I don't cope too well in crowds and there isn't a scarier crowd than those at the sales! Give me a crowd of football hooligans any day - they're pussycats compared to the hoards of women with their claws out clambering to get a bargain.
The crowds are filled with certain types of sale shoppers that must be avoided at all costs in order to have a stress-free bargain hunt.
The everywhere-you-go sale shopper is another stress inducer. She is responsible for that irritating tug you'll feel on the hanger, which the amazing bargain dress you have finally found is hanging on. You'll peer over the clothing rail, and yes, there she is! She wants your bargain. I suggest a raise of the eyebrow (to show you mean business) and a swift, firm tug. Hurry away to the queue with your head held high.
The other irritant you may find in the sales is the slow-pacer. You walk into a shop and you eye up the rails of treats before you. Your breath becomes short, the adrenaline inside you rises... Hang on, how can the person in front be moving so slowly? This sale shopper thinks this time of year is like any other, where you can have a leisurely stroll round the shops. She's obviously not a bargain hunter and can afford the full price, next season collection - even in broke January. Does she not realise there are bargains to be had? Does she think those rails of 75% off will hang around? MOVE!
I ventured into the sales with my best friend Deb and her baby, Grace (i.e pram issues). Probably not the easiest accessory for the narrow aisles, which seem to get even narrower when the floor is piled with garments flung from their hangers during the sale riots. I am usually one of those shoppers that get impatient if I am confronted with a pushchair when shopping, but since pushing round baby Grace in a packed out Primark on a Friday afternoon, I have found a whole new sympathy for stressed out mothers laden with children and shopping bags.
We found out that the pram was a fantastic way to get some crowd control. We just so happened to place the pram innocently across an aisle of clothing we rather liked. It was heaven to have some space to look at the clothes and luckily baby Grace is absolutely beautiful so anyone who looked annoyingly towards the pram was soon gushing!
It has recently been revealed that women will spend £71 on items of clothing they will never wear during the sales season.
To avoid having a wardrobe full of 70% off bright orange dresses a size to small or sequin tops you won't be able to wear until next Christmas, it is best to look ahead at what is 'in' next season.
Take a look at the trends in fashion magazines - Instyle has fantastic style guides along with Glamour, Elle and Marie Claire. Look the at the key colours, the shapes of dresses that will be fashionable and the style of trouser that will be hot.
I would also recommend buying classic pieces in the sale. These are items that will never go out of style and will always have a place in your wardrobe. A trench coat, wide leg trousers, a shift dress, an A-line skirt, a white blouse and a good court shoe.
I know (too well) how hard it is not to be fooled by the 50% off price tags on something you wouldn't normally dream of buying. The best thing to do when thinking about buying into a bargain is to stand back, look at the dress, trousers or top and think... "Would I even dream of buying it, if it hadn't got half the price knocked off?"
Everyone loves a bargain. You feel a real achievement when returning home and announcing proudly that the dress was originally £100 but you got it for £20. The thing is... you have to think why it wasn't so popular the first time round. Shops tend to pile up the sales rails with last summers unwanted items - rails of embellished, garish vest tops, leopard print fur, white leather jackets, capes...
There are, however, some amazing sales out there... and if you stick to a list of what you want to find in the sales, and try not to be led astray, then you should have a successful sale shop. Enjoy bargain hunters!