Days 280-283 ‘Canadian Tire’ $ spinner

My alarm just went off at 5.45am on a Sunday morning in Canmore.  No, I’m not going to an early riser’s church service or to work but I am partaking in a cultural experience of sorts; in fact I have done so for the last 3 mornings.  What am I doing you ask?  It’s called ‘lining up for freebies’ at the opening of the new ‘Canadian Tire’ store in Canmore; the first 100 customers every day for 4 days each get a $25 voucher to spend.  Canadian Tire is a large chain store that stocks everything from clothes, toys, home wares, sporting gear and hardware to automotive stuff; something for everyone!  I read about the opening in the local paper when we had Starbucks the first afternoon in town. This was meant to be; our condo is just 200 metres from the store and heck I was going to be there every day to earn us money. Didn’t quite know at the time what I would use the money for but you could nearly say this is a close as I’ve come to going to work all year! 

The first morning the store was due to open at 7 am so I was there about 6.20 am and there were only about 15 people in front of me.  The crowd grew quickly and by the time the doors opened at 7 am there would have been close to 200 people waiting.  I had a lovely time in line watching the sunrise over the Rocky Mountains and listening in to the entertaining conversation between two old buys behind me. There was a ‘grand opening’ and ribbon cutting in the store and then they let us all in to collect our $25 vouchers.   With voucher in hand I walked around the store, checked out what was on offer and returned to my family having purchased a $3 cookie sheet for baking.  Harris was inspired and declared he was going to join me the next day.

Next morning Harris and I set the alarm for 5.45 am and got ourselves dressed and out the door in record time as we had everything ready to go.  As we reached the lift in our building we could peek out and see the line up – bugger, it was really long.  We raced down the stairs instead and ran to the line.  I was certain we wouldn’t be in the first 100 but got Harris to count the line up a couple of times.  Yep, we had about 130 people in front of us.  However, there was confusion amongst the crowd about when the store was to open.  Yesterday was 7am and today it was supposed to be 8 am.  Many people thought it was going to be 7 am and left the queue when they heard it was going to be later since they may have had work and other things to do.  Harris was keen to return to the condo but I said we should stick it out.  Just as well because after standing in line for some time, the manager came out and announced that due to the opening time issue they were going to open early at 7.15 am and they began handing out the vouchers.  When we got towards the doors the vouchers did run out … but again the manager apologised and decided that we should all have something for waiting.  That something turned out to be a $30 emergency kit for your car.  We got two of them!  They were large and heavy so I approached the manager and explained our ‘travel round the world’ story and asked if we could swap one of the kits for something else.  He reached into his pocket and gave me the last $25 voucher he had!  Oh happy day! We’d be back the next day and earlier!

Day 3 of the ‘watch-the-sunrise-in-Canmore’ campaign.  Harris and I got there even earlier today and we had a great spot in line; within the first 20 people.  I stood next to a lovely women, aged about 70, and we chatted the entire 1 ½ hour about travel and the world. Harris had a hot chocolate and iPod to keep him entertained and the time passed quickly.  It was below freezing today and I was starting to feel it.  Just as I was shuffling my feet to keep them warm, whilst watching the sun rise over the mountains again, the manager announced he was going to let us all in early.  Hooray!  With two more vouchers in our hands we walked around the store again, chose a toy for Karlee the dog in Australia (for her birthday) and returned to the condo to get warm.

Day 4 and today the store was due to open at 9am.  I was keen to get there by 6.30 am since it was the last day of vouchers today.   I set the alarm for 5.45 am and went down the hallway of the building to peek down at the queue.  There were only 4 die-hard people in line at this time and the weather…. -6C!  Harris and I had laid out our many layers of clothes so commenced the process of dressing; I filled the hot water bottles for the wait; grabbed some entertainment, snacks and the picnic rug so we could wait comfortably for the next 2 ½ hours in the cold.  There were about 15 people in front of us and more joined the queue just after us.  There were more little kids in line with their parents today than ever before.  Harris and I barely had enough time to spread out the rug, intending to share it with the family with 2 little kids beside us, when the manager came out.  He announced that he didn’t want us all waiting in the bitter cold for 2+ more hours so he handed out vouchers to us right then and asked that we be fair and not line up for anymore today.  You betcha!  We were out of there and had plans to return to bed.  Harris managed to sleep but me; I tossed and turned and decided that the chance to enjoy some early morning solitude at the computer was too appealing so here I am typing now.  That didn’t last very long before the cartoon watchers and Steve woke up, but oh well.

What a fun experience and profitable; over the past four mornings Harris and I ‘earnt’ $150 and one $30 car emergency kit.  Thanks Canadian Tire Canmore!

This is our view of the new Canadian Tire building, from the foyer of our building, near the elevators. We could have a good peek at how long the queue was each morning which guided us how much fast we should move to join the line!



  • Simone Dullaway November 15, 2011

    That sounds so cool! I bet Scott would have been in that – he can’t get enough of free stuff. He would have had Erin and Michael out there to each try and get a voucher. I bet it would have been the only time this year that he would have been out the door and ready before me!!!!

  • Win Bartholomai November 16, 2011

    Exciting stuff. Is Harris saving his $ or has he managed to spend it or will he exchange it for US$ How good was that having your accommodation virtually opposite the store – and great that the manager gave out the vouchers early – amazing! Now that’s an experience to talk about! Happy travels!

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