Outlet Mall Shopping with Teenagers

Finding great bargains on current fashion trends can be a big headache for some people, and for parents, it can be a real power struggle between the parents and their children, especially when those children are teenagers. Ack, teenagers! Those gangly, hard to fit, and contentious humans! But, there is hope! Outlet Malls – convenient, trendy, and thrifty!

A terrific solution my friends and I have found is to take them on a whirlwind shopping trip through our local outlet mall. Plan on a full day of shopping fun, and be sure to take a break at the outlet’s food court. Budget out your spending before heading out by checking out the list of stores at the mall. Some of my favorites are the Levi’s store, BCBG Max Azria, Coach, London Fog, Benetton, Calvin Klein and so many more. Outlets malls often have exactly the same merchandise as their high-end individual counterparts, sometimes even have overstock that hasn’t yet even gotten to the merchandisers, and occasionally, bargain bin closeouts with such amazing prices your eyes will pop!

Outlet Mall Shopping is great for a group activity, because most outlet malls are somewhat isolated unto themselves, and therefore, it is easier to ‘contain’ teens and maintain some sort of control over their whereabouts, even if it is just an illusion to comfort the chaperones. Pack up the SUV with a couple mothers, a few teenage girls and plenty of room for purchases, and spend a day finding real bargains your teens will love.

I highly recommend doing a little advance planning: Before you even think about heading to the mall, do a little research online to see where the malls in your area are located, their hours, what stores are there, etc. Make your first stop in the Outlet Mall at the Information Booth, often called Customer Service and often located in or near the Food Court. Many times, the Information Booth attendant will surprise you with a coupon book, good for additional discounts and freebies, for instance, a FREE Soft Drink in the Food Court! Grab a Mall map for each person in your party, and plan a route. Don’t forget to choose and circle a meeting place, in case your wandering, wide-eyed teenagers get distracted and ‘misplace’ the grownups. Set a meeting time, and make sure everyone understands that meeting in the selected spot at the selected time is mandatory! Cell phones can be very handy to communicate with each other while shopping, and are a great way to keep in touch, even while giving the teenagers freedom in the mall.

Recently, two friends and I loaded up our teen mob (5 girls, ages 14-17) and spent an entire day at Seattle Premium Outlet Mall in Tulalip, Washington. (The girls never even noticed that the moms disappeared for an hour over to the nearby casino!) One of the girls spent $25 at Claire’s Boutique and got her entire fall collection of trendy, fashionable earrings and bracelets. She was thrilled. Two others bought adorable Coach mini-purses for about half the price of the non-outlet store, and ‘very cool’ (their words, not mine) Levis jackets, also for almost half price.

We had a very full day of shopping and comparing purchases, a really decent lunch at the food court, and a fun time for both the teens and the grownups. Outlet Mall Shopping Day is a surefire winner as far as I am concerned, and as far as my wallet is concerned…well, let’s just say Seattle Premium Outlet Mall will definitely be seeing us again soon!

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