It was a muted yet undeniable glee that pervaded American Apparel's flea market-style warehouse sale in London today, where shoppers lined up beginning at seven in the morning to pilfer the controversial brand's heavily discounted hoodies and hot pants. The event, which started at 9 a.m., was rebranded following last year's sale, which led to dangerous riots on the streets of London that left ten police officers injured. What was last year's "rummage" sale is this year's "flea market." What American Apparel lacked in security last year, they paid £35,000 for this year. And where shoppers had been left to go cold and hungry, they were fed complimentary bagels and coffee this time around.
But their motivations for showing up had nothing to do with a good, safe time, or free, cold bagels.
The Guardian spoke to a few who lined up early today:
"I mainly came for hoodies and jumpers. They're usually way too expensive, I'd normally rather go to Primark." — Jason Pitcaithly-Hill, 23
"I mainly came to buy some hoodies — they're so overpriced at £40 but they're only £16 now." — Jermaine Robinson, 17
"I've spent about £80 today. In a regular American Apparel store you'd get hardly anything for that amount and you feel worse for spending that much." — Katy Crawford, 21
"The disco pants (high waisted shiny trousers) are the main reason I came and they're sold out! I previously paid £70 for a pair but wanted to get some of the other colours here as they're reduced to £15." — Catherine Phillips, 23
The satisfaction that comes with conquering that which is overpriced really does drive people to do crazy things.
American Apparel Flea Market [Guardian UK]