Outlet Mall – Wonderland or Wasteland?

Outlet Mall – Wonderland or WastelandIn the last few decades, the outlet mall has become a fixture on the landscape of many cities, towns, and metropolitan areas. Are they really all that they promise? Can you really get deals like you would not be able to find anywhere else? Or, are they just a way for manufacturers to capture a little more revenue on products that were not good sellers in the first place for good reason? The truth of the matter may lie somewhere in between the two extremes. You can find some really good deals at an outlet mall that you may not be able to find anywhere else. You can also find some products that really aren’t what you would spend your hard-earned money on in any circumstance.

Function In The Marketplace

Outlets can perform an important function in our marketplace. They provide a place for manufacturers to sell their discontinued and closeout products directly to the public without the added expense of going through a middleman. An outlet mall allows shoppers to look at a variety of different discounted products from clothing to stationery without traveling from store to store. You can get high-quality and high-end products at anywhere from 30 to 70 percent off of regular retail prices and sometimes even more. An outlet mall may feature manufacturers like Gap, OshKosh, and even Farberware. You can furnish your home, clothe your family, and outfit your office with products you find at an outlet shopping center.

With the advancements in technology you can even find a “virtual” outlet mall online. There are sites that offer outlet pricing on nearly every type of product on the market today and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your favorite desk chair. Sometimes they offer special deals on shipping multiple products, or discounts for first time or “valued” customers. To find a site like this, all that you need to do is to enter “outlet mall” in your search engine and see what comes up.

If you like to shop for bargains but don’t have the time to go from store to store searching for the best ones, you may find that shopping at an outlet mall or an online outlet store is the right decision for you.

Not What They’re Cracked Up To Be?

On the other hand, there are those who feel that the outlets are not all that they are cracked up to be. They are sometimes very big. Some sprawl over more than a city block in size. An outlet mall is not usually made with the most appealing architectural style, preferring to go with the “big box” look instead although there are some that buck these trends. They take up valuable land space and increase traffic, noise, and pollution in the areas where they are built. In their defense, however, most are built along freeways and by major intersections that would not be prime residential land anyway.

You also may not get the best price at an outlet mall. If you are a careful shopper and watch the sales, you will probably be able to get a better price on whatever you are looking at by shopping at clearance sales at department or discount stores or even at online retailers. On the other hand, outlets also have sales and clearances and you can get really good deals at those as well.