Our First Manic Boxing Day Shopping Experience in New Zealand

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Usually, we would be overseas this time of the year, but no one’s going anywhere during the year of the pandemic. So on the 26th of December 2020, we’ve decided to join the madness on the biggest shopping spree of the year. Believe it or not, I’ve never been to Boxing Day sales before, and this year, I’m expecting a few good buys.

Boxing Day Parking

We never take it for granted that we live within walking distance to the biggest mall on Auckland north shore – Westfield Albany. This Boxing Day, we took the pram out and went for a walk knowing parking would be an issue.

Far in the distance, we were able to see the Westfield car park filling up fast. Some cars were roaming in circles trying to find a space to park, and then more cars came in behind them. By the time we got to the mall, Westfield had opened up empty patches of grass near the carpark to accommodate more cars that were flocking in by the minute.

On the other side of the roundabout, we were fascinated to see rows of cars parked in the middle of the road on pedestrian refuge islands. To my relief, it was a good call to leave our car behind.

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Departments & Shops

We didn’t have a shopping list or anything specific to buy, so we came to the mall mainly to see if we could get a bargain on a few items that were on our nice-to-have list.

Big department stores like Farmers also had massive Boxing Day price reductions on selected styles and products, especially homeware, manchester and toys. The shelves seemed a little emptier than usual. I filtered through children’s clothing to see if I could find anything for my 3-year-old and 10 months old, but only limited sizes were left.

To my joy, I found a cotton-rich blanket that I had my eyes on for a whopping 40% off! We also bought a couple of organic cotton luxury towels to please the hubby. Because he was pretty close to shoving hotel towels in his bag on numerous occasions, in his words, they were so soft and made him feel so good after showers… Hm, okay.

Daddy and baby celebrating Christmas selfie at the Shopping mall
My favourite boys

© Photos by Kida

Everyone in the mall seemed to have a Boxing Day shopping list rushing in and out of shops. Between the aisles, we heard a woman demanding on the phone, “Don’t look at the price tag, just the product!” Then she turned to her daughter and complained, “Your Dad is so stupid I can’t stand him!” I looked over my shoulders and saw a pile of bed sheets on the floor. Gee, she must’ve had a rough day.

But hang on, wasn’t there a ‘school holiday sale’ not long ago, or was it the ‘birthday sale’ or some other ‘sale’ in a different name? Anyway, we fell for it, because well… everyone else was buying.

As my toddler nagged on, we finally made our way to the kids’ favourite stationery shop – Smiggle. Kyra wanted a rainbow unicorn watch, and it got me excited for a second to see the big, bold sign of “20% off on all full-priced products”. Woohoo! “Yes, something so popular and hot in recent years (like anything with a unicorn on it) was 20% off”, I thought.

Toddler showing off her new earrings from Smiggle
Kyra’s new stick-on unicorn earrings and unicorn glow-in-the-dark watch

© Photos by Kida

After we came out of the shop, we saw a mum passing by with her toddler in the stroller. She was strapped in, so quiet and well-behaved. But on a closer look, the toddler had a dummy and a phone setup on the tray to keep her busy while mummy shopped.

As time passed, more and more people started crowding around the mall. There was no more room for our pram in most shops that I had to ask my partner to come and look after the pram.

It was so much easier and quicker to shop with a helping hand. No wonder I saw many comical families shopping with all 3 generations. Men seemed to have the jobs of carrying bags, looking after the victories and waiting in line while the ladies hunt for bargains.

We made our way to our favourite shoe shop Skechers, hoping to snatch up a good pair of runners for Kyra. But to our disappointment, all the shoes on sale were on sale any other day. None of the kids’ shoes was discounted this Boxing Day, let alone the shoes in season.

Our last stop was the outdoor adventure shop as we were looking to upgrade our camping gear. Last year, we really liked the instant pop up tent at Torpedo 7, we thought we would try our luck and get a new tent this year.

The Air Series was on sale alright, but they were $150 more expensive than last year’s sale. Inflation? Apparently not, it was due to a shortage of supply from imports affected by the pandemic. We hesitated and decided to sit on the offer while our impulse curve worked its way down.

At lunchtime, the cafes and food court were packed with people. There were hardly any empty seats left, so we decided to head home and end this Boxing Day shopping madness.

Happy baby fascinated by all the lights at the mall
Joah loving the Christmas lights at the mall.

© Photos by Kida

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Final Thoughts

I expected mega Boxing Day deals across my favourite clothing shops like Forever New, Decjuba, Max. But to my surprise, the same marketing tactics were used amongst the shops, “20% off on top of sale items”! So in other words, out of season stock needed to go quicker on Boxing Day, but new arrivals and top quality clothing would still be at full price. Sorry, hon. Hm, so it made no difference as to whether I shopped on Boxing Day or any other days for that matter unless I wanted to collect more out of season clothes that were hard to sell in the first place?

Tired and stressed, we walked out of the biggest mall on the shore with only a few items that were mostly full-priced anyway. If you asked me to describe our Boxing Day shopping experience in one word, I would’ve said ‘stressful’! Maybe we were newbies, but in my opinion, we didn’t get any bargains other than a dose of a placebo effect. On a hind note, didn’t we all go shopping for Christmas just days before the supposedly biggest shopping day of the year?

Our Takeaway

All this buying frenzy reminded me, showering the kids with toys, bags and material things will never fulfil their hearts.

We appreciate our minimalist lifestyle approach much more in the scope of things and would rather live on a pair of flip flops, a set of comfy PJs and wake up on an over-the-water villa somewhere in the Maldives.

And so, this experience brings me to a new goal in 2021. We have announced on our social media that our family will not accept material gifts in the new year.

However, we will continue to collect your valuable friendships and treasure your laughs and support!

Mummy and daughter taking Christmas selfie at the mall
We loved the decors at the mall though!

© Photos by Kida

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In the meantime…

What were your Boxing Day experience like and what did you buy?

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