When Brad Cheeseman of St. John’s drove past the Best Buy and Future Shop stores on Stavanger Drive at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, he saw lineups already stretching out in front of each business.
“They were in survival suits, actually,” he said, describing some of the shoppers out to ensure they did not miss out on the best bargains.
“They’re braver than most.”
Big sales for big attraction
Indeed, there may be some who look forward to Boxing Day sales more than Christmas, with many shops in St. John’s and across Newfoundland and Labrador offering big sales to attract customers not adequately satiated by the main holiday.
Future Shop was ready to open its doors at 6 a.m. The flyer advertising the sale highlighted a variety of discounted items, often including details on the minimum number of said goods that could be expected in the store.
For example, an Xbox 360 selling at $129.99 instead of $199.99 — less than two-thirds its retail price — was guaranteed for at least the first 30 customers looking to buy the video gaming system.
For a $1,999.99 all-in-one entertainment setup with a 55” flat screen television, surround-sound speakers, and a Blu-ray player — regularly priced at $3,309.99 — only 600 packages were available chainwide.
Whether many were available at the St. John’s location was hard to gauge, given there are more than 150 Future Shop locations across Canada.
Stores in the Village Shopping Centre offered discounts ranging from 50 to 75 per cent off regular prices. Sections of the parking lot that would be empty any other week were filled with vehicles.
Congestion was even heavier at the Avalon Mall, where parking spaces were almost non-existent and traffic was backed up out of the parking lot and on to Thorburn Road.
The Stavanger Drive area was still busy from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., with parking lots filled by Wal-Mart, Winners, Future Shop, Best Buy and Old Navy. Some shoppers could be seen carrying items into the stores for exchange or return.
Cheeseman was not among those early morning shoppers at Future Shop, but he did manage to make a purchase shortly after the lunch hour. He bought some cables for his high-definition television and a “Lord of the Rings” box set.
Rather than deal with large lineups, Cheeseman prefers to shop online for his goods in order to avoid the crowds and the cold.
“It’s about as crazy in there as I would have expected it to be,” he said.
Indeed, there was a flurry of activity inside the store, with shoppers and staff gathered in almost every aisle; kitchen appliances were perhaps the least frequented.
Tony Lambert of Kelligrews exited Future Shop with a Bose speaker system. His next destinations were Best Buy and Moores Clothing for Men.
“I had three items I wanted to get, and the three stores I’m going to is where I’m going to get them,” he said. “The deals they have in there are tremendous. There are some ridiculous prices.”
The item he purchased at Future Shop Tuesday — regular price listed at $699.99 — cost Lambert $429.99.
Among the steady stream of shoppers Tuesday, only a few were willing to offer comment when surveyed; most said they were just too busy.
“I’m in a mad rush,” said one man carrying a small bag as he left a store. He added he had only just started his shopping for the day.