Tag Archives: Boxing Day

Some quick thoughts on the lunacy of retail and Black Friday in Canada

I had one last Christmas gift to purchase.  As long time readers of the blog know, I do all of our Christmas shopping in the family.  When Wendy’s depression was much worse, it used to stress her out and ruin the holidays.  We make a budget, make a list and stick to it.  Today was our last big gift of the season.

Last night we got an email from the retailer who said that their Black Friday week sales were starting Wednesday.  What I wanted wasn’t on sale but it showed that they had low stock on it so Wendy and I decided to go over today.  Big signs for doorcrashers, promotional campaign online, extended store hours.  Everything.  The store was empty.

Why?  We all have to work.  Same with Black Friday.  Americans often have the four day weekend so they spend Thanksgiving Thursday with family watching football and eating.  Then they go to the malls on Friday and start Christmas shopping.  In Canada, our Thanksgiving is in early October.  It’s also a Monday.  So those sales and door crashers really don’t make any sense, even if they start on Wednesday of that week.

Then they do it all over again on Boxing Day.  Boxing Day sales make sense because people are shopping for themselves and it finishes Q4 off right but extending it now into the first week of January does not.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand Black Friday sales start people in the Christmas mood but ridiculous deals and early morning starts when people have to work?  That doesn’t work or make sense in Canada and you are losing money for really no reason.

Christmas 2011

I hope everyone had a great Christmas.  After a daring battery run to Walmart on Saturday morning, we met up with the Sieberts for coffee/tea and to exchange gifts and Christmas cheer.  After that we headed out to Warman to Lee and Brittany’s place for Christmas Eve dinner to open gifts.  Wendy talked about the evening over at her blog but I was got some great gifts from Lee and Brittany including some DVDs and When the Gods Changed by Peter C. Newman, an iPad from Wendy, a Denver Broncos hat from Oliver, some big bear head slippers from the dogs, the Steve Jobs biography from Mark, along with a stocking full of fun stuff.  Oh right, Wendy gave Mark, Oliver, and myself a Snuggie for Christmas.  We aren’t happy about it.

On Christmas we went over to the Reimers where I got a really cool book by Gloria’s great uncle Heinz Guderian who was a Panzer commander and later became the Chief of the General Staff during WWII.  He wrote several important books on armoured tactics and I was thrilled to get a copy of one.  It also confirms my belief that if Gloria hadn’t married Jerry, she would be leading a war against a rival country.   Kristy gave me a gift certificate for Indigo! instead of trying to figure out what to get me.  Instead of getting a book to read, I went to Indigo! today and got a big one to write in.  While we were there, we walked over to Best Buy and looked at iPad cases.  We found one that  works for now but I am planning to add a keyboard in the future but they were all out of stock.

Tonight we are chilling out, listening to Moxy Fruvous while taking down the Christmas tree and decorations.  In a couple of hours we will be ready for New Years.

Future Shop

My brother Lee gave Mark a Nintendo DS for Christmas.  Mark had been working for me at the Centre helping with some odd jobs and had amassed some cash to save up for a DS (what a coincidence!).  With his DS taken care of and a glut of cash, he wanted to go out an buy Mario Party DS.  He has played it on the Wii at Lee’s place and on Christmas Eve, they were up late playing it so I knew what we were doing on Boxing Day.

Mario Party DS for the Nintendo DS We went to my top secret parking spot at Midtown Mall and ran into EB Games.  There were over 100 people lined up to get into the store.  I didn’t even entertain going in there and while Mark was sad, I promised we would check out some other places.  Wal-Mart was totally out of PSP games and almost out of Nintendo DS games and of course there was no Mario Party games.  We checked out another Wal-Mart and no luck there either.  As we were heading over to Lee’s last night, we went by Future Shop and to our shock, they had a copy that I grabbed for Mark.

After looking at DSLR’s and some other cameras (a Fujifilm S2000hd), we got into line.  Mike O left a great comment that mentioned the same experience in Fry’s a couple of years ago but with only one long line and multiple tills, the line moved briskly.  I don’t know if it is the season or if Future Shop does something right but it was the friendliest line I have ever seen.  The mother in front of us had gotten a DS as well from her teenage kids while some university students behind us were buying Guitar Hero World Tour.  Within a couple of minutes all of us were talking about technology and our purchases.  One of the guys was giving Mark Mario Party DS tips while another guy was rifling through the Coke machine to make sure all of our drinks were cold.

Future Shop Over the years there have been a lot of studies about how one line and many checkouts is quicker.  Of course many places don’t do this because psychologically people think many short lines is quicker.  My own experience is that in a longer line like at Future Shop, people are just resigned to waiting for a while and end up making the best of it by chatting with each other.  We were in line for only a couple of minutes but in the end all of us were in a lot better mood by the time we got to the tills and while the Future Shop employees were extremely pleasant, it had to make it easier on them when customers are in a good mood.

I know why stores like Safeway and Home Depot do it the other way but if Future Shop had that system, I doubt I would have even gone into the store if it was that busy.