The holidays are coming. Some of the retailer advertisements would have had you believe that the holidays came a couple of months ago but with Thanksgiving rolling in next week and Christmas just another month after that, we feel pretty confident saying they are looming. Soon all our free time will be taken up with cooking, baking, and decorating. If you’re looking for that last piece of regularly scheduled insanity, this week might be your last chance. And what better way to close out the insanity than with a weekend at the clubs!
No, not those clubs. The shopping clubs! Regardless of the level club you patronize it’s only going to get more frantic from now through Christmas.
To start, there are the classic shopping clubs. To these you pay a fee for the privilege of being notified of special deals on special days for special people willing to wait especially for that special sale. Usually only on-line, shopping clubs are clubs in the truest sense. You have to be invited, you have to pay your dues, and you don’t get to order off the menu. Gilt Group and Beyond the Rack are two popular shopping clubs. Some clubs require a membership but without a membership fee. These are the public pubs of the shopping clubs, usually divisions of other retailers and include Haute Look and Rue La La.
At the other end of the spectrum are the corner bar versions of our clubs. These are the remainder stores. Big Lots, Ollie’s, and Tuesday Morning are filled with bargains that nobody else needs, wants, or could sell. Everybody is welcome and the discounts can be deep. But be cautious while clubbing at the neighborhood tavern. Not all of the deals are deals and not all of the merchandise is of the expected deep discount.
The most common of the clubs that will see high level holiday shopping sprees are the warehouse clubs. Costco, Sam’s and BJs may be the only remaining warehouse clubs in the United States. Here you pay a fee and buy in large quantities. So large are the quantities that stand-up comedians have fed on the warehouse clubs since the Price brothers turned an airplane hangar into the first Price Club in 1976. (If you’re wondering, Price Club eventually merged with Costco.) You may not need a pallet load of toilet paper but if you want one, the warehouse clubs will sell you one. Or more.
Yep, it will probably be the warehouse clubs that will be filled this week and weekend as zillions of Christmas lights, mountains of frozen appetizers, plentiful place-settings, hundreds of miles of garland, oodles of electronics, and the occasional occasional chair will be trucked out to pickups and vans and the shopping season opens with a round of clubbing more feverish than Saturday night at a mid-seventies disco.
And they even come with their own cover charge.
Now that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you.