Sunday, July 27, 2008

How to be a Drugstore Maven.

There's just something about the drugstore that soothes my soul.

Is it the shiny white floors? The florescent lights? The soft rock pumping from the speakers? I've always had this love affair with drug stores. I have vivid memories as a child going to Thrifty's with my grandma and grandpa, buying me a coloring book and an ice cream cone (And for the record: Thrifty's Ice Cream is still the best friggin' ice cream in the world. Thank goodness for Rite Aid!). Or maybe a trip over to Sproutz Ritz (I think that's the name, this chain is long gone) for french fries (There was a cafe in the back) and then taking a gander at the fish tanks (Yep. They sold gold fish and the like). Maybe it's just a combination of childhood memories, paired with my love of cosmetics now, that makes me love and appreciate a good drugstore.

While I don't make drugstore trips for coloring books anymore (um, but I still make ice cream runs, haha), I kind of take my drugstores seriously when it comes to cosmetics. Some people are kind of...stuck up (?? I know, I know, that sounds so harsh) when it comes to drugstore cosmetics. I know it doesn't have the allure of a Chanel counter or the trendyness of a MAC counter or pretty packaging like Dior. Really, some things just don't need fancy packaigng if the product is good. Ever heard of not juding books by it's cover? That's the frame of mind when you try out drugstore cosmetics.

This entry I cooked up is here to give you some tips for your next drugstore visit, whether it's your first venture or you're already a drugstore maven.

Tip #1: Give yourself some time.
Drugstores aren't one to be rushed with (When looking for makeup, that is. If you're in a need for a bottle of Kaopectate ASAP then by all means make a mad dash!). Give yourself an afternoon when you don't have anything pressing to attend to. Sunday's are my favorite because that's when the freshest stock is put out, and usually when the new advertisements and specials for the week are taken into effect. Which brings us to #2...

Tip #2: Know your ad.
Yes! Know it! Study it! Highlight! Make red circles with a sharpie! Being familiarized with that week's advert is probably one of the most important tips when it comes to the drugstore (and I'm not just when it comes to cosmetics). Going into the store knowing what's on sale gives you a better idea of what to look out for. It's also extremely helpful when there might be a marking/tagging or pricing error on a prodcut (See #5). Most stores have copies of the weeks ad right in the entrance of the store, so if you didn't have a chance to see it at home, take a moment to scan through it before looking around. Also, most stores have additional coupon "books" that usually run for the whole month (Example: Walgreens). These can be usually be found in the same place where the adverts are. I never used to pick these up, but now that I do, they will sometime have great deals on bath + body products and the occasional makeup deal (Again, Walgreens is the best example. They frequently have deals on L'Oreal in their coupon books).

Tip #3: Look out for the signs.
At Walgreens, they're orange. At Rite Aid, they're yellow. At Target, they're red. The clearance tag or sticker is like a four leaf clover. A beacon of light in a cloud of fog.You get a little glimmer of glee knowing that you're getting something at a lower price (At least, I do!). Looking out for clearance stickers is like a fun game of hide and seek, because they could be anywhere (See #4). When a brand is phasing out a certain product or collection, tags will usually be placed at it's display. If you visit a store frequently, take note on how long a collection stays out on the sleves. For example: I have a good number of Longs Drugs in my area, but they all keep the latest collections out for vary different amounts of time. One store will keep the display out, with no mark down, until there's an inch of dust settling on it. But, there's another Longs in another close-by town that rotates them pretty fast, so things go on clearance at a faster rate. Now, I'm not telling you to wait until a collection is on sale to get something, because once that clearance sticker is on it- it's gonna fly fast.

Tip #4: Search high and low.
When it comes to searching for discounted or clearanced cosmetics, it's important to expand the search to other regions of the store. While there might be clearanced items in the cosmetics department (See #3), many stores also have other sections of clearance. Often places are on the back ends (endcaps) of random aisles, or sometimes a whole aisle might be taken out for clearance items (Walgreens does this a lot). Make sure to check these areas, most of the time you might find some makeup hiding in there.

Tip #5: If needed: haggle.
I never have to pull out this tip unless it's really necessary. But, if you find yourslef in a position where there is a price difference of what's tagged on the shelf (or printed in the ad) compared to what is rung up- stand your ground. Grab another item that is the same discounted price, pull out the advert, or even take the assistant to the location where you found the item. Again, I never have to do this but I have had a few instances where an assistant just didn't believe me that an Isadora eye shadow single was for a buck something. Hell, if you have to, call the manager. Again, I never have to "haggle" and whenever I do run into a pricing discrepancy, the discounted price is always given. Another important tip: in some cases make sure to read the clearance tag itself (if looking at a display). Sometimes only certain colors or shades will be clearanced out. They will usually have which shade printed on the tag. Oh, another tip!: Ask if they honor other stores ads or do price comparisons! If two stores are having sales on the same item or brand, ask if they will honor the better deal. I've never done it myself, but I know others who have and it's worked ;) It won't hurt to ask!

Tip #5.5: Remember, you're not committed to your purchase.
Okay, I don't know why this is a ".5", but this is just another little tip. If one of the main reasons you are hesitant to try drugstore cosmetics is because you are afraid you won't get a good color match on a foundation or a blush may look horrid on you: remember, you can always return it! Mostly all drugstores have fantastic return policies when it comes to cosmetics. In my experience, Rite Aid has always been the best. But the others (Walgreens, Longs) are just as well.

Tip #6: Relax!
Kick back! Enjoy the soothing sounds of Sade and The Eagles! Get your blood pressure taken for free at one of those machines by the pharmacy! Like I mentioned at the beginning of this entry, going to the drugstore is like therapy, it's very soothing. In college I used to go to Longs or Rite Aid down the street after a stressing class and just chill. Not necessarily buying anything, but just looking. Drugstores have a certain vibe, and it's for a good reason; to be relaxing and casual a total 180 from a crowded, stuffy mall or department store.

Tip #7: Always end a drugstore visit with a candy bar and a fashion magazine.
Because it just feels right :) Or, if you are one of the lucky ones that live on the west coast and at a Rite Aid, end it with a scoop of Thrifty Ice Cream ;)

Do you have your own tip or trick when it comes to drugstore shopping?


T said...

Love this post!! I am a drugstore fiend, and I totally agree on the tips. Thanks!!

Adamgv said...

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Tanya Annette said...

You are so welcome, T!!

Anne @ said...

this is cute. i enjoyed reading it and I'll definitely keep note of it next time I make a visit at my local drugstore :)