Tip n°1: before facing the madness, go on a reconnaissance mission beforehand. Make the most of the last pre-sale days to visit your favourite boutiques and pick-out, and try on if necessary, the items you really like. Note where they were, the items, their price and size.
Tip n°2: the day before the sales, make a first selection. On the one hand, list the items you just have to have, on the other note those that can wait.
Tip n°3: prepare a battle plan! Read your notes and plan your route to make sure you spend as little time as possible in the crowds.
Tip n°4: prepare a two-stage plan. For example, visit uptown in the morning, break for lunch in the city centre or the Sablon, then visit downtown in the afternoon.
Tip n° 5: set aside an afternoon for the children and take them with you, even if it's a chore. If they don't try things on, it's easy to buy the wrong size and then have to go back to change things (as long as you're lucky enough to still find the items in the right size and colour!). Only go to shops selling kids clothes to avoid getting sidetracked.
Tip n°6: use the right weapons. Wear comfortable shoes (not stilettos) and simple clothes. The less layers you have to take off and the less buttons there are to undo when trying-on, the longer you'll be able to keep going.
Tip n°7: be patient! Set aside the really expensive items for the last days of the sales and go back when the shops are offering the best bargains: the kick you'll get when buying them will be even sweeter.
And lastly, relish your victory! Stéphanie Guillaume