Queues that never end, alleys that swarm and Christmas music; December has not even arrived as shops and malls are already crowded with customers who were hopeful of shopping for their gifts in peace despite the pandemic.
“As I entered the mall, I wondered why I had come. There are so many people! I wanted to turn around, but it will be much worse in two weeks, ”says Marie-Josée Bernier, who was doing her holiday shopping on Saturday at Promenades Saint-Bruno, on the South Shore of Montreal.
However, she took it in advance to avoid crowds for fear of contracting COVID-19.
But it seems that she is not the only one to have had this idea.
The mega shopping center of Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville was swarming with people on Saturday afternoon. Although physical distancing was difficult to maintain due to the crowds, all wore masks.
The government strongly advised Quebeckers on Thursday to buy their gifts before the start of voluntary confinement on December 17, if they intended to celebrate from December 24 to 27, when gatherings of 10 people will be authorized.
A month earlier
“Usually, I start shopping on December 22. I really took a step ahead to avoid the crowds, but we can see that it didn’t work, ”says Thomas Minville, looking around him.
The holiday craze usually kicks off on Black Friday at the end of November, when merchants offer great discounts.
However, the madness began at least “a month earlier” this year, reports Camille Rioux, team leader at Signé local, in Quartier DIX30, in Brossard.
“By October, we already had customers looking for gifts. They started so early to avoid standing in line with both feet in the snow this winter, ”she explains.
The latter also notices a craze for local purchasing.
“People ask us more questions, for example, about where our products come from. They are more curious ”, says Mme Rioux.
Good for spirit
Usually, at Noël Magique Perrin, a temporary decoration shop located in Brossard, it is the first snowfall that kicks off the season.
“Customers did not wait for snow or even December this year. They come looking for a little festive. What they tell us the most is: “O my god that feels good”. It’s good for morale to get into the holiday mood, ”says owner Marie-Josée Forget.
In Montreal too
At the Eaton Center in Montreal, the queues in front of UNIQLO, Canada Goose, Simons or The North Face stores discouraged many, the newspaper noted. 24 hours.
“I think I’ll buy online, it’s too crowded,” admits Ketleen Monrose, who was looking for inspiration for gift ideas.
– With the collaboration of Camille Lalancette, Agence QMI