Saturday, November 17, 2012

National Bookstore Warehouse Sale

I am usually one of those people who buy Christmas gifts throughout the year and just keep them in storage until it's time to wrap them. I get to save a lot of money (last minute desperate shopping is really expensive) and I get to shop for myself during the sales leading up to Christmas (so selfish, I know). Normally I buy gifts when I travel abroad so my gifts still get to be sort of unique. This year however I didn't get to travel at all because of my pregnancy for the first half of the year. Then Sofia arrived and traveling with a toddler and a newborn/infant doesn't sound so much fun. So by the first week of November I was already in panic mode because I haven't bought anything for anyone yet.

Then I read about National Bookstore's warehouse sale in their Quezon Avenue branch. At first I thought that they would just gather all the unsold items in their previous sales, but since I live barely 15 minutes away, I thought it wouldn't hurt to have a look-see. Boy, am I glad I did! The sale was amazing! The discounts were jaw-dropping and the selection was really good. Let's put it this way, the books were even cheaper than Book Sale prices and they were clean and brand new. Some were still even wrapped in plastic cover.

I arrived at the store around 3pm on its first day (Thursday). The check out line was really, really long by then and it was the first thing I saw when the elevator doors opened. A normal person would just have turned around and walked away. But I am not normal. I am a complete sucker for discounts and this was book heaven for me!

It took me less than 30 minutes to get more than 30 books, which I plan to give to about 18 people. That's 18 people checked off my Christmas list, ah-may-zing! So I looked for the end of the check out line and queued up. It took 30 minutes on the line for me to lose my patience. The line barely moved and the books were so heavy my arms were aching by that time. I looked for an alternative (while the nice person behind me saved my spot) and found that the cash lane was much, much shorter. So I looked at my haul, went down to the first floor (the sale was on the 4th floor) to withdraw the amount I needed and moved to the cash lane. There was 15 people before me. I stayed on the cash lane for about 45 minutes and I moved about a foot or so only. By that time I was running very low on patience. I checked to see what the hold up was and saw that the cashier was doing the receipts manually, as in she would copy each item's code on the receipt and add up the total on a desk calculator. Shocking! I realized then that it would take maybe 2-3 hours before my turn. Yikes! I didn't want to wait that long, but I wanted to buy the books so bad! Good thing I overheard a girl talk to a NBS employee about having her books stored and coming back for them on Saturday. So I went about having mine arranged for storage too. It took about 10 minutes to talk to a clerk and have my box of books stored. I told him that I would come back first thing Friday (today) morning.

This was my view of the entire place from the cash check out lane
I went back to NBS as soon as I dropped off Ally at school this morning. There were about 20 or so people already by the entrance by the time I arrived at 845, and based on their conversations (I am so usi, I know), most also came yesterday. The guard finally let us into the building at 915 but told us belatedly that the warehouse sale won't open until 10am.

Are you kidding me?!

All of the people there, me included, were outraged at this inconsiderate display of incompetence. Most of those who arrived first were senior citizens with very short tempers. The guard couldn't give us an explanation and it took forever before the manager faced us. Her explanation was that they closed up pretty late yesterday so they decided to open an hour later than scheduled. I understood that, but it boggled my mind that they didn't even put up any sign to inform anyone of the change. A lot of tempers flared, and I tried my best to keep calm and talk without raising my voice (the Amalayer incident was too fresh on my mind).

They blocked off the escalator going up to the fourth floor using a room divider
When they finally opened the fourth floor, main concern was my box of books which was stored the previous day. Thankfully, the clerk who helped me was on duty and helped me locate my box and bring it to the cashier for payment. I got and paid for my items in under 10 minutes. Yay!

I could have left already, but the neat piles of new books lured me back. I went one last round after I left my paid for items with the cashier, and picked up another 15 books. It was excessive, I know, but the prices were so cheap I felt almost guilty not to buy them. Thankfully, there was still no line at the check out counter and I was able to pay for my new haul stress-free.

With my two trips to the sale, I get to cross out 26 people on my Christmas list at a fraction of the budget. Yeazzzz! I was so happy I was practically skipping to the car!

My loot
The sale runs until Sunday evening. If you love books and have some extra time on your hands, I suggest you drop and check the sale out. It is definitely worth it.

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