Monday, August 30, 2010

INTEL: Go Shopping (Alden DC)

In 2005, DC's Alden, located for years on K Street, moved a few blocks nearer the buzz at Gallery Place to 9th and F Streets. Somehow, I'd managed to miss it until last week. As you can see, the place is exactly what you'd hope for - sort of a cross between a library and a high-end locker room.

To be sure, Alden's website is an absolute disaster. Maybe they're trying to add to their classic image or something - "Yeah, um, we don't exactly do the Internet" - but I really can't see myself ever releasing credit card information to that travesty. So I was delighted to check out the real thing and super impressed by the bargains.

They didn't have rack upon rack of clearance items, and thank god for that. Digging for deals sucks. Instead, they had four shoes or so, marked down anywhere from 50 - 75 percent, including a gorgeous pair of cordovan wingtip brogues in oxblood for $200. (They retail for something like $600.)

It was also a treat to talk to the saleswoman. She knew and loved her product, was happy to chat, and did not once push me to open my wallet. Plus, she schooled me; there are only two Alden retailers on the East Coast - one in New York, one in DC. That's it. Despite popular belief, there is not one in Massachusetts. (Only the factory lives there.)

The lesson here is that we need to get off our asses once in a while. Shopping on the net is convenient and fun, but the best deals out there are still, well, out there. Good hunting.

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