays more than half a hundred dollars for a scarf, but I know it’s not me.) I was thrilled with my purchase—it’s super cute, it’s warm, it’s nice and long. Then a week later, it got moved to Final Sale and marked down to $10.99, and I started to feel a little like I’d gotten a raw deal.
This is why you must wear online purchases immediately: I was able to convince myself that I got $7.01 worth of value by having that scarf in my life for one extra week than I would have, had I waited to order it till it got to the Final Sale section. Not to mention, the pride I felt during that week in getting a good (if not great) bargain before it sold out, and the peace of mind at knowing that the fox scarf would warm my neck and my heart for years to come–well, you can’t put a price tag on that.
And if you could, surely it would be more than $7.01.
Having reassured myself of my good life choice with that particular purchase, I scrolled deeper into the Final Sale to discover two deeply discounted dresses that had been on my love list for months—one with foxes and rabbits in the print and one with polar bears, penguins, and seals—and a sweater with a wombat-looking creature on the front. With sweaty palms and a hopeful heart, I read the reviews carefully for clues about the fit and even busted out the tape measure to help me choose my sizes (different sizes for each item, of course) and checked out before I could lose my nerve.
Well, those items arrived and, to my surprise and glee, each one fits like a dream and is utterly delightful.
This is what it feels like when your outfit is fire. When you know, deep inside, that you got it at 70% off. When the garment itself has become an outward manifestation of your daring heart, your willingness to look risk dead in the eye and call its bluff, and your uncanny knack for emerging triumphant.
It’s an exhilaration like few others.