Ask the readers: your best (and worst) Winter sales bargains

13 January 2009

As we approach the halfway point of the year's longest month, financially speaking at least, it's time to reflect on where all your money has gone. Christmas 2008 saw plenty of high profile sales that grabbed the media's attention - but did talk of failing high street brands create expectations that went unfulfilled?

With the death knell sounding for the likes of Woolworths and Zavvi, did you expect more bargains than you found before Christmas? Did you drown in discounts on Boxing Day, and did you spend up on the plastic on January 2nd?

Which stores and companies offered the best deals in the Winter sales? Where did you genuinely get a bargain from? Which shops were all talk and no trousers, where the only savings to be found were on the vinyl signs outside? And are there any January sales still worth getting stuck into?

Let us know your favourite sales of the seasons, and the ones that let you down.

27 comments

  • Bill B.
    Got a Slingbox from PC World for £49.97... bargain! :)
  • speedski
    The annual Boxing Day 1/2 price fragrance sets at boots are always a pretty good bet, although this year was poorer than most. The 70% blu-rays at Woolworths are up there, as is the other half's jeans from New Look, marked up at £28 and scanned at the till a smidge over £11. Other than that, its all crap - especially the play.com and argos sales...
  • Mike H.
    My local takeaway must have had an offer on as I got free prawn crakers and a sachet of soy sauce, does that count?
  • MB
    Best - John Lewis Sony 32" KDL-32V4000 for £300 delivered (plus five year guarantee). Second best - returned wallet bought by wife for £22 from M&S before Xmas, bought two new wallets and a leather belt and still had change. Worst - just about everything else.
  • gidz
    The best part of the sales being so rubbish meant that I kept the money in my bank account!
  • Jaymzf
    Got a few bargains in Woolworths on their final day: Metal Gear Solid 4 and Civilisation for the PS3, Peep Show Series 5, 4 CDs, wrapping paper, a battery and two drinks all for less than £40. Nearly everywhere else has been absolutely rubbish for sales this year. I've still got a WHSmiths and HMV voucher from christmas, they're normally gone by the new year! Mike Hock - that's quality, I occasionally get free prawn crackers, but a sachet of soy sauce?!?!?! - that's pure luxury!
  • ZeroKool
    I've bougth nothing this year, worst sales ever and Boots gift sets have risen in price so much that they're not even worth purchasing at the 50% they're trying to flog them at. Hopefully the whole country will implode and we'll all go back to living in caves!
  • Bob
    The local whore was doing bareback at half price but then she's just discovered she's hiv+.
  • MB
    ZeroKool - I’ve bougth nothing this year, worst sales ever and Boots gift sets have risen in price so much that they’re not even worth purchasing at the 50% they’re trying to flog them at. I agree about Boots. As always, before Xmas 3 for 2. After christmas 50% off. Still not very good value. Only when they drop to 25% are they worthwhile.
  • acecatcher3
    think there should be an article itself bout this deal tbh. http://www.hotukdeals.com/item/316552/kfc-deal-of-the-century-only-12-99
  • ST
    80% off on last day of Woolies sale. Bought PlayTV and TopSpin 3 for my PS3 for a grand total of £22 bargain!! PlayTV retails for £60-£70 alone.
  • Liddle m.
    Off-topic but I will bore you regardless: Went abroad for the hols and got a few bargains in the souks: examples are an intricate hand-woven wool runner (rug) £40, a very large plant/small tree pot of traditional design, £14 (5 ft tall, 6 ft circumference; needless to say it stayed in the country), a small collection of hand-held mirrors framed in beaten copper, 80p each, and a set of three large hand-woven dyed baskets with leather handles, £12. All high quality items and on average 25% of the seller's starting price. THE GAME OF BUYING CHEAP (WARNING: Stereotypes abound ) My advice from several years experience as a foreigner in the souks is be prepared to walk away with a wave and smile after you have haggled hard and been refused at the price you are willing to pay (never start at this price though - to save the seller's face, you must increase your offer along the way). Most times the seller will call you back, begrudgingly accepting your measly offer, but only if he is sure it's a serious one and that you are willing to go elsewhere for the same thing. But he also needs to like you, and the bartering process will betray your true character. An 'honest approach' to bartering will convince him. He can smell bullshit a mile away because he is king of it, so being honest to him means you can spot and laugh off (respectfully) some of the ridiculous claims he'll make along the journey of getting you to loosen your bitter wallet. Laugh you must, but not with the arrogance of a foreigner, quite tricky when you ARE a foreigner who is determined to 'beat' him down to your price. My strategy is to be hard but humble. Hard by questioning the bullshit and not letting him walk all over you; humble by repeating your need to be hard because of your financial circumstance. He'll know it's crap, but he'll also know you understand the game... Your real enemy throughout this process is the army of stupid tourists who have come before you and paid outrageously inflated prices for their 'exotic' souvenirs. In short, you must convince your proud seller that both he and you are the smart ones (not an easy task if you are as dumb as me): "Those stupid tourists, you must make a fortune from their naivete! And to think they sign up to websites back home which convince them they are 'deal anarchists'! Hah! If only I had your cunning, I'd be fleecing them too, my friend!"
  • Mike H.
    Usually they double their prices, so anything up to 50% of the asking price is a good price. If you paid 25% of the starting price, then you've been 'done' and the seller got the good deal, as soon as he clocked you he knew you'd got money and wouldn't go past 25%, too bad.
  • Liddle m.
    Thanks Mike. I will offer double asking in future, which should settle things in my favour without any arsing about. It's a win-win.
  • Mike H.
    That's right Lil, offer double... numpty Start @ a ridiculous price like 75/80% of the asking, then add a couple of Dirhams, and show him the cash, (without dropping the massive wad you have in your purse) and say "shit dude, this is all I have, we are in economic meltdown and I am trying to buy 10 Mosque shaped alarm clocks for eBay from your robbing ass!" That should sort him out, he might not be able to drive his Merc home that night but he'll be able to catch the Limo taxi.
  • Lam
    The one that let me down and is currently running is the Play.com - "Thousands of DVD's from as little as £1.99" Thing is - there has and still is only ONE DVD for £1.99 called Trekkies 2. I think claiming you have thousands from as little as £1.99 is really taking the pi** Yeah yeah I know its says FROM but come off it - only ONE at that price? Shame really as I'm usually a huge fan of Play.com ps: on their front page scroll down to the DVD Clearance From £1.99 advert, it will take you see the "thousands" from as little £1.99 Dang!!! this has really pickled my goat this morning.
  • Liddle m.
    Then I'll offer triple asking, but will keep quintuple in reserve in case he finds an extra alarm clock.
  • Lam
    sorry re: the Play.com post just now. The £1.99 DVD Clearance link is on the DVD sale page, scroll down on the left. http://www.play.com/DVD/DVD/6-/Campaign.html?campaign=6178&cid=7063103
  • Mike H.
    "
  • Bob
    Play are being told off again about rrp's by trading standards for the second time in a year (they keep inflating the rrp), so I'd take anything they say with a pinch of salt.
  • Cal
    Fable 2 and Fallout 3 - £20 each =)
  • Lam
    I agree that Play.com do often have some awesome deals - like that Sandisk 16GB USB pendrive for under 15 bucks - unreal price since Argos and others wanted near 70 bucks for the same one. But when they pull you in with an offer of " thousands of DVD's from £1.99" and then only offer you ONE at that price - well it makes me click elsewhere
  • Alistair
    Agree with those above = play.com is good all year so sales seem lacklustre. Boots is good but this year was a little poor. Judging by my local Boots everyone is waiting on the prices falling further as they still have shelves full of gear, not that I've been checking, OK well maybe every second day.
  • Sam
    A bit of a surprise here - Currys. I got a load of cheap games from there a couple of days after christmas, such as Beautiful Katamari for a fiver, Mass Effect for £10, Mercury Meltdown PSP for £5 and Ridge Racer 7 for £10. They did try to sell me a VGA cable for £25 though, so not all was bargainous!
  • Darren
    2 of the funniest Discounts I have ever had are from Next Directory, First was a table and chair set, paid a £1000 and was expecting delivery in 6 weeks, 10 weeks passed, they gave me the delivery date, which I couldn't do, they offered a new date in 4 weeks, which was unacceptable. so I asked that they call me when delivering, they never did but luckily my mother in law who had a key noticed them pulling up and let them in. Got home, happy but angry at the same time, I called customer service, usual complaint and they asked what they could do, I asked for a full refund AND keep the table and chairs, never going to happen, 2 days later I got an apology letter with a cheque for £800!! Second was a fireplace from Next, the delivery guy didnt come in a Next directory van, Asking why, he said they bought them from Internet fires direct, which was a lot cheaper by £300! and they deliver them on behalf of Next... but please dont tell next this!, stuff him, I called and explained the story... 2 days later, another apology letter and a full refund!!! Life is sweet sometimes!!
  • Mike H.
    Next on Deathwatch, NEXT
  • Where B.
    [...] their money at your expense. Keep them coming, folks. Meanwhile, thanks to Darren who told about his recent experiences with Next: I bought a fireplace, but the delivery guy didn’t come in a Next directory van. He [...]

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