On the morning after Christmas, there are two types of people. The first are content lazing around the house, eating Christmas lunch leftovers and perhaps watching the Boxing Day Test cricket. The second have their alarms set for the crack of dawn, ready to hit the shops for the biggest sale of the year– the Boxing Day sale.
Christmas can be a tense time for shopkeepers. They’ll never know precisely what to expect when it comes to how much inventory they’ll need to stock, how much demand there’ll be for any particular product, and precisely what’s going to catch on and be their big breadwinner for the season.
This means that they’ll generally overstock on some products, because they’d rather have too much of an item – and sell it off later over time – than too little. This is great news for consumers, because it means that as soon as the season ends, there’s a whole bunch of stock and not nearly as much demand (after all, everybody’s just done a whole load of shopping).
Now’s your time to strike, but before you dive into the Christmas specials, here’s a few tips to help you survive the busiest shopping day of the calendar year.
Get in fast
You’re not the only savvy consumer on the block. The first rule of Boxing Day Sales is to get in – and get out – as quickly as you can. Getting in early ensures that you’ll actually be able to find a parking spot (if you’re taking the car), and that you won’t have to contend with huge crowds buffeting you everywhere that you go.
Remember that this is straight after Christmas, too, so the combination of an intense shopping holiday followed by a sharp reduction in prices means that there’s a decent chance that any popular item might be completely sold out if you don’t get in early enough.
The best time to arrive is just after the shops open. Get there too early, and you’ll be competing for space merely getting into the shops with the really hardcore shoppers. If that’s your thing, then join them at opening, but otherwise consider getting there maybe half an hour later.
Either way, you want to be out by midday, completely and totally done if possible. Hopefully less crowds and traffic jams for you!
2. Make a list
It’s easy to become tempted by the incredible specials on offer on Boxing Day, so to ensure you don’t break the bank and end up with a whole host of unnecessary purchases, it’s best to stick to a list. Spend a bit of time considering the things you really need and then note these down on a checklist to bring with you on the day. If you can’t put your finger on precisely what it is that you’re after, check to see if a particular store has an online catalogue you can browse.
Map out a guideline of a route around the shops, and make sure you go to your most wanted places first (or at least make a beeline to them). You might even find you have some time left over for browsing.
For the more diehard sales-hunters, a list may not be necessary. After all, Boxing Day is a great opportunity to spoil yourself with all of those irresistible bargains!
3. You should check if they’re really on sale!
Beware of the S word. A ‘sale’ doesn’t automatically make something a bargain, it simply means that it has been lowered from one price point to another, and sometimes these are chosen arbitrarily in order to trick the consumer into buying. Simply seeing ‘sale’ means that it could be 5% off or 50% off, and you won’t know this until you actually check.
It’s not uncommon for some stores to get in new stock at rather expensive rates for Christmas, since people expect to pay a little more about that time, and then discount it to what it’s really worth on Boxing Day. That way, they’re still getting the full value out of them even when they’re on sale.
Have a mental checklist for thrift, always check the actual markdown, and know the vague amount that you’d usually pay for a type of item. Don’t compromise just because it’s on sale if you wouldn’t normally buy it outside of Boxing Day.
4. Don’t wear yourself out
Australia’s Boxing Day Sales aren’t nearly as crazy as the legendary stampedes and chaos of the American Black Friday sales, but Boxing Day can still be prone to gigantic crowds and mobs. Don’t overdo it by shopping ‘til you drop! Make sure to dress comfortably, wear clothes that are easily removed to lessen the change room hassle, and don’t forget to stop for a drink and snack. Remember, the boxing day sales aren’t just limited to December 26, so if there’s nothing in particular you’re desperate for it might be worth waiting a couple of days. The sales will last for at least another few weeks, giving you plenty of time to shop without the crowds!