Yep, it's that time of year when all the stores in France have clearance sales that last a month and everyone goes freakin' nuts. This happens twice a year, once in January and again in August, and serves to make room for the next season's apparel.
Troyes is pretty well known in northern France for having a couple of outlet shopping centers and for good reason - they have some pretty well-known names doing business here and they offer their goods at well below retail cost.
It just so happens that I have been needing a new pair of jeans and I've put off the odious task of shopping for them for the last couple of months knowing that deep discount time was at hand. Since Les Soldes started Wednesday - a day when most kids are out of school and I'm sure chaos reigned supreme - I decided to take a chance on Thursday. Oh, but I should have known better. I arrived at the outlet center on my way into Troyes at 11:30, hoping folks would be getting a bit peckish by then, and all I found was a parking lot full of people who had all lost their minds. I actually saw two cars pointed at the same parking space and it looked like it was about to come to blows. I did one full turn of the parking lot and got the hell out of there. Happily, it will be much calmer in a couple of weeks, and while the best items will be gone, I'll be happy to pick over the remains at very deeply discounted prices.
Lucky for me, I had a backup plan, and drove around to the other side of town to a store that stocks fluffy-sized clothing. They also had racks after racks of clothes on sale, but after flicking through them and finding all the sizes in the wrong places, I gave up any hope of finding anything interesting and went on to the new collection, where after flicking through more disordered clothes, I finally found a couple pairs of jeans in my size. I quickly chose the most comfortable/least trendy (and I've got to commit to these jeans for a while) pair and ran outside while my sanity was still intact.
You may have noticed that I don't exactly find shopping to be a pleasurable pastime. This is partly my fault, as being a bit fluffier than I ought to be keeps me from wearing a lot of the clothes I'd like to wear. A lot of the problem is my short stature, and I haven't yet found anything like "petite" sizes here (which is awfully ironic if you ask me, but I digress), so clothes tend to hang on me like so many tents. While many stores offer a tailoring service, when you're as short as me they'd end up cutting away a whole other garment, so I can't see the point in it. Anyway, shopping in general is a pretty disheartening task but one must clothe oneself so I put myself through the paces from time to time.
The rest of the day went off alright. I even found a nice pair of shoes and they were half off to boot! Can you believe I hadn't bought shoes in a whole year? Considering Dad used to call me Imelda, that's showing quite a bit of restraint, if you ask me.