Mutterings of minus 29 degree temperatures in St. Albert didn’t keep hardcore bargain shoppers from braving biting temperatures for early morning Boxing Day deals.
The annual post-Christmas tradition saw shoppers drive up to Visions Electronics at 5:30 a.m. for the 6 a.m. opening to take advantage of the deep discounts. However, instead of forming a queue outside the store, most shoppers remained in their warm vehicles until doors opened and everyone strode in politely – as only Canadians do.
The advertised deals, lined up just inside the main doors, were snapped up within the first hour with most bargain hunters on the prowl for television sets and remote car starters.
Edmonton resident Duong Duong came to St. Albert to avoid the crowds at Edmonton locations. He was searching for a 48-inch ultra high-definition smart television that unfortunately had not arrived. To avoid disappointing customers, management put the next higher model on the floor for the sale price.
“We had to do something,” said salesman Lowry Forbes. “The customer really scored with that one.”
Regina resident Caroline Sorensen, visiting family for Christmas, tagged along while her niece purchased a television. Seeing the deals, she scooped up a laptop for $280.
“I save the provincial tax plus. There’s a $20 tax difference.”
Twelve-year old Hailey Page dropped by with her father to purchase a Windows 10 computer. Her old screen cracked when someone at Vincent J. Maloney School knelt on it. Page was only out-of-pocket $209 compared with the regular $400 price tag.
“It’s O.K. I get a better computer, so it’s worth it,” said the philosophical teen.
One young man unable to find his deal was Matthew Perrault, 12. A Grade 7 student at Richard Fowler Junior High, Matthew saved for a Play Station Virtual Reality Bundle throughout the year. Together with Christmas money he was trying to find the game station.
“But nobody seems to have it,” said Matthew. “I guess I’ll just keep looking.”
While a steady stream of electronics-hunting early birds trooped through Visions, most St. Albert stores opened after 8 a.m. Over at the Bay, Jenn Kluthe, a mother of two, shopped for children’s clothes and a fancy dress to wear to an upcoming family wedding next week.
“When I shop, I like to stay in St. Albert. It’s nice and quiet and there are some good deals. I don’t like shopping in a big crowd of people. And people don’t realize you can get some good deals in St. Albert. You don’t have to go to Edmonton,” said Kluthe.
Over at Stokes, a newly opened kitchen and tableware store in St. Albert Centre, Kathy Olasker and her husband traditionally shop early on Boxing Day when both crowds and prices are low.
“There’s nothing in particular we’re looking for, but we know what we like,” said Olasker.
By the time the Gazette caught up with the laid-back duo, they’d found a pair of boots, pyjamas and a pepper grinder.
“It’s nice to take advantage of the sale prices, but without the others around.”
Most shoppers waited for marginally warmer temperatures and sunnier skies before venturing outside. By 10:30 a.m., the mall parking lot was fuller.
Although Black Friday is rapidly becoming one of Canada’s busiest shopping days, families hustled through the mall searching for heavy discounts on kids’ shoes and clothes, jewelry, winter coats, snowboards and skis.
For others such as Morgan Ferintosh, Boxing Day shopping provides an opportunity to digest Christmas’ turkey banquet and people watch in the food court.
“I just like to come for a coffee and to be with people.”