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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Your need-to-know guide on surviving the Dubai super sale

A sale like this needs to be approached with a steady hand and finely honed plan

The 3-day shopping sale will return from November 22-24. Courtesy The Dubai Mall 
The 3-day shopping sale will return from November 22-24. Courtesy The Dubai Mall 

Should you decide to forgo the F1 festivities, the only real question this weekend is whether or not you’ll be rolling up your sleeves, getting your elbows out and wading into the frenzy that is Dubai’s three-day super sale.

Running until Saturday, the sale is promising up to 90 per cent off at 1,500 outlets around the city. This includes high fashion such as Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, high-street brands, from Marks & Spencer to Lululemon, homeware from Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn, and beauty products from the likes of Mac and Nars. That is a whole lot of savings. But it’s also the potential makings of months-worth of buyer’s remorse.

A sale like this needs to be approached with a steady hand and finely honed plan. At the best of times, a sale is a devious, insidious thing. It makes you think that if you don’t get those ridiculously high, unwearable heels, you will spend a lifetime regretting it. It turns normal, civilised shoppers into a feral mob, circling menacingly as you try on those aforementioned shoes, ready to pounce if you make the mistake of leaving them unattended for more than a second or two. It ignites a senseless sense of competitiveness: “My shoes; I’ll fight you to the death for them, even though I’m not sure I really like them and they clearly make my calves look fat. I’m going to buy them just to make sure you can’t.”

Sales also have an uncanny knack of creating perceived value where there is absolutely none. There’s that rising sense of panic as you wander what bargains you are missing out on as you spend 45 minutes standing in line waiting to pay for the only Maje dress you could find in your size. Purchases are increasingly fuelled by a fear of missing out, turning the whole process into a fraught, exhausting one.

You can leave a sale like this feeling incredibly smug, or incredibly stupid. Everybody likes to feel like they have cheated the system in some way – and paying 90 per cent less for something that will bring you genuine joy is immensely satisfying. Paying anything for something you will never use, on the other hand, will just make you feel like a mug. One technique is to browse first and after you see something you like, walk away. If you are still thinking about it an hour later, go back. Otherwise, let it be. If it’s gone when you get back, take a karmic view of things – it just wasn’t meant to be. You will not spend a lifetime regretting it, I promise.

Interestingly, studies show that we are more likely to shop compulsively when we are with friends, but less likely when we are with relatives, so choose your shopping partner wisely this weekend. Try and work out what you actually need before you set off.

Do you have a favourite brand or designer that you constantly covet but cannot, under normal circumstances, justify the investment? Are there staples that are genuinely missing from your wardrobe? How much can you really afford to spend? These are all things to consider in the hours it will take you to find a parking spot at The Dubai Mall at any point this weekend.

I’ll see you there.

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Read more of Selina's thoughts:

From Dubai to Abu Dhabi: some lessons learnt on a long commute

Let’s not be blasé about the range of opportunities Dubai has to offer

Missing out on family milestone events. Is this the real expat tax?

Two performances of 'Swan Lake' show how Dubai's cultural scene has found its feet

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