It's that special time of year in France when everyone's back from visiting family, the galette des rois graces the windows of every boulangerie, the New Year's resolutions are in full force, and les soldes begin to take over your life.
Les soldes are a semi-annual phenomenon in France when almost everything in almost every single store, goes on sale. The dates are set by the government and dérogations, or special requests have to be made to change the dates for your particular store or region due to extenuating circumstances. For example, one of the French regions close to Belgium requested a dérogation to change their soldes dates so that they could compete equally with the Belgium sale dates! This is serious, governmental stuff mes amis.
Some people live for the soldes. You'll often hear people saying, "Oh j'adore this coat - but I'll wait for les soldes." Copain is guilty of this on a regular basis. I, however, am not. My reasons are three-fold:
1. I want the coat now.
2. The coat is probably useful now and probably won't be when it's time for les soldes.
3. When the coat is en solde, let's be honest, are they really going to have the exact same one that I wanted two months ago, in my size, in perfect condition? Probably not.
And so, if I find it and love it (and can afford it), I buy it right then - not when it's les soldes.
On the other hand, if I simply happen to find a coat during les soldes that I do love, of course I buy it - les soldes are a great time to stock up! I'm just not the kind of person who can regulate my spending and love for clothing based on dates set by the French government.
Leave it to me to completely forget about les soldes this year. I was biking home from work on Tuesday night and all of the shopkeepers were outside, applying SOLDES stickers to their windows. Ah oui, les soldes... j'avais completement oublié!
Les soldes started on Wednesday, the 11th of January. By the time I got off work, the streets were full of beautiful people and their shopping bags - Gérard Darel, Biscotte, Zara, Les Petites, Muji, Jonak...I wanted those shopping bags. I wanted to shop. I needed to shop. Why was I on a Velib, on my way to the grocery store?! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
You see, this is what les soldes do to you. They get under your skin, they obsesses you, all you can think about is getting a great deal - even if it's something you didn't really need or want in the first place! You only have this amazing pair of boots in size 40? Well, I'm usually a 39, but I'm sure with an extra Dr Scholls shoe insert, they will fit perfectly!! See what I mean?
After spending your life savings on Christmas and Hanukkah gifts, les soldes make you spend more. It's completely impossible to avoid them - as I type this, Copain is at Zara for the second time this week and I am having withdrawals knowing that les soldes are going on and I am in my pjs, missing everything! It's a horrible, horrible cycle that clearly renders me helpless and feeds the relentless consumerism I so wish I was strong enough to avoid.
Damn you soldes.