I used to be the queen of budget shopping during my college days in Chennai. The place where I lived – Besant Nagar was and still is surrounded by export reject stores. Export reject? What’s that? These are stores that specialize in selling goods that have been rejected by big-name brands that get their clothes manufactured in India.
This means that you get labeled goods, which have only a minor defect – a stitch dropped, or incorrect sizing for rock-bottom prices.
I could walk into a shop with a Rs.100/- (less than 2 USD) note in my hand and walk out with 2-3 clothes that were better quality than what we could get in the big-name shops. I still have a pair of shorts that I picked up during my college days for Rs.20/- (30 cents). I used to live in those shorts during the Chennai summers, and still have it. It has aged better than me, I have to say 🙁 .
The thing though is this worked during the days when I was rail thin and when anything I picked up looked good on me. These days, sadly that is not the case. In addition, export reject shopping requires a lot of time and patience – going through bins, looking for sizes, searching for combinations, these days I just don’t have the energy.
However, this weekend I made an exception. Snubnose and I were meeting friends for lunch, when someone mentioned a teeny, tiny little store off Ali Azkar Road that had the most incredible bargains. Immediately, my bargain-shopping antenna went up and all of us made plans then and there to visit this place post lunch.
The shop called T2T was actually a small house filled with box fulls of stuff and once I entered I realized I really have gotten out of the habit of bargain basement shopping. There was just so much stuff to sort through. I also realized that I wouldn’t fit into even a quarter of those clothes there.
So very sensibly I shifted the focus to Snubnose, and it was so much fun. Practically everything she tried on looked perfect on her. With great difficulty we edited our haul to just these 4 things, and stumbled out into the sunlight a bit dazed with our unexpected shopping.
This crazy little place also had crates of mangoes for sale, which meant that all the clothes we got smelt of ripe mangoes. We really had to give the clothes a good wash at home to avoid Snubnose smelling like a ripe fruit.
So were the rates as reasonable as they used to be? Of course not, with inflation and all that, the prices weren’t rock-bottom but it was much cheaper than stuff in the regular stores. Also, the styles are more subdued – not the shiny, glittery, sequined, and branded things that make Snubnose look older than she actually is.
Just look at the detail in this butterfly print below – so sweet and innocent.
We had a great time. Do you love budget shopping? Which are your favorite haunts?