Boxing Day Line-ups and Paper Flyers in the 1990s

Let's go back to the 1990s, specifically to the once great festival of shopping - Boxing Day.

The big box store is not yet fully dominant, just-in-time efficient delivery with minimal on-hand stock is not yet dominant either.

Now, I'm going to sound like an old man saying I walked to school uphill both ways. There were actually deals to be had on Boxing Day - because stores needed to clear supply which did not sell during Christmas.

Unique deals are to be had and you had to browse in-person, one did not shop using Netscape. You could never quite know what the overstock sales would be.

Boxing Day of Olde

One of my friend's parents own a Chinese food restaurant, most of my friends work there. Christmas Day is the busiest day of the year, and its all hands on deck. I usually arrive at the restaurant around 8:00pm and try to stay out of the way; the place is organized chaos with the phones ringing constantly, delivery drivers steadly picking up orders at the side door, and the kitchen cooking everything.

Suddenly, at 9:00pm, the phones go quiet, the orders decrease to a trickle, and around 20 minutes later, all the extra food prepared which is left-over is brought out for the staff to enjoy. I, being a teenage, enjoy another dinner.

In the booth seating area, retail flyers are spread across the table as  we strategize which stores to line-up in front of overnight, which ones to get to in the morning, and which to try out in the afternoon.

We fight over the flyers, circle deals, and cut door-crasher coupons. More experiences which no longer exist.

These are important decisions to, overstock deals are limited and cannot be predicted. A lucky choice means a great find, a poor choice means lining up and having nothing to show for it.

Around 11pm, we split up. I know a few of my friends would camp outside the Future Shop in Ancaster to try and get a door crasher deal. They were usually too late in line, but seem to enjoy the freedom of their parents letting them be away for the night.

I always went home to sleep. I would catch up with my friends early in the afternoon.

We always ended up in Eastgate Square later in the afternoon on Boxing Day, and look around for deals.  I do not recall ever finding a deal on Boxing Day, just that I enjoyed socializing with people while taking note of the ridiculously long lineup at Wal-Mart.

Boxing Day Now: Just Another Sale Day Online

Black Friday, Christmas in July, there seems no end of sales during the year - all of which offer prices comparable or lower than the sales of Boxing Week.

Modern retail logistics means overstock is rare, and the original purpose for Boxing Day sales is no more. Boxing Week does remain useful to me, I just purchased a new pair of shoes and some socks online while I wrote this - it is time to prepare for summer again!