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In my line of work one of the most frequently asked questions from friends and acquaintances is “How much discount do you get?”  They may not remember my name, they sure don’t have the faintest idea (or intention to learn) of what I do in the company, but they will always remember to raise this question – sometimes – more than once.

I actually don’t mind since I would do exactly the same if I’m in the others’ shoes.  Everyone loves bargains, and if these bargains apply to the brands we carry, you can expect to see mini-riots around our neighborhood.  Depending on the rules of the specific brands, getting the entry tickets is a skillful art itself.  What they have to understand, however, is that staff sales are not to be taken for granted, even for us.

Being a pseudo-ambassador for the brands I’d always keep an eye on items that suit my close friends.  For others, they will just have to trust my taste, particularly on sales that ban all guests, and yes, even my own cellphone.

So you get the drill.  For these so-called maximum security sales, you feed me with your likes, dislikes and budget, and you have to depend on my judgement.  If you don’t trust me, I will not be bothered.  I have no idea what merchandise is available, and if you decide to be a pain in the ass, you will be better off without me.

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And here you go.  Top facts about staff sales.  (These facts will self-destruct in 10 seconds)

  1. Only staff employed by the brands directly have ongoing purchase discounts.  Group staff are invited to off-season sales only with leftover stock.  Discounts of the former is lower.  For the latter, it can range from 80 to 90% off.  Sample sales are often only in model sizes and may be worn / used / photographed so the bargains are always bigger.  Be selective in queuing for sample sales.  The good stuff is always grabbed by the brand staff in advance unless you believe you have a model figure which outshines everyone.
  2. Hierarchy always exists.  The order always goes like this: Brand Senior Management – Brand Management – Brand Everyone Else – Business Unit Everyone – Group Senior Management – Group Management – Group Everyone Else.
  3. What about guests you ask?  Well it depends on who you know in the hierarchy in the above, and it very much depends on the policies of specific brands.
  4. You have no idea what’s on offer in off-season sales, until you set foot in one.  Asking “what’s available” is just dumb.
  5. No pain no gain.  The queues are endlessly long, and the sales are always in office hours.  I have seen one time 4 more queues once you thought you have passed through registration.  It is far from a luxury shopping experience.  If you can’t at least take a day off, don’t ask your friends to bring you in as guest.
  6. Simple because number of guests invited per staff is limited.
  7. Certain maximum-security sales are for staff only.  No cellphones, no messages, no pictures, nothing.  Limited time, locked environment.  And yes, there is a limit of how many items we can buy as well.
  8. No returns, no gift wrapping, no warranty, no repairs, no alteration, nothing (even for watches & jewelry).  Some items are marked and some packaging is removed to avoid reselling.  Buy at your own risk.
  9. Some sales will slash prices further on their second or third day.  Prices, sizes or availability, your decision.  Stop whining, you cannot win all.
  10. It’s a benefit, not a right.  Be grateful.  No complaints.  Remember, brands can always shred their items.  Cash versus prestige, they will always pick the latter.

Happy shopping!

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