With news that Chanel is increasing the prices on its signature handbags again—no, seriously, it happens every six months or so—it’s nice to hear some retailers are still trying to stay on the consumer’s good side.
Chanel’s reasoning behind the price escalation seems to be the fashion house’s end game: Too many people were buying Chanel. So, instead of being like the somewhat-reasonable Louis Vuitton, the brand decided to become even more exclusive, making its items more unattainable, more mythical, more sought-after . . . not much different from luxury-leather-goods holy grail Hermès. And so it goes.
Meanwhile, while not as high-end as, say, Chanel and Hermès, many popular storefronts are now starting to offer exclusive discounts to customers. The only thing is? You’re going to have to look for them.
While students in the United Kingdom have long enjoyed discounts from favorite retailers, we’re starting to finally follow suit stateside.
For students, the Ralph Lauren-owned Club Monaco chain offers a 20 percent discount. J. Crew and hipper, younger sister brand Madewell (which has yet to make its way to Orange County) offer their own discounts at 15 percent. Banana Republic also has a 15 percent discount. Just bring your valid student ID cards to these retailers and show ’em off while checking out.
While there’s no TopShop storefront here on the West Coast, shoppers can still use a Student Advantage Card for online purchases at topshop.com. The Student Advantage Card (studentadvantage.com) is the greatest thing collegians never knew about: For a $20 annual fee, they can receive access to discounts to all sorts of stores and services, such as Amtrak, Target.com, AMC Theaters, American Airlines, Greyhound, Hotels.com, Macys.com, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile and more. The upfront cost may sound like a bit much, but it’ll pay off by the end of the year—on those mobile phone bills alone.
And for those of you whose college years are well behind you, J. Crew and Banana Republic both extend their in-store discounts to educators at 15 percent. Stores such as Ann Taylor Loft have exclusive sign-up programs for teachers. Visit teachers.anntaylorloft.com to start receiving special offers, including 15 percent off every time you shop.
And the last tip I have to offer?
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Before purchasing anything—I mean anything—do a quick Google search. Craving some fake (but delicious) Chinese food for lunch? A simple search reveals buy-one-entrée-get-one-free coupons for Pick Up Stix. Another search, and I have a discount code for free shipping from Gap.com.
Remember: Don’t be afraid to ask the cashier if there’s a special discount for any circumstance—student, educator, AAA, etc. AAA discounts aren’t just limited to theme parks and zoos—they also extend into the health-care field, with a 24 percent discount at LensCrafters and nationwide pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens, Target and Rite Aid.
This column appeared in print as "Nicer Pricers."