Archive for the 'Shopping' Category

C’est les Soldes !

June 27, 2012
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“Soldes: Day One / ‘I remain Zen.'”
This funny illustration of the first day of “Les Soldes” was created by my friend Flavie Solignac, one of the many fine and talented people who I somehow have the good fortune to be surrounded with.
You can check out more of Flavie’s work here.


C’est les soldes! 
– The sales are on!
les soldes the sales
tout petit – really small; really little; tiny
un tout petit budget – a tight budget
fringues – (familiar) threads, as in “clothes” (a more dated translation would be “glad rags”)
la période de soldes – sales period
une vitrine – store window
se bagarrer – (familiar) to duke it out, to fight
une bagarre – (familiar) a fight
une bonne affaire – good deal, bargain
faire la queue – to line up
un long moment – a good long while
vous encaisser – ring up your purchase(s), or ring your purchase(s) up for you (“encaisser quelqu’un” means to ring up a purchase for someone)
se fringuer – (familiar) to deck yourself out, to dress up
électromenager – (plural) electrical domestic or household appliances
un bon rapport qualité-prix – good value for money
faire du lèche-vitrinewindow shop (literally “to lick the store windows”)
une queue – lineup
la caisse – the cash register
faire des économies – to cut corners, to save money
la première démarquethe first markdown ; “les soldes” in France generally involve several markdowns, with bigger discounts as you go along

******


It’s the first day of the summer soldes in Paris!

I’m on a tout petit budget at the moment and therefore not really in the market for new fringues, so I had completely forgotten about the upcoming période des soldes until I was walking home last night and passed a few vitrines that had already put up their signage in anticipation of The Big Day.

If my experience with last year’s soldes is any indication, tonight after work, I imagine, women will be flocking to the likes of BHV, Printemps, Maje, and various other boutiques to se bagarrer over les bonnes affaires, and snatch up the choice items they’ve been carefully staking out over the last few weeks. If you’re planning on joining the fray, prepare yourself to faire la queue un long moment with other impatient shoppers, though if you’re lucky, there’ll be extra staff on hand to vous encaisser. After all, whether you’re looking to se fringuer or just pick up some électroménager, the période des soldes is always a good opportunity to get un bon rapport qualité-prix.

If you’re curious about how “the sales” work in France (they’re government-regulated!), I wrote a lengthy post on them last year, explaining the whole, complicated process.

As for me, I think I’ll just faire du lèche-vitrine and avoid the long queues at the caisses. I’m hoping to do a little travelling come fall, so I need to faire des économies.  Of course, that said, it’s only the première démarque—we’ll see how long my resolve lasts!

Happy shopping!

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Going Once, Going Twice… Soldes!

July 24, 2011


un trois quart
a three-quarter (in this case, a three-quarter length coat)
la période de soldessales period
faire les magasins – to go shopping or tour the stores; literally translated: “to do the stores”
les soldes the sales
les soldes d’été – the summer sales
les soldes d’hiver – the winter sales
une foire d’empoigne – free-for-all
une bonne affaire – good deal
faire des folies dans les magasins – to go on a shopping spree
les riches – the rich, the wealthy
(la) première démarque – first markdown
(la) deuxième démarque – second markdown
(la) troisème démarque – third markdown
(la) dernière démarque
soldé(e)
– on sale
faire les soldes – to shop the sales
j’ai fait un peu les soldes – I shopped the sales a little
se faire plaisir – to treat oneself; (nous faire plaisir – to treat ourselves)
la crise
 – literally “the crisis”; French shorthand for the current economic crisis 

******

Last Saturday, the sales started,” my friend Julien wrote me last January. “I bought two suits, four shirts and ties, a coat (un trois quart) and a pair of shoes to be even more elegant than I was.”

J’ai besoin d’un nouveau paire de baskets et quelques trucs pour l’été,” my friend Anne mentioned to me last month, while we were waiting in line for an event at the Palais Brongniart. “Mais j’attends les soldes.” (“I need a new pair of sneakers and some things for the summer, but I’m waiting for the sales.”)

Santa’s not the only one who’s making his list and checking it twice. Parisians do it too and not just at Christmas. That’s because twice a year, every January and June, it’s the période de soldes in France and all over Paris, savvy shoppers in search of a bargain get out their wish lists, put on their comfiest shoes and brave the crowds to faire les magasins.

Unlike in North America, sales in France are strictly legislated. (For a culture known for its love of flaunting the rules, I am discovering, the French sure have a lot of them.)  Stores in France are not allowed to hold sales anytime they want. Instead, they are limited to two annual designated “sales periods” that are known as les soldes: five weeks beginning the last Wednesday in June for the soldes d’été, and five weeks beginning the second Wednesday in January for the soldes d’hiver.* If you’re Canadian, it’s the equivalent of five solid weeks of Boxing Day sales. If you’re American, it’s like five weeks of Black Friday.

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