Boxing Day is looming once again. The day that divides the city into pretty much two camps: the nice people going to visit their nans, and that other lot (read: most of us) that would gladly trample over said nan to bag a decent bargain.
Yep, losing one’s shit in the Boxing Day sales has become a British tradition over the years – and a lucrative one, too. Last year, a whopping 9.8 million bargain-hungry shoppers ambushed the high street on Boxing Day, spending 2.2 billion quid. Selfridges reportedly took £2m in its first HOUR, with some shoppers queuing all night to get dibs on designer bargains. Keen or what?
Needless to say, shopping London’s Boxing Day sales is not for the faint-hearted. But it’s a tricky one: You don’t want to get trampled alive by the bargain-hungry hoards, but you do want to get your mitts on some cheap shit. What’s a Londoner to do?
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled an ultimate guide to getting the most out of the sales whilst sustaining as little physical and psychological damage as possible. Good luck out there.
Avoid being hungover
Firstly, you’ll need to be up EARLY. Secondly, the sales are noisy place. How do you think a throbbing head is going to cope with the sound of women screaming over who saw that cut-price cashmere knit first? Not well, we’d imagine. If you’re really serious about this, you’ll go easy on the vino. Failing that, a generous serving of Alka Seltzer will help.
Being part of a stampede busting into Next’s doors at 5am will challenge anyone’s inner strength. You’ve got to be seriously tough. A motivational playlist will rev you up for the challenge that lies ahead. Get the likes of ‘Eye of the tiger’, ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and ‘Titanium’ on your playlist STAT, listen to it on loop and believe in your ability to score cheap shit. You can do it. You are titaaaaaniiiiiummmm.
Swot up beforehand
Work out what you actually want before you go. If you know you’re only there for next year’s winter coat and a decent cardi, don’t waste your time getting sucked in by yet another pair of jeans. Know what you’re looking for, stick to your guns and you’ll streamline your time in each shop.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Don’t be taken in by what’s going on around you because that will eat up your time. There will be ruthless rummagers snatching things out of your very hands, there will be arguments breaking out around you, but maintain your tunnel vision and stay focused.
Much like being on a packed tube during rush hour, you need to maintain a firm centre of gravity at all times. Legs shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Crouch at your peril, because one knock from the sales-savages around you and you’ll be down. Death by trampling in Selfridges is arguably one of the classier ways to go, but it’s still not ideal.
Don’t go with friends
The first rule of the sales is there are no friends in the sales. When you’re wedged like sardines in a rail of cheap frocks, do you really have time to answer needy questions like ‘Do you think peach is my colour, though?’ Plus, what if she picks up something you want before you? Friendship. Ovah. Trust us and go it alone.
Buy now, think later
If you’re the dithering type, don’t waste time wondering whether that top will go with that skirt. Just buy it, keep the receipt and have a trying-on fest when you get home. There is no time for dithering on Boxing Day. Every moment of hesitation could mean a missed bargain opportunity. DO check the refund policy at the till, though, as sale items occasionally have different refund policies.
Don’t try it on
In the same vein, utilise your receipt to avoid trying stuff on. Take it from someone who has worked on the fitting room on Boxing Day and been weeping, knee-deep in rejected pink-stickered Topshop goods – nobody wants you to try those things on. Plus, if you forego the fitting room, you’ll get to the next shop quicker than all those fools that are trying stuff on. Score.
Have a helper at home
Not sure whether that reduced bit of tech is worth the investment, but are too petrified to surf the web on your phone in case it goes flying amid the chaos? Whatsapp a quick snap to a willing helper at home, who can Google it for you and let you know whether it’s a green light or not. Team work makes the dream work, folks.
If you’ve had an early start, you’re probably going to have an energy crash somewhere around 11am. Your body has been used to consuming A LOT of food in the prior days, and this level of cardio is going to come as a shock. Keep some easy-to-eat snacks in your pocket so you can still browse with one hand: nuts are ideal for a quick energy boost and they make great missiles if things turn ugly in there.
Turn to the web
If the above doesn’t sound like your (reduced) bag, there’s this nifty new invention called the internet. A lot of retailers, such as Zara and Lush, start their online sales at midnight on Christmas Day (others even earlier), so you can still stock up on bargains AND get a lie-in on Boxing Day. What a time to be alive, eh? If you can resist the urge to pass out at 7pm in a Quality Street coma like the rest of the nation, that is.
Now you’re ready to shop! Here are the best January sales in town…