There. I’ve said it.
I read about the Clarks warehouse clearance sale in the newspapers and online. I’d been to the one last year, which was held at the same place i.e. Corus Hotel in the KL city centre. Having a clearance sale in a hotel is always a good idea because its cool but parking is always hell. This year, they advised shoppers to park at Avenue K next door, because I suppose to hotel just could not accomodate the shoppers AND hotel guests who couldn’t have been very pleased to find so many people trooping around the hotel, clogging up the entrance and car parks.
Last year, I picked up some deals, I felt. I got a pair of flats at about RM100 and a pair of black court shoes (serviceable if a tad small) at RM120. I’d seen similar pairs in the retail stores so I knew the prices. I hoped to pick up the same bargains this year. However, I found this year, that the prices were higher.
I was not looking for casual sandals or shoes (they retailed at over RM100 anyway), so I targeted only the court shoes of which there were about 4-5 designs. I usually wear a size 3 or 4 in Clarks (their sizes run large I’ve found so I size down) so it was quite easy to get my size. The problem of course was in battling the women who hogged the front of the counters. Clarks was understaffed, if I don’t say so myself. For a sale like this, knowing that there would be many people demanding the attention of the staff to find shoes for them, they should employ more staff. As it was, I saw about 4 people manning the first ladies’ counter. With 30 women screaming in your face for sizes and design, you can bet the staff were getting harried and confused.
I was looking for a black pair of shoes and there were 2 designs I was interested in. One was going for RM180 (24% off) and the other RM150 (35% off) The discounts weren’t very much I felt for something that was supposed to be on clearance. Nevertheless, I asked for a size to try. To my surprise, the shoe that was given to me to try:
- did not come in the normal dark green sturdy Clarks box
- had a stark white in sole compared to the dark tan insole of the sample shoe
- the box was a tiffany blue flimsy contraption
I was very surprised. I’d never seen Clarks shoes come in that sort of packaging and design before. I mean, white insoles would be the ultimate in stupidity, for they would dirty very easily and look grotty and awful in 2 seconds. Very odd. I checked the seams and stitching but was not able to detect anything overly untoward other than the stark white in sole.
The size was too large so I went back to get a size 3 pair. This pair came to me in a proper sturdy dark green Clarks box with the Clarks name printed in white on the box as per normal, and a price tag on the side showing the retail price. When I opened it, I was even more surprised to find that the shoe inside was nested in white tissue paper with proper stuffing in the shoe, and the in sole was a dark tan. Very odd.
Size 3 was a good fit, so I got it. However it did not stop me feeling uneasy about the whole experience.
- Why were there 2 different packagings at the “sale”?
- If this was a proper “clearance sale”, wouldn’t Clarks be clearing out old stock that would already come in their normal green box packaging?
- Were Clarks making new shoes to be sold solely at this clearance sale in flimsy boxes, knowing full well people will buy them even at a small 24% discount because of the perceived “cheaper price”?
So whilst I’m glad I got a pair of Clarks pumps at a discount (I’ve needed a pair for ages), as others too have done, I can’t shake the feeling that it might not be a discount at all, but might even be shoes made just for the sale alone. Honestly, I would not have bought this design in the store at its retail price of RM238. What made me think that RM180 was saving me any money or an excuse for a design that I did not really like?
At the end of the day, I decided that I don’t think I’ll be going to further Clarks clearance/warehouse sales. The choices for working shoes aren’t great, the discounts aren’t great and you might even be buying shoes that would never see the light of day in a Clarks retail store. I love warehouse sales but not the feeling of being a little ripped off. So flame me if you must :)