Tuesday, June 29, 2010

T. K. Maxx vs. T. J. Maxx

I have a really disgusting habit of telling everyone how much my clothes cost if I receive a compliment about them.  I think it comes from my mom, who happily lets everyone know that the jacquard Nordstrom jacket she's wearing was actually a 99 cent purchase from Value Village (yeah, isn't that a gross name for a store?  Might as well call it Bargain Hut).  Her love for her 99 cent specials knows no bounds; she stalks the rails during (almost) every 99-cent-Monday and whoops with glee when purchasing a gently used treasure.  "Do you have charity shops in the U.S.?" someone asked me at work.  "Yes!" I said enthusiastically.  "Except, without the charity element."  Okay, that's not true - I'm pretty sure The Salvation Army and Goodwill are considered "charity shops", but it's not like the British High Street, where you have shops for every charity from Age Concern to Cancer Research UK. 

Aside from thrift stores, however, my mother has only one other passion when it comes to shopping - and that's places like T. J. Maxx (branded as T. K. Maxx here in the UK), Marshalls, Ross, and yes, even Burlington Coat Factory (I can't shop in there because the lights make me nauseous).  Yes, the UK has T. K. Maxx and yes, the UK has Primark - but the extent of Britain's discount designer (or non-designer, as Primark is its own brand) shopping ends there.  Of course, there are the outlet and factory stores, but what I'm really interested in are the T. J. Maxxes of the world - where you can find a Kenneth Cole top for $2.50 (yes, I did and yes, it's fabulous) or a Le Creuset utensil holder (hello, everyone needs one!) for £2.99.  I think the UK needs more of those. 

One of the main reasons why I'm sad that I won't be going home until Christmas (besides missing my family and all that) is that I won't have the opportunity to indulge in one of my favorite thrifty habits: whenever I go home to Washington, my mom and I have a five-day Ross/Marshall's/T. K. Maxx marathon, where we go to every store within an approximately 20-mile radius at least twice.  We even comb the heinous clearance racks (where I found my $2.50 top) for buried treasure (literally - I found my prom dress on the floor of a Ross in Federal Way for $14.99.  Gross?  Probably.  Bargainous?  You betcha).  Americans are into bargains.  Like, real bargains.  Some of us even clip coupons (those are "vouchers", for all my UK readers) before we go shopping.  There's something so satisfying about not paying full price for an item that makes the shopping experience fun and thus, gives us permission to brag about our purchase. 

While I haven't quite yet developed the skill my mom possesses of making a 99-cent purchase work, I'll continue to shamelessly stick to my bargain hunting ways at the nearest T. K. Maxx.

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3 comments

  1. You need a trip to Newcastle. Where I live is FULL of rich rah students and so the local Oxfam is like a treasure trove of designer gear! :)

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  2. omg i LOVE thrift stores. well especially because my neighborhood has like a million of them. it's kindof awesome. i haven't paid more than $8 for jeans in 2 years. yay!

    also rumor has it, st. andrews has phenomenal charity shops. at least one of my mohos keeps telling me about all the deals she gets and i give her death glares over the internets. ;)

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  3. Funnily enough (by coincidence), I'm wearing a dress from Oxfam I bought at the Notting Hill branch ... they have so many designer goods at that one - it's always bustling with young hip trendsters (I am totally not one of them) with cash at the ready.

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