Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Santee Alley Cat

Ah Santee Alley. Located in downtown L.A.'s Fashion District, it's every Angeleno fashionista's bargain hunting mecca. If you can brave the too-close-for-comfort crowd, pickpocketers, catcalls from creepy men and stifling weather, this is the place to pick up anything fashion from knock-off Vuittons to trendy costume jewelry to of-the-moment shoes and clothing. It's essential to haggle with vendors to drop prices on your favorite finds, so make sure to brush up on your negotiating skills beforehand.

Here are a few tips for surviving The Alley:

1. Ask for the vendor's best price. Knock a few dollars off his/her number. Be prepared to walk away if he/she refuses to budge. The vendor will almost always drop their price or try to come to a reasonable agreement if you confidently do an about-face, just so they can make the sale. If this doesn't work, there's always the next vendor.

2. Remember there's nothing wrong with a little white lie. Example: There was a woven Bottega Veneta-inspired bronze bag I was dying to have. The Vendor #1 wouldn't budge from an absolutely ridiculous price, so I walked a few blocks to another store. I told Vendor #2 that a vendor up the street offered me the bronze bag for $22, could he do better? He looked surprised the bag (which was a new style) was going for that low, but eventually agreed to give it to me for $22. I then asked for a better price, so he lowered it to $21 without tax. Done and done! The Bottega bag was sold to yours truly and you know I've already paid Vendor #2 another visit to satisfy my purse craving! There's an amazing rich yellow slouchy bag calling my name...

3. Don't eat hot dogs from the food stands. Smell like heaven when they're frying, but it's food poisoning waiting to happen.

4. Zip up your bags, ladies! Pickpocketers frequent The Alley.

5. Don't ignore the side streets. More often than not, you can score better deals outside of the main drag. Jewelry stores on the outskirts slash their prices by 60%!!

6. If an item is slightly damaged, don't be afraid to ask for a discount. You'll get one.

7. Watch out for smelly, stagnant, garbage-riddled puddles. I know someone who tripped on a curb, losing a flip-flop and landing her foot in one. Ewwww.

8. Buy a cinnamon churro from the dudes at the end of Santee Alley. After all that smart shopping and cardio from walking, you deserve those sugary carbs!

I'm Lovin' it: All the outpouring of support for Hurricane Katrina victims. People from around the world, and especially in these United States of America, are really opening up their hearts to help those on the Gulf Coast. It's a beautiful thing to see. There are numerous ways to donate your money and/or services, so please take time to check out the Red Cross website at

I'm Over it: None today.


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