Bargain hunters alert! Santa, wearing a red-and-green sombrero, is flying in early this year riding on an Indian thunderbird. Sitting behind Santa, Kokopelli is holding on with his knees while he plays “Jungle Bells” on his flute.
They are landing at the Tanger Outlets Westgate where the nation’s leading designer and brand-name stores are selling merchandise up to 70 percent off. It’s Feliz Navidad: Calvin Klein, Samsonite, Nike, Gymboree, Brooks Brothers and 74 more stores. Wetzel’s serves its pretzels; China Max and Subway will open soon.
The Glendale mall is at Loop 101 and 95th Avenue. Coming up from the south end of Loop 101, get off at Exit 6 and drive east on West Bethany Home Road. Go north at the next intersection onto 95th Avenue past the University of Phoenix Stadium.
I, Miss Uberfrugal, couldn’t wait to get there. Trains of cars lined up to enter the parking lot, but I still found a convenient place to park. I expected the mall to be as crowded as bees swarming on a hive. Not so. The mall paseos are as wide as roads.
Lucky us to have these stores nearby. This is the only Tanger Outlet Mall in Arizona. The word “tanger” is pronounced “TAN jer” not like that orangey, astronaut drink that cleans your porcelain fixtures.
Why drive to the West Valley? Because there are 80 of the best outlet stores, door to door. Two long promenades stretch the length of the mall with three cross aisles connecting everything together. Benches, tables, and chairs offer you a place to park your old man, Scrooge, so you can shop while he sits and glares at people.
Open to the air, the mall has shaded areas and overhead fans the size of helicopter propellers. You can find a cool place to sit when the temperature goes up. You know, when birds sit on their eggs to keep them cool.
The Coach outlet was the busiest store I saw. A purse originally priced at $298 was marked down to $149 and would be even cheaper at checkout using the coupon handed out at the door. Super duper bargains lined one back corner of the store. Make sure you buy something with a big, iconic letter “C” so you can strut your stuff at garage sales.
The Coach store also has a men’s section selling briefcases and other macho stuff. I checked out a smooth brown briefcase that felt sturdy but buttery soft. Can a man fall in love with his briefcase? Well, yeah. He can hug it on his lap anytime he wants.
Join the Tanger Club which costs you only $10 for a life-time membership, good at any Tanger mall. You’ll get a blizzard of coupons and discounts over the years. On your next birthday, Tanger will send you a $10 gift card. Uh, a $10 membership fee minus a $10 gift card equals a FREE membership.
Flash your Tanger Club membership card at each store and at the Shoppers Services office where you’ll get the latest $5 coupon book, always free for members. Club members also get free loaner strollers which normally cost $5 a single and $8 a double. Wheelchairs are complimentary to all.
The coupon books are also free to members of AAA, AARP, CAA and the military. Shopper Services at Suite 525 sells memberships and dispenses coupons — or go online to get your club card and coupons.
When I got in my car to go home, I really wished that I could have flown home on Santa’s thunderbird.
• Linda Hutchings is a Gilbert resident and a life-long frugal consumer—uh, cheap skate. Please reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Send her your penny-pinching ideas.