It’s that time of year again when hearts beat a little faster, palms get a little sweatier and wallets empty a little easier. It’s the Dubai shopping season, the time when experienced sales shoppers can bag a bargain and wardrobe basics can be picked up for a song.
There are two ways to get the best from the sales. In the first, shoppers wander into a shop to happily browse. I like to call this the “scatter gun effect”. It’s the ultimate in impulse shopping, where items you never knew you needed suddenly seem irresistible with 50 per cent off.
It’s a fun way to spend a few hours and it can help you unearth some unexpected bargains. It’s also a great way to suddenly decide to update your bed linen or stock up on basics such as shirts, T-shirts and jeans, as these items are always heavily marked down.
The other approach is that of the ‘Military Strategist’. This shopper plans exactly what, where, and how much they will be spending. They earmark key pieces and stalk them like a hunter does its prey. This is certainly the most efficient way to snare a bargain — although it lacks the thrill of the unexpected find. This is best for expensive purchases, such as the Jimmy Choos that have been lusted after all season but have until now been out of reach. It takes nerve and research, but wonderful things can be picked up for less than half the original price.
The key to get the best out of the sales is to adhere to a few basic rules. Stick to these and you will avoid costly disasters and, fingers crossed, pick up a bargain that will have all your friends green with envy.
Always remember that sales rely on impulse buys as we get caught up in the moment and spend wildly. So be picky. The best way to guard against unsuitable purchases is to ask yourself: Would you pay full price for it? If the answer is no, put it back. If the answer is yes, then congratulations, you have bagged a bargain.
The next question is, does it fit? If you have to drop a dress size, grow a foot taller or suddenly transform into Gisele Bundchen, then forget it. No matter how pretty it is, if it doesn’t fit you, you will never wear it; and if you never wear it, it’s a waste of money. So put it back.
Next question: What will you wear it with? Will it match with things you already own or do you have to buy an entire new wardrobe or redecorate your house to make it work? If the answer is yes, put it back.
Does it suit you? Just because your friend (Kate Moss) has one, will it look as good on you? Be honest and if you can’t trust yourself, then take a friend who will tell you.
Sales happen because shops want to clear old stock before the new stock arrives. They have already spent lots of money and are now trying to recoup as much of the investment as possible before the moment passes. That’s why the prices keep dropping as the sales go on for longer. If you can hold your nerve and wait it out, you can pick up absolute bargains as the sale draws to its end. The major downside of this approach is that there is a real risk that someone else may buy it before you. As the sale draws on, it’s worth trying to haggle a further discount. Clearly, this is not going to work on the most expensive item in the store on Day 1 of the sale but if it’s still there on Day 25, take a deep breath and ask for their best price. You may just be amazed at the response.
Another way is to carefully check items for marks and scuffs. Customers are notoriously rough on clothes (and shoes in particular) and many items end up smeared in make-up or scuffed. Look at the article carefully and judge for yourself if the damage can be repaired, then point it out to the sales team and politely ask for a discount.
Be fair in your request. No store is going to give 80 per cent off for a smudge of make-up that can clearly be dry-cleaned, but a popped seam could warrant a few dirhams off.
Discounts such as these are at the manager’s discretion so be nice and friendly, but question their decision if the answer is no.
Try bulk buying. If you find two or three things that you like, try asking for a discount if you buy them all. This may not work in the big department stores but smaller privately run shops will be more open to negotiation. This can be another good incentive for taking a friend with you, as you can haggle if you are both buying a few items. Also, try asking for the cash price or if there is a discount for cash. This can sometimes work on larger purchases and again if you are buying more than one piece.
But the best part of shopping at the sales is exactly that; shopping at the sales and the thrill of the chase. So try and have fun.
Plan a fun-packed summer this DSS
There are so many exciting activities to choose from to keep your kids busy all day long. Here are some random picks
World of Stories at Mercato: Children can see their favourite fairytale show live on stage at 4.30pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm. World of Stories will go on till June 29 and is open to visitors for free. This year’s event features a 3-D theme and includes characters such as Sinbad, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, Snow White, Bambi, Cinderella. Art and craft activities are also held from 3-5.30pm and from 6-8pm. In addition, storytelling will take place between 3 and 3.30 pm. And from 6.15-7.10pm. Kids can also get their picture taken with a caterpillar mascot.
Modhesh World at the Airport Expo Dubai: Featuring more than 40 themed zones, kids can enjoy attractions such as a huge fun fair, a scooter zone, the Modhesh Magical Forest, a 4D cinema display, an inflatable zone, magic planet zone and a minizoo, in addition to many other entertainment areas. Parents have options to keep their children occupied while they watch the Fifa World Cup matches on wide screens located at the Sports Zone for free. Modhesh World is open till August 7. Doors are open from 10am-10pm (Saturday to Wednesday); 10am-midnight (Thursdays) and 3pm-midnight on Fridays. Tickets cost Dh10 for adults and Dh15 for children.
Me & My Family inflatable tent at Al Aweer: The tent aims to bring children of all ages and their families together for various free recreational and sports activities. Children can choose from different entertainment corners: The Games Corner, includes activities such as slides, sports, skills games and bouncy castles; The Stage Corner offers younger children a mix of magic and cartoon and puppet shows; The Arts Corner where kids can enjoy face painting, sand painting, colouring and clay workshops. The tent will move to four areas across Dubai, including Hatta, Al Hebab and Al Lisaily (15 days in each location). The recreational tent will be open from 5-11pm daily till August 7. For more information visit www.meandmyfamily.ae
Fun-filled activities at Oasis Centre: Throughout the DSS, various all-family activities are lined up, including balloon-tricks for kids, exclusive international acts such as the Circusfera show, Soccer Trickster, Rola Bola Danny Show, Soccer on Rollers, Green Gymnastics and a Cowboy Rope Trickster. Foosball Frenzy game competitions will also be held at the mall.
Horse and camel riding and mini zoo at Modhesh World: This year’s mini zoo has expanded to include more species on display. Children can hop on to camels and horses, take pictures with a falcon, or feed birds and animals. The zoo houses a number of animals and birds, including turtles, iguanas, doves, parrots and eagles. Rides cost Dh15 and pictures can be taken for Dh10. Visitors can have their pictures printed on mugs with animal-shaped handles for Dh25.
Malls team up
Spending your money at the mall this summer could bring you more shopping rewards. Shopping-lovers get a chance to win Dh200,000 every week each time they spend Dh300 at the Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre, or the new Mirdif City Centre.
Tech-savvy kids can join an online kids club to stay updated on activities, promotions and exciting events. Log on to www.coolkids.ae for details.
Kids and animation movie fans will be able to watch the premiere of Toy Story 3 at CineStar Cinemas.
If you’re a football fan, all you have to do to win prizes is to walk around at one of the three malls listed above wearing your favourite team’s jersey. And you don’t have to worry about missing the final matches, as a number of outlets will be screening the matches live.
All That Glitters is Gold
Dubai likes to spoil its residents and visitors with lavish prizes during shopping events. And this summer’s DSS is no exception. Four malls are offering visitors a chance to win weekly gold prizes including two gold bars and a Longines gold watch. Shoppers spending Dh200 at The Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, Souk Al Bahar and Gold and Diamond Park get a coupon to enter the draw. In addition to the gold theme and promotion across the malls, visitors can choose from many entertainment events taking place at The Dubai Mall:
The Sheila & Abaya Fashion Show: July 8-11 at the Fashion Catwalk.
Mini Bladi Exhibition: July 17-26 at the Gold Souk Atrium.
Kids Wonder Talent Show: Until June 26 and July 12-14.
Circus Fera Show: June 28-30 and July 15-16.
Butterflies Show: July 27-28 and August 5-7.
Yellow Speed Team: July 29-31 and August 3.
The mall will also host oud and qanoon shows, saxophonists, Spanish guitarists, mime artistes and living statues.
The All that Glitters is Gold promotion runs from until August 7.
Luxury Me Time
What can be better than indulging in a relaxing and rejuvenating spa treatment this summer? Ladies and men of all ages can take advantage of DSS Spa Packages and treat themselves, friends or their loved ones to one of the packages on offer this summer. Spa-lovers can choose from one of 40 Dubai spas participating in the promotion and go to the one nearest to their home. The packages include discounts of up to 50 per cent, two-for-one offers and complimentary treatments such as body scrubs, mud baths, reflexology sessions, Ayurveda therapies, Moroccan baths, Swedish and Thai massages, beautifying and detoxifying treatments and various other specialised therapies for both men and women.
Wives can also treat their husbands to a massage or grooming session at any of the spas included in the promotion. This year’s Spa Packages offer special treatments men such as anti-fatigue massages and salon grooming packages.
There at least 40 spas taking part in the promotion.
•Akaru Spa: www.akaruspa.com
• Angsana Spa The Montgomerie:www.angsanaspa.com
•Angsana Spa Arabian Ranches:www.angsanaspa.com
•Angsana Spa & Health Club Dubai Marina: www.angsanaspa.com
•Angsana Spa Emirates Hills:www.angsanaspa.com
•Cleopatra’s Spa Wafi: www.wafi.com
•Club Olympus: www.dubai.regency.hyatt.com
•Dragonfly Therapeutic Retreat:www.dragonfly.ae
•Feet First (Dubai Mall):www.thedubaimall.com
•Heavenly Spa – Westin:www.westinminaseyahi.com
•House of Chi: www.hofchi.com
•Jannati Spa & Health Club
•Karisma Ladies Centre:www.karismacentre.com
•Lime Spa: limespas.com
•Mandara Spa: www.themonarchdubai.com
•Maven Spa: www.mavenspa.com
•Prana Ladies Spa
•NIVEA Haus: www.thedubaimall.com
•Raffles Amrita Spa: www.raffles.com
•SensAsia Urban Spas: www.sensasiaspas.com
•SPA Intercontinental: www.ichotelsgroup.com
•Spa Dunya Club: www.spadunyaclub.com
•Taj Spa: www.tajhotels.com
•Thai Privilege Spa:www.thaiprivilegespadubai.com
•The Cure: www.thecure.ae
•The Spa at Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa:www.jebelali-international.com
•The Spa at Shangri-La: www.shangri-la.com
•The Spa at The Address Dubai Marina:www.theaddress.com
•The Spa at The Address Downtown Dubai: www.theaddress.com
•The Spa at The Address Dubai Mall:www.theaddress.com
•The Spa (The Palace-Old Town):www.theaddress.com
•The Spa at Hilton: hiltonworldwide1.hilton.com
•Willow Stream Spa: www.fairmont.com
•Zaitoon Talise Spa: www.jumeirah.com
What’s your flavour?
DSS also offers alternative events so everyone can find something they like, no matter what they’re interested in.
Middle East Junior Chef of the Year: Until June 29 at BurJuman. The event celebrates the works of 600 and more chefs from star hotels across the GCC. They gather in Dubai to showcase their finest preparations and compete in front of the jury consisting of master chefs from around the world.
The World Cup Tent One: Football fans can head to the Dubai Fountain at the Burj Khalifa area to watch the World Cup games and support their favourite team. The One marquee has been built especially for the Fifa World Cup. It has 35-inch plasma screens in addition to two 2×3-metre big screens that will telecast matches live. The two-floor venue will also offer visitors a selection of food and beverages and sheesha.
Skating-rink at Arabian Centre: The 80,000-square-metre mall will hold performances by professional skaters from Russia at its newly opened ice-skating rink. The event will also give an opportunity for one fan to skate alongside the professionals and learn skating from experts. The mall will also offer training courses on skating at the rink for beginners who want to have a go at the fun sport.