Manitoba

Winnipeggers brave cold weather for Boxing Day deals

Freezing temperatures didn’t stop people in Winnipeg from taking part in an annual tradition on Sunday morning: lining up outside stores in the early hours of Boxing Day in the hopes of getting a deal.

More than 100 people physically distanced, wore masks in line outside Best Buy store early Sunday morning

Photographer Mikey Jablonski braved the cold to wait in line for deals on camera equipment on Boxing Day. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

Freezing temperatures didn't stop people in Winnipeg from taking part in an annual tradition on Sunday morning: lining up outside stores in the early hours of Boxing Day in the hopes of getting a deal.

For Sean Bennett and Carter Wiwchar, that plan was one hatched last-minute on Christmas night in search of a Sony PlayStation 5.

The pair got up at 4:30 a.m. to stop for breakfast from McDonald's before snatching the first spot in line outside Best Buy on St. James Street by 6 a.m., when the temperatures had dipped to about –22 C with a wind chill that felt closer to –31.

"There was a huge stalemate in the morning, where everyone's sitting in their cars," Wiwchar said.

"We just decided we were going to be the first people and that's what happened."

And it wasn't until they'd stood in the frigid temperatures for a while that Bennett said they got the bad news from a staff member who came out to see what people were hoping to get once the store opened.

Carter Wiwchar and Sean Bennett were the first people in line outside the Best Buy store on Winnipeg's St. James Street on Sunday morning. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

That location had already sold out of the highly sought-after gaming console before Christmas.

But that didn't dampen their spirits, Bennett said. It just changed their plans a bit.

"We're Winnipeggers, we're just too stubborn to give up…. We're already in line, we'll find something," he said.

"I'm here to make a story. I'm coming home with something I don't need."

More than 100 people lined up outside the St. James Street store early in the morning, but many said they felt safe in line since everyone was physically distanced and wearing face masks.

Jaswant Dhanoa said he was in line with one mission in mind too: getting a 75-inch Samsung TV to replace one for his kids that had broken recently.

He said he got to the store around 4:30 a.m. to make sure they didn't run out.

Jaswant Dhanoa was also among the first people in line on Boxing Day morning, hoping to get a TV. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

For photographer Mikey Jablonski, the one thing worth showing up for that early in weather this cold was camera equipment.

"I'm doing pretty good. The feet are pretty cool, but other than that, body's warm. Other than that, I'm having a great time here," he said after waiting in line for about two hours.

"It's worth the while getting up this early. [You] spend it in the cold, but you get the hot deals."

More than 100 people lined up outside the St. James Street store early in the morning, but many said they felt safe in line since everyone was physically distanced and wearing face masks. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

Rakibul Hasan showed up with three of his friends who are in search of a new TV for the house they're renting together.

The roommates aren't in search of any particular type — just one that works for all four of them.

Rakibul Hasan and his three roommates waited in line on Boxing Day for a chance to choose a new TV for their house. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

"If we get a good deal, that works for us," Hasan said. 

"Because it's our choice…. We are prioritizing everyone's comments."

But the cold did get to some people in line.

Averee Fontaine was there because she saw an upgraded version of her Ninja-brand blender was marked down.

But the smoothie enthusiast said as the wait dragged on, she started to wonder whether the discount was worth the discomfort of waiting in a Boxing Day line.

Averee Fontaine waited in line in the hopes of upgrading her blender on Boxing Day. But as the wait dragged on, she said she wasn't so sure it was worth it. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

"This is my first time and I'm regretting it. I probably won't do it next year," Fontaine said.

"But I've already waited so long in line, so I'm going in."

With files from Erin Brohman

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