Well, the Mary's Tack and Feed Annual Tent Sale is just around the corner and I find myself all aflutter with anticipation. This sale is the equivalent of the Nordstrom Half Yearly for horse people – if you can even imagine such a thing. It always starts on a Friday morning in February and it extends through the weekend until every item on sale has been picked over, deliberated on, tested and even possibly exchanged. As a horse owner and rider, I have come to love this sale. It's more than just an opportunity for a bargain, it's also the social event of the year for local riders and the like. Everyone wants to know if you're going to the sale, when you're going to be there and what's on your list. The list. I have been formulating a list in my head for the last four weeks. As with any sport, there is always something new you need or something old that needs to be replaced, but with riding there is also the animal factor. They consume and destroy, and their needs change almost as often as our minds. Therefore, we're never done buying things for them (and for us) to keep the relationship happy and healthy.

As a person in the marketing industry, I truly love this sale. This sale is an amazing marketing extravaganza. Months before the sale, employees are chatting up customers, flyers and coupons are arriving in the mail and lay all over the store, banners are posted, and web pages are updated. There's no possible way a regular customer is going to miss hearing about this sale. This sale is so huge, Mary's has to extend their square footage by adding a tent to the building. They have product demos and giveaways, free food and drink to keep you happy and shopping for hours. They even have t-shirts made for employees to wear during the event. Every time you leave, they hand you a bucket with a great big Mary's logo on it–sometimes I think I go just to make sure I'm going to get my darn bucket... do I need another bucket? No. But am I going to be the only one at the barn who didn't get her bucket this year? No.

So, I'll go. I'll shop. I'll be social. I'll try things on and pick through piles. I'll buy a few things I really need and a few things I really don't need. I'll probably find a good bargain or two and, if anything, I'll get a few of the more practical items on my list that I've been waiting on purchasing, so I can get that token 15% off that makes me feel so good! But most important... I'll get my bucket!

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