A trio of diehard Boxing Day shoppers camped out in front of Jowsey’s overnight Dec. 26 in anticipation of the furniture store’s annual sale—and their strategy paid off.
Brenda Patterson, Sarah and Heather Chaves and Cody Mackenzie spent 26 hours bundled up in camp chairs, staking out the front of the line at Jowsey’s to purchase a washer-dryer set for $1, an upright vacuum for $2, a queen-sized box spring mattress set for $3 and a dishwasher for $4. Patterson and the Chaves had cased the store before Christmas to find out where the items were located so they would know where to run when the store opened.
There was bribery involved to secure their spots, too: two people were standing out front of the store on actual Boxing Day when Patterson and the Chaves’ arrived, and when the first two found out the sale wasn’t until Tuesday, they balked. They accepted $40 to surrender the front of the line, Patterson said.
The women had dinner delivered from the Golden Dragon and one of their husbands made a 3 a.m. run to the McDonald’s drive-thru. A laptop and some DVD movies kept them entertained through the night. And hot coffee too.
This is the third year Jowsey’s has put up some huge Boxing Day deals, and it seems to be working out, owner Jennifer Norn said. “The first year we did it I was a little afraid” there would be trouble, she said. She came up with the idea of giving out time-limited gift cards for those who line up but don’t get the four Boxing Day items, to keep things civilized.
“People have been really fine,” she said. “I’ve never had a fight.”
This year she ordered pizza from Panago for everyone who was standing in line at noon. At 1 p.m., she came outside and issued instructions to the 30 or so people congregating at the front door, let them know she was well aware of who stayed overnight and said they would be allowed in the door first.
Patterson, the Chaves and Mackenzie each got the items they wanted after sprinting inside the store and picking up the special tags.
I’m shaking,” Patterson said as she waited to pay $1.12 for her front loading washer and dryer.
Jowsey’s wasn’t the only place where people were lining up to take advantage of Boxing Day deals. There were already people at the door when Walmart opened at 6 a.m. Monday.
“They were lined up. Electronics were the main item on Boxing Day,” Walmart manager Bill Robertson said, adding that customer numbers were up on Boxing Day.
Walmart also saw increased traffic when they were open 24 hours a day leading up to Christmas, Robertson said. “We want to try and make it as convenient for people as they can to shop. Moms would put the kids to bed and leave the dads at home and come out and shop,” he added.
The graveyard shifts are always voluntary for staff, and Robertson said he has no problem filling them. The store was open late hours from Dec. 2–24.
Home Hardware was open on Boxing Day, but crowds weren’t an issue, owner Jan Lavertu said. “We’re a little bit different in that we’re a hardware store and don’t sell electronics,” he said.
“We found our busiest time was after [shoppers] did their electronics things, then they started coming here.”
People were in the store buying everything from paint to lightbulbs, to extension cords and accessories for the electronic items they had purchased elsewhere.
Lavertu has stayed open on Boxing Day for the past few years, but admits he struggles with it; knowing he is taking his staff away from their families for what is considered a statutory holiday by many companies and workers.
His business, while not rising much in the past few years, has remained steady, he said.