Nick Eardley: Boxing Day shopping fever wears off fast

Thousands of bargain hunters hit the sales on Boxing Day. Picture: Julie Bull
Thousands of bargain hunters hit the sales on Boxing Day. Picture: Julie Bull
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MY FIRST experience of the Boxing Day sales was walking to work, pitying the poor people walking along Princes Street with their bags, filled to the brim with the bargains some had presumably been up since an ungodly hour to get their hands on. Why, I wondered, does anyone bother?

There’s always the internet. Many will have taken a quiet moment yesterday to check out some of the offers. When I got a moment at my computer after arriving at work, I did just that. For me, it was the clothes that caught my eye, and there were some great bargains on offer.

The problem is, how do you know if it fits? And then, will it/they sit nicely? Unless you have modelled yourself on a high street mannequin, there’s a good chance you will want to try stuff on before you buy it. And some of the items have sold out – what chance that the coat I thought about getting a couple of weeks ago would still be in stock in the store?

That’s when I started to think I could manage. I had an hour’s break – that would, I thought, be enough time to walk to my shops of choice, see what there was, and get back to work.

The bargain bug had got me. I was about to become one of the poor people I had pitied on Princes Street.

At first, it didn’t seem too bad. The streets were busy enough, but nothing to beat the run-up to Christmas when I had managed to whizz round and get presents. I could manage.

I was wrong. As soon as you walk into the shops, you’re hit by a tsunami of bargain hunters. Many of them are the seasoned seasonal veterans who know exactly how to use their elbows to full effect. When it’s raining, they have umbrellas. Some people are crazy enough to take their kids.

Then there are the piles of clothes, clearly in no particular order, that you have to sift through. I can honestly say that I have no idea what most of the jeans and T-shirts in the piles looked like. The rails are often no better, packed to full capacity. Sure, they may be cheap, but what good is it if you can’t tell if they’re nice or not?

It gets uncomfortable pretty quickly. There’s only so long that you can put up with sifting through massive piles of trousers and tops to see if anything catches your eye. I did find the jacket I’d had my eye on earlier in the day, but the discount wasn’t great (it had sold out online). I would have probably paid a bit extra just to avoid the anarchy.

In my hour, I made it around two shops, bumped into numerous people and bought nothing. Next Christmas, I’m going to pin this up on my wall to remind myself to stay at home. Never again.