Retail Bargains Galore

Been shopping lately? The bargains are everywhere, and are just astounding in some cases. I’m not talking about stocks, either. I’m talking about old fashioned, in a store, buying things at the register shopping.

Here in Japan, land of the 20-year recession where talk of the economy being bad is about as original as talk of water running downhill, there’s a blanket sale on everything. Even normally stuck-up places like Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo have cut prices by a third or half, and apparently held training sessions on creating rapport with customers. The previously aloof clerks are now all over anybody walking in the door. Out with the armed guards; in with the greeters. They hang handbags on women’s arms and show no less than three times how affordable the price has become. I saw one clerk pull down the boring bag that used to run what top-line bags run now, but “look how much more you get for the same price these days. Oh, and did I already mention it’s half-price?”

Sunglasses are on sale. Shoes are on clearance with the clever tagline that if you buy one shoe you get the other free, and the pair is half-off to boot. Restaurants are throwing coupons at everybody. Digital cameras, iPod docking stereos, and flat screen TVs are priced to go.

It’s easy to get the best seat in a movie theater because all showings are nearly private. With little snow this year — on top of the economy being even worse than usual — ski resorts will almost come pick you up and take you home again if you’ll just buy a one-day pass. Show some hesitation and they’ll throw in lunch.

If you have a wish list, now’s a great time to get working on it.

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