The promise of good deals had many people in Metro Vancouver foregoing sleep and lining up for hours for Boxing Day sales on Wednesday.

Customers were lining up outside a Future Shop in downtown Vancouver at as early as 5 a.m., hoping to get good bargains on electronics like televisions, computers and PVRs. One customer emerged triumphant, saying he saved about $500 on his purchases.

“It was definitely worth getting up early,” he said.

In Burnaby, the shopping areas were supposedly so packed with people struggling to get through the traffic that some were even apparently calling the police for help.

"Shoppers stuck in heavy Boxing Day sales parking lot traffic, pls don't tie up 9-1-1 emergency lines to report it's taking too long," tweeted Burnaby RCMP in the afternoon.

Staff Sgt. Steve Crawford said at least one woman called the police, saying she had been stuck inside the Metrotown parking lot for an hour. Crawford said he understands why people in such a situation would feel inclined to call 9-1-1, but he wants people to remember that the number is reserved for emergencies.

In Vancouver, Janine Ball, manager of a Best Buy on Cambie Street, says she has noticed a difference in volumes of sales compared to last year.

“We’re busier than last year, very happy with the traffic,” she said. “And customers in general are being very particular about how they’re spending their money, but they’re spending it.”

Other seasoned shoppers say despite the eye-catching signs, finding a good deal means doing some research before you head into a store.

“You really do (have to know where to shop) because you go into places that are typically places for people to go, and you realize that they have nothing, absolutely nothing,” said one shopper in downtown Vancouver. “But there are some places if you know where to look, you can get some good sales."

Despite the seemingly good deals, however, experts say the discounts can be erased if those shopping with plastic don’t pay the bill right away.

“The deals that you think you’re getting on Boxing day, if you’re only planning on paying the minimum amount, this deal could end up costing you to two, three times what you originally purchased the item for,” warned Jeff Schwartz, CEO of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.

With files from CTV British Columbia’s Nafeesa Karim