A few years ago Columbia Sportswear introduced a workout tee-shirt with, what they called, “Sweat Activated Cooling”. The premise is that, when you sweat in the tee it gets cooler. I had to have one! I went to one of the local sporting goods chains and found them on the rack. I thought to myself “YES!” gonna get me a couple of these. Then I looked at the price tag. $65 dollars and change! You’ve gotta be kidding me! There was no way I was about to pay that much for a tee-shirt, no matter what it’s made of. So I wrote Columbia off for a long time, like I have Carhartt, as a company a little to proud of their stuff for my budget.
But then the North Atlanta Outlets opened in Woodstock a few minutes from where we live. I’m not much on shopping but when you’re married, and a new outlet mall opens close to you, a visit is inevitable. Maybe I should say unavoidable.
I don’t think I’ve been to an outlet mall that didn’t have a fairly large Columbia Store. Ours is no exception. I’m jaded. I admit it. I don’t believe most outlet stores offer good deals so I entered our Columbia Store not expecting much in the way of deals. I was wrong and pleasantly surprised.
I’m able to find all sorts of PFG shirts, pants, and shorts at a fraction of regular prices. The same goes for their pullover golf shirts, and dress shirts. I’ve even gotten things like water bottles, a backpack, and boots there for great deals. To be honest, I get Columbia so cheap sometimes I can’t say “no” to stuff I don’t really even need.
And here is how you do it…
First of all, they will usually have some racks with clothes marked down under $20. That’s a good place to start but it gets better. Much better
They also will have several racks of stuff marked down an additional amount from what is on the tag. 20% is usually the least. It is not uncommon at all to find clothes marked down 80% as well. Let’s say you find a really nice PFG shirt with $35.99 on the tag but the rack says that you can take another 60% off. Now it’s a little over $14.00. However, when you’re military or public safety they give you ANOTHER 10% off. Now the shirt is a little under $13.00. Keep in mind you can often find the discount at 80% off!
If you’re really looking for bargains or are a super tight wad who needs a halligan bar to open their wallet, check this out.
On holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day your discount will go up to 15%. It actually might be 20% I can’t remember exactly. Regardless, it’s more. On top of that, they will usually give you a card for another $20 off of a $100 purchase on your next visit.
My last visit to the Columbia Store in Hilton Head I found a long sleeved camo shirt on the rack at 60% off. I got my 10% discount. I paid $12.78 for it!
Last year I was at our Woodstock store and I noticed they had backpacks for a deep discount. I wound up paying about $50 for the thing and I love it. It’s small but I use it more like an overnight bag than I do a backpack. The thing is loaded with pockets and places to put stuff.
I asked the manager at the Hilton Head store if the products were defective in some way or if they were “seconds”. Some of them are she said. They will have a stitch out of place or something small. I haven’t noticed anything wrong with anything I’ve bought though. Often, according to her, there will be a shipment of clothing in a wrong color or style to a regular Columbia Store. Let’s say they ship 3 dozen shirts to a store in Canada but they had ordered brown instead of orange. Those shirts get shipped to an outlet store.
Each store seems to be different regarding when they get their shipments too. Woodstock told me that they get their new stuff on Wednesdays. Hilton Head said they get new shipments daily. Maybe it has to do with the volume they sell. I don’t know. Regardless, if you want first pick then find out from the store where you’re shopping.
So, yes, you can afford Columbia of a firefighter’s salary. I’ve got drawers full of sweat activated tee-shirts and a closet full of PFG shirts now.
If Carhartt would just lighten up now!
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