Is it a point of pride or embarrassment that my whole life, I’ve never shopped on Boxing Day, and likely never will? The closest I ever came was on the day after Boxing Day (as I recall, stores weren’t allowed to open on Boxing Day in Halifax back then) when I was about 16. Sure, the crowds were dense enough for a medium-sized mall in a medium-sized city. But I’ve never done the ultimate—go out on the busiest shopping day of the year, in any of Canada’s largest cities.
So yesterday, while I was staying with a dear friend in Montreal, we ventured into the downtown core for some Boxing Week shopping. And it being two full days after Boxing Day, the madness had died down significantly. We could very calmly browse through Simons, Les Ailes de la Mode, and all along Ste. Catherine street, without fearing about being trampled on, or lifetime-shortening line-ups at the cash register. Here are a few things that these two Boxing Week shopping virgins discovered:
1- We both are the type of people who mostly enjoy shopping alone, mainly for two reasons: we don’t like the idea that we’re dragging a friend along unwillingly from shop to shop, and we like to shop quickly and without the idea that someone might be slowing us down.
2- That being said, the good thing about shopping with a friend is taking advantage of 3-for-1 sales. These are rare even during Boxing Week, but exciting to spot.
3- My friend made the most obvious observation of the year: Sales clerks during Boxing Week are not so friendly. Go figure.
4- Not all stores offer huge savings. A $200 item with only $40 knocked off is not worth standing in line for. Come on, Simons, you can do better than that.
5- Restaurant employees are friendlier than retail store clerks during Boxing Week.
So, our shopping adventure turned out pretty well, considering our general lack of experience. We had fun, we weren’t crushed or mobbed, and we enjoyed the relative calm of the stores and the streets, which allowed for some chit-chatting during our adventure.
And would I do it again? As long as it’s not on the Dreaded Day itself—absolutely.