Sale: saddest 4-letter word in SG

Today is the start of the Great Singapore Sale! The 20th year and for all of two months some more: from May 31 to July 28!

As if that’s not enough, there’s the online flash sale unaffiliated to the GSS – the “Bigger Better Sale” – now on at

Frankly, I don’t know why any retailer bothers to join any national sale campaign even if its billed as prestigious, considering that anyone who ventures out of his home can always find several sales on at any time of the year.

Go to any mall, national or neighbourhood and there’s bound to be one or a combination of these sales going on:

Anniversary sale; opening sale; closing down sale; clearance sale; moving out sale; re-location sale; special sale; renovation sale; half-price sale; everything must go sale etc..

Then there are the sales associated with festive occasions: pre-Chinese New Year/Christmas/Hari Raya/Holiday/National Day sale; post-Chinese New Year/Christmas/Hari Raya/Holiday/National Day sale;  etc

You name it, there’s a sale to mark the occasion or a reason. Why, there’s even a website dedicated to tracking the perennial sales in town at

The only difference between shops selling the same stuff that’s on sale appears to be the size of their discount.

Some say “up to 70% off”; others up the ante with “up to 90% off”. Yet others say “50% off for the 2nd item”; or 30% off for X,Y or Z item. The idea is to give the shopper the impression he is getting a discount off the regular price, whatever that might be.

Do shops mark up the prices be4 they bring them down? Is the discount based on the intrinsic value of an item?

I always wonder why shop-keepers employ such tactics or strategies, especially jewellery shops.

What does it say of the diamonds and other gems they sell if they can knock off as much as 90% to bring the customer through the door?

In fact, I find the sales that go on all year round demean that shops and the brands they sell.

Twenty years ago the Great Singapore Sale might indeed be the sale worth waiting for.

Not any more. Who wants to wait when there’s a sale yesterday, today, tomorrow, ad infinitum.

Perhaps it’s time for GSS to do a Singa? And bow out!


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