Get your dukes up

Bring on the good times! 

With Christmas now officially over, kaput and done with (stuff it Santa!); we can finally focus on what really matters about this joyous holiday season: the chance to save up to 50% off our favourite brand name items. The time of year has arrived where we can turn those highly desired gift cards and highly undesired crappy gifts into items you truly want. Yes, it’s Boxing Day across the land and all the good (and bad), naughty (and nice) boys and girls can be on this VIP list.

As a veteran Boxing Day shopper, I’ve noticed Boxing Day shoppers can be categorized by 2 types of people:

Those who get it.

And those who don’t.

People who get to the malls right before they open on the 26ththey get it

People who get to the mall at 11am and circle for hours in search of a parking spot and wonder why it’s so busy: they don’t get it

People who bring the biggest car with the biggest trunk: they get it

People who take public transportation and just want to get ‘one thing’: they clearly don’t get it

People who camp out overnight to be first in line: Jury’s still out. While I admire their dedication to the day (because they get it!), I question the sanity of waiting outside in the cold for hours to save $110 off a 32’ Sony Bravia TV (so in this case – I don’t get it)

Boxing Day. What’s the point?

The point is to get as much as possible for as little as possible with minimal wastage

Wastage: (noun)

  1. Spending money on crap you wouldn’t take even if they gave it to you

CAVEAT: Now  just because it’s half price doesn’t make it a great purchase. 40% off crap is still 60% more for said crap than you should be paying for it.

As you know, I enjoy telling people how to do things my way (AKA the right way) so here’s my…

Handy Guide to Boxing Day: Doing it right the first time.

–          TIME:

  1. Plan ahead and as far in advance as you can. Dec 27th of the previous year is definitely not too soon. Starting earlier helps you to learn from your previous mistakes. (remember that time you woke up late? Mistake!)
  2. And for goodness’ sake arrive early! Forget job interviews, funerals (trust me, he ain’t going anywhere), and live births: Boxing Day is the one time when arriving early really matters.

–          PLACE:

  1. Check it out online: Many retailers give you a sneak peak at the potential discounts you can expect on Boxing Day. Can’t find it online? Call the store and ask. It’ll save you time and angry fist waving to know what you can expect in advance.
  2. Make a list and check it twice: (take a cue from Santa) Because you can’t just buy anything. That’s an amateur mistake. Make a list of the things you want and want to buy for less. List everything you would possible buy if it was on sale.  Include condos, pets, and motorcycles too – don’t forget, you drove that U-Haul to the mall for a reason.
  3. Pick your locations wisely. By definition, outlet malls are cheaper and should be frequented first. Malls second, and boutique and specialty shops last (if at all).

–          PEOPLE:

  1. Get the proper team in place: your ideal team is small (2 to 3 people), agile, possess strong elbows, long reaches and upbeat personalities.  There may be high shelves, highly desired items in other customers` change rooms and long lines out there so you need people who can get you through those times (and act as distractions as necessary).
  2. As the day progresses, if anyone in your team shows weakness, drop them off at the nearest food court to keep watch over the bags. This ain’t a joke – it`s Boxing Day. You need to either keep up or keep guard. This is what you sign up for. No bathroom breaks, no snacking, and no naps. You can always stand to lose a few and you can sleep when you’re dead.

New Developments

With the recent creation of a Boxing Week, some people believe they can show up anytime that week and get the same selection and bargains I get on day one, hour one.

These delusional fools obviously had too much spiced nog. That’s the time to get the best deals you’ll ever get. Trust me. The people who arrive early enough to get these deals will NOT divulge them to commoners in order to keep them for ourselves.

Which is why I’m giving you this handy guide for NEXT boxing day (if you even remember it then-muhahahahaha!). I’ve already gone and done it for 2010. I’ve raided the outlet stores, emptied the malls and scooped up the best bargains and lowest ticketed priced items. All that’s left now are sequined flannel pyjamas, bedazzled ties and edible socks. All at 10% off though so please enjoy your mid week savings.

Are you ready for Boxing Day 2011? Please read the following and let’s find out.

A simple Boxing Day Test:

–          An additional 25% off all sale items!

–          Buy one get one free on anything in store!

–          An additional 40% off all sale items!

–          50% off the entire store!

–          Up to 80% off red ticketed items!

–          Over 500 items priced at $10 or less!

–          Nothing priced higher than $9.99!

It’s a simple test really. If these Boxing Day banners above don’t get your blood pumping, your heart racing or your mouth drooling, it can only mean one thing:

You just don’t get it.

.

.

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sale sign picture source

25% off sale sign picture source

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Exclusive Exclusivity

I love exclusive invitations to intimate affairs. Made even more special when these invitations go out to an intimate and exclusive group of thousands. In this case, I’m not even technically the exclusive one. I’m simply the plus one. I like to look at it as plus one exclusive member. My good friend, who actually got the invite, was about to turn it down before I thankfully intervened and made her see the retail light.

And you are???

The offer was from Guess? stores. They promised exclusive discounts, tasty h’ors d’oeuvres, free drinks and a chance to shop with members of the cast of the Whistler, BC based reality show Peak Season, which is apparently some sort of big deal (the biggest deal to me was free food and drink, woo!).

Right before our soiree, I got primped and styled and ready to hit up this exclusive boutique so early, I also had time to pop a delicious homemade lasagna into the oven. Just as the bubbling cheese was settling and the aroma of fresh basil and rosemary was getting deliciously unbearable, my friend arrived, ready to go. I looked longingly at the lasagna as she reminded me there would be food at the event. Stuffing a quick mouthful into my mouth anyway (ouch, hot cheese burns so good!). I grabbed my purse and out we went.

At the Event

After checking off our names on the exclusive list of invites (we were located several pages in and way down on the list. I assume this is where most VIP names are kept hidden) security opened the double doors to the store for us. Upon entering, we noticed one thing:  Beautiful people everywhere. From the look of the sales girls alone, we weren’t sure if we were shopping for new clothes or new boobs. We decided on new boobs in a few years (need to save up!) but new clothes for right now. The atmosphere was fun and bright, sales managers told us about the sales and specials (blah, blah, blah – where’s the free eats? I’m starving) and we were almost immediately offered glasses of wine (why thank you, I don’t mind if I do).

A Shopping experience like no other

Weirdly enough, no one is shopping. All these beautiful people are simply standing around, posing for the photographer.  We think we recognize a few faces (local celebrities perhaps?) but don’t know how to ask. Members of the sales staff continue to stand around and look at us expectantly.  I look at my friend and she looks back at me, the expression on her face mimicking my inner feelings – abject fear. With our natural makeup look and casual but cute ensembles, we feel out of place with these overdone girls and metro sexual boys. After a quick conference, we conclude we’re here to shop and have fun and that’s what we’re going to do. First step- have another drink.  Like a true shopping guardian angel, a waiter sidles up from behind and offers us more wine. Yes please!

2 glasses of wine later, I have accumulated several tops which a salesgirl quickly scoops from my arms and places into a fitting room for me while I continue to shop. A waiter passes by, offering up the ‘food’ at the event.

Can I just take the tray?

Realizing this is all the food I’ll be served at this place, I greedily take one and swallow it whole. Tasted like food. A little dry and salty though. Thank goodness for the wine. My stomach is growling and the one h’ors d’oeuvre is not enough. I’ll have to stalk these waiters down to get fed tonight. Looking around the store I note that its filled with a bunch of skinny bitches (my friend included) so getting second and third helpings shouldn’t be a problem. Yay calories.

We glance down at our empty glasses and as if by magic, our guardian angel returns and once again fills them up with liquid joy. Glasses tilted up, we notice a second floor to this place and precariously try to hold on to our balance while we take the staircase up. Holding onto each other for support as we reach the top, we’re offered bottles of Fiji water (declined) and a new drink called Olym-peak Glory,which we happily accept.

Oh, I get it now!

Double fisting it now, (a popular drinking term meaning to have a drink in each hand), I wonder how we’re going to shop with this wonderful new handicap. Looking around we realize there’s no need to shop on this floor as its all men’s clothing (a waste of quality space, in my opinion). Although it was a men’s clothing floor, it was filled with ladies decked out in their Friday night best (it was a Wednesday night FYI).  Realization dawned slowly but I soon was told the stars of Peak Season were hanging out on this floor and even the DJ was from this popular Canadian show (must be popular amongst other Canadians).

Feeling light-headed, I wasn’t sure if it was from the swanky clothing and cheap male cologne  or from the wine and cocktails that kept magically appearing. Speaking of which, as we downed our Olym-peak Glories (giggle, giggle), another tray of this festive drink appeared (why yes sir, don’t mind if we do).

The crowd up here near these faux celebrities was seriously affecting our buzz. Getting bumped and jostled for position like an Olympic short track speed race got very annoying, very quickly. Bored with this scene and remembering our fitting rooms filled with clothing below (oh yeah!), we stumbled downstairs and into our boudoirs.

Whilst trying on my selections I couldn’t help but notice a major theme. Maybe it was just the alcohol talking but

I

looked

fabulous!

Everything fit wonderfully and everything I tried on was slimming. I was ready to purchase several items before I checked the price tags on them, did a double take and decided realistically, it was time to re evaluate. Looking around the store on round 2, my wine glass refilled once again (I think the

and only $15 per square foot!

waiter was stalking us), the overpriced jewellery and short shorts started to catch my eye ($45 for a faux silver ring must be a good price!). I needed to get out of there quickly before I started eyeing the tube tops. My friend bought her one purchase that was incredibly cute and only pricey when you consider how much material came with the actual top.

Daintily finishing our drinks (read: chugging white wine), we ventured out into the street filled with Olympic revellers. Delving deep onto Robson Square in Vancouver, BC, we’re accosted by 3 eager frat boys who enthusiastically want us to sign their shirts. Thinking ourselves to be clever, we write on them: “U R sexy”, “Your number please”, & “Think I’m cute? Take me home!”. Giggling, we toss back the sharpie and slip away into a coffee shop to use the facilities. In queue for the loo, we notice 2 Spanish guys working behind the counter. Well first I noticed the yummy treats and goodies behind the counter but I don’t want or think I can eat anything at this point. I nudge my friend in their direction and then slip ahead of her into the loo. When I return, they are deep in conversation. One is new to the country and is looking to meet new people. We get his number with promises to get together for group outings and I ask him if he likes to salsa. He has several hours left in his shift and we have several hours left in our night to conquer. Not wanting to waste anymore time, we move off again to the next locale.

Into the night

The rest of the night was a blur that included a trek to meet up with friends of friends, then to a bar somewhere for drinks (where I talked up a table of 4 boys for a friend, only to learn she meant the OTHER table with the boys, sheesh!), a visit to someone’s hotel room (I think they were Olympic media folks) for more drinks (seemed like a good idea at the time…). This was followed by a long, aimless trek around the city to find a bar our friends of friends KNEW was there but in reality may or may not have existed and then 3 of the 8 of us ended up at a random restaurant at 12 midnight face deep in a plate of greasy fries, grisly chicken wings and salty garlic bread dripping with butter (where’s that guardian shopping angel with refreshments when you need him?). It’s with relief that I finally make it home and fall peacefully to my own bed, ignoring my stomach that twists in agony at the late night feast.

I’m a big believer in RSVP’ing yes.  I may not always go to the events I say yes to (tee hee and sorry friends!), but I do like to help bump up the guest list with my name. I do know this though; the next time I get invited to a swanky party that touts free cocktails and tons of h’ors d’oeuvres, I won’t be fooled.

I’m eating dinner first.