This morning, while you were at your desk answering emails, we spent 1.5 hours in transit to Long Island and then 1.5 hours waiting in a mega-line of Lulu-loving ladies. After sending live updates about waiting, more waiting, and then finally, browsing the racks, we put together this guide to help you decide whether the trip to Nassau Coliseum for the big Yogabowl Warehouse Sale is worth it.
The good news: There’s no crazy sample-sale dashing inside. It’s calm, organized, and easy to navigate. The bad news: The selection and discount aren’t as great as we had hoped for, and the “tailgating” is lacking any real “oomph.” (Maybe Lululemon is saving the action for weekend shoppers?)
Here’s what you really need to know:
1. Getting there. If you have a car (I’m impressed), you can drive and it will cost you $10 to park. Via mass transit, it was actually a pretty easy ride. It’s only 40 minutes from Penn Station to Westbury on the LIRR, and when I got there, the Lululemon sale shuttle was waiting. It’s a school bus, and you’ll find it by walking to the middle of the tracks and going through the tunnel underneath to the street. It’ll be waiting curbside, and the ride to the sale is 15 minutes. It’ll take you back, too.
2. There may be waiting. A LOT of it. I waited about an hour and a half in three separate lines before getting to shop. One line upstairs, one downstairs, and one inside the actual sale room. It’s brutal. But you can practice all those yoga-mediation tricks you’ve been learning and see if they work. As I was leaving around noon, there was no line at all and people were just walking in, so it may just depend on timing.
3. Bring food and water. But don’t drink any before you go! There’s nowhere to get sustenance and that can be a problem if you’re in line for two hours. Also, once you’re inside the sale, you can’t leave to go to the bathrooms, since they’re on the way in/out, so you want to be able to hold it.
4. The “tailgating party.” This consisted of a couple of cheerleaders, some cornhole boards that you can’t play with because you’re in line, and a stage for entertainment. The stage was empty most of the time, and toward late morning there were some yoga demonstrations. But overall, it didn’t feel like a bash. Racked.com reported a more festive atmosphere, so timing may also matter here. And we know of some cool acts slated for the stage, like Bari and Anya Porter. Maybe Lululemon will ramp up the entertainment for the weekend?
5. Selection and discounts. As you can see by the price list (above), discounts are not as deep as we had hoped. They seem pretty similar to the outlet prices at Woodbury Commons. (Maybe go there this weekend?) But you can still get great bargains.
Two key things:
a) Just don’t expect to pick up four pairs of your favorite Wunder Unders. Most of the merch looks like overstock or from past seasons; it’s not the brand’s most popular items.
b) Best finds: There are lots of crops in smaller sizes, a ton of the popular Scuba Hoodies in different sizes and colors, a decent selection of running jackets, and some cute tanks like the Power Y in an old pattern. Sports bra selection and accessories are pretty weak. Lulu says they’re constantly restocking everything. There is now a 30-item limit on purchases. So tell that to all your friends asking you to “just grab them something.”
6. Tiny details. On their site, Lululemon prepped shoppers for checking your bag and coat, but you won’t have to. You’ll just have to let them search it super thoroughly. They also said no strollers, but there were lots of moms pushing them around. And gotta love social media: The dedicated Twitter handle for the Lululemon sale is delivering some excellent customer service @LululemonWHUS, like if they’ll be restocking a pair of crops in your size. —Lisa Elaine Held
To stay updated throughout the weekend, follow @LululemonWHUS #yogabowl.