Saturday, December 27, 2008

After Christmas Sales

What is it about the after Christmas sales that makes people want to get up out of a nice, warm bed in the middle of the night and go stand, shivering in the cold, outside of a store that opens at 6 or 7 on Boxing Day morning?

Everyone loves a deal - especially here in Winnipeg. We are known as a wholesale and discount city. If there is a bargain to be had, a true Winnipegger will find it! We really don't like paying retail!

There is a local furniture store that has been running the same promotion for many years. Many items are on sale, but ONE dining room suite will be marked at 90% off. The price tags are all turned upside down so that people can't scope out by looking in the windows or such. When the doors open, there is literally a stampede of customers who rush in looking for that one massive deal.

The annual event always makes the local news. They interview the "winner" and many of the people who have been waiting for hours for that slim chance that they will find the right item first. Some actually camp out overnight in the frigid weather! They bring sleeping bags, portable heaters/stove and hot beverages to stay warm. The ones that do that, tend to work in teams to better their odds. The problem with that, is that they are only in it for the hunt and not because they really need the furniture. If they get it they tend to resell the item to make some money. Luckily, these types of people don't win the deal very often. This year, it was a woman who really needed it that found the $1952.00 dining suite marked down to $19.52!

Other stores also offered massive discounts, but only had a limited quantity - just enough incentive to get you in the door and hope that you'll buy other discounted items since you are already there. Still, hundreds of people lined up outside as early as 8:00PM, Christmas night for a 6:00 AM opening on Boxing Day!

With the economy the way it is, most retailers were offering deep discounts before Christmas already, so there really isn't much wiggle room left to lower prices and make even a small profit.

I've known several people who do the annual Boxing Day hunt, but they don't start before 9 or 10 in the morning. It's as much of a tradition for them as the Christmas dinner!

I love finding deals. I look through the flyer's every week - especially for groceries - but to go stand outside for hours? No way! I'm not quite that crazy! I have gone to a few Boxing Day sales in the past, but I was careful in what stores I decided to venture into. The three or four years that I did venture out, I only went to the downtown malls - Portage Place and City Place (formerly Eaton Place) as I knew they wouldn't be quite as insane as the suburban malls.

A few years ago, I went to my favourite clothing store - Cotton Ginny. I had lost a lot of weight and really needed new clothes that fit, so I used Christmas money to shop. One of the clerks helped me scope the store a couple of days before Christmas to see what was available, try things on and make a list of what I wanted. When I got to the store about 20 minutes or so before it opened, there were only a couple of others waiting. The clerk that had helped me a few days earlier was working that morning and the minute the doors opened, she started pulling stuff that she knew I had my eye on, as she knew that with my vision, I would have trouble if the store got really busy. She even found a couple of other items that I had missed. I didn't have to try anything on, so I was out in less than 20 minutes! I went back the following year, but didn't find quite as much. The next couple of years, their pre-Christmas sales were as good as the after sales so I quit going on Boxing Day.

While I was out, I also looked for CD's, Christmas decorations, and a few other things but the main objective was clothes. I was always home before noon.

I still hit post Christmas sales, but I wait till at least the 27th or 28th so that things are a little calmer. Sure, things may be a bit more picked over, but they are also getting stuff returned, so I do find some good deals.

This year, I'll hit the stores on Monday the 29th or Tuesday the 30th. Weekend bus service in this city isn't that great and the stores I want to hit are in suburban malls. I'm not looking forward to the crowds, but it won't be as crazy as the 26th.

There is definitely an adrenalin rush in finding that perfect item on sale. Some people thrive on the door opening hunt. It is the survival of the fittest to find the best deal the fastest! I envy their tenacity and stamina to face the masses.

Boxing Day morning, I slept in late - in my nice warm comfy bed! I hope you found some good deals out there and that you left a few things in the stores for me!


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