polo ralph lauren boots Driving for a bargain

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Only one store stood out from the pack and made the trip worthwhile; Restoration Hardware Outlet. In retrospect, this is the only reason we felt it was worth the gas to make a special trip north.

We found the store to be welcoming and stylish. It had everything from sofas to soap; you could really outfit an entire space from this one location. With prices ranging from 25 percent to 75 percent off what you’d see in regular retail stores, this outlet is a clearance center in the truest sense of the word (not always the case at other outlet shops we visited).

Keep in mind that Restoration Hardware’s offerings tend to run from mid to high end, so the discounts offered don’t always lead to the most inexpensive prices, but they make the value more attractive.

We appreciated the stylish warehouse feeling and the very friendly and helpful staff.

We walked the rest of the mall to see what other treasures could be unearthed. A quick stop into the revealed a compact but nicely merchandised bedding and linens department. This merchandise was off season, but the same kinds of deals could be had during any typical White Sale at Macy’s (without using the gas and in season, too).

Other stores we visited at the mall were Mikasa and Le Creuset. We were surprised to see that the true clearance departments were small and not always obvious. Again, you could find some of these same deals during a seasonal sale in town.

In general, we were disappointed in the overall home decor selection and of the lack of true bargains to be had at this mall, except Restoration Hardware.

First stop in this direction was Macy’s , just south of Westfield Southcenter mall in Tukwila. We found a fraction of the size and offerings that many of us remember from its former location, there were still some good deals to be had.

Easily, half the floor space is dedicated to area rugs. A combination of discontinued styles, past season and special purchase there are rugs for almost every budget here.

The other half of the store is filled with a standard fare of sofas, chairs, dining tables and case goods. Although you can’t be very choosy when it comes to fabric options, if you need a cheap place to sit, you can find it here.

Interestingly, we got a glimpse into the quality of some “first quality” high end merchandise.

We found a designer branded dining table marked down from $3,000 to $999. However, upon close inspection of the damaged portion of the base, we discovered that the table was nothing more than thin veneer over particleboard. It wasn’t even constructed of solid wood!

This was a large disappointment especially if you assumed that paying the higher price (especially for a designer brand) gave you better quality.

In our book, even at the highly discounted price, it was no bargain. This is a great illustration of the need to understand what you are buying and that price and quality are not always proportionally related.

The Tukwila area is peppered with many bargain shopping opportunities. Not all are clearance stores, but many are discount oriented. One such store we unearthed was Sansaco Home Furnishings. Short on the gracious shopping experience, Sansaco is a dimly lit warehouse chock a block full of bargain furniture.

As Tukwila is a destination for furniture shopping, it’s worth mentioning that most larger retail outlets usually have a clearance area in their own standard stores.

A good example is , which has a good size clearance department featuring slightly damaged or discontinued items. The trick is to shop the stores you’d normally go to and make a beeline for the back. Be prepared to buy on the spot, since merchandise moves quickly.

The good news about Tukwila is that it’s stuffed with options; the bad news is that you have to drive everywhere and that can be exhausting. Pack your patience!

We needed a little fun, and so we stopped in at Ross for a home decor pick me up. It took about three minutes to realize this would be a recommendation low on our list messy merchandising, poor selection and chaotic atmosphere. Don’t bother.

We got our fix, however, at two other stores offering home accessories and your occasional small furniture item: Marshall’s and Tuesday Morning. Being dedicated shoppers, we visited all three Marshall’s in the greater Seattle area and believed the North End location had the best selection. All were well lit, well merchandised and well priced.

What really stood out at Marshall’s were pillows, pillows, pillows. All sizes, shapes and unbeatable prices! If you are looking for pillows, this should be your first stop.

Now imagine Marshall’s, then remove the clothing and double up on everything else, and you have Tuesday Morning. There’s a limited furniture selection, but extensive collections of linens and other housewares, both decorative and functional.

(If there isn’t a Marshall’s nearby, drop into . It is owned by the same company, and you’ll find a similar merchandise mix.

There are deals to be had, but you need to be prepared to buy on the spot, even if the item you discovered wasn’t what you were shopping for. We call this “Have a plan and be flexible”.

Quality and price are not always synonymous. We saw well made items that were inexpensively priced and poorly constructed things that cost too much.

Finally, there is no single bargain destination that can be all things. It requires time and effort to find a true bargain, and there are many deals to be had in our own backyard.
polo ralph lauren boots Driving for a bargain