Black Friday buy-in for sure
Thousands of shoppers flood stores to lay their hands on bargains after slow start to ‘specials’ day in the city
Black Friday has become synonymous the world over with large crowds camping outside stores or frenzied shoppers running amok, but East London stores were spared the chaos of previous years.
The Daily Dispatch visited a number of shopping centres between 6am and 11am on Friday to catch a glimpse of the activity.
Scenes of shoppers pushing to get into stores first and frantic filling of trolleys had played out in previous years, but this time around, shops appeared quiet during Black Friday opening.
However, as the day progressed, things became busier as shoppers ventured out much later to take advantage of all deals and discounts on offer.
Retail Park was relatively quiet at 6.15am, with the vast majority of cars parked around the Game complex. Game, which opened its doors at midnight, experienced large and bustling crowds, who appeared calm at least, as shoppers hunted for good deals.
Eric Oates, a shopper at the store, said he had originally planned to come in at midnight but was told the queue was filing past PEP.
Nevertheless, Oates said he had managed to get some of the deals he was hoping to lay his hands on, including a DStv Explora and some Christmas gifts, despite only starting his shopping at 5am.
He felt however, the size of the crowds and atmosphere were similar to last year.
Checkers in Nahoon, as was the case on past Black Fridays, overflowed with customers. Queues at the tills were so long that they snaked all the way down the grocery aisles.
Most customers were buying basic grocery items like margarine, meat and cooldrink.
Vincent Park, despite offering free parking, was quiet in the morning, but as the day progressed, the volume of shoppers increased.
East London newcomer and popular clothing store, H&M, was notably empty along with other stores during the morning visit to the mall.
The busiest stores were Pick n Pay and Game, with most people buying groceries.
Vincent Park shopping centre general manager Joseph Parsley, said the numbers of people shopping just before lunchtime was “crazy”.
“I don’t know where all the money is coming from,” said Parsley, adding that he thought retailers in the centre would be happy with the day’s takings.
He said that the centre’s Game store had been busy all day with a mass of customers entering the store at midnight.
Hemingways Mall had a jam-packed parking lot.
By the time the Dispatch left the centre, the booms had been opened to ease the flow of traffic in and out of the mall.
Things though still seemed slightly slower than last year.
Shopper Asakanye Qiki, who was mostly out to get groceries, also felt that the Black Friday experience was “not like last year”.
Qiki, who was shopping at Checkers at the time, said she thought the shops were emptier due to the value of discounts on offer.
“Last year it was full. It’s not as cheap now,” she said.
Scores of Mdantsane residents filled the Mdantsane Mall in NU6 to cash in on the massive Black Friday specials for groceries, clothes and furniture among other items.
The mall was abuzz with activity, with consumers pushing full trolleys and bakkie owners capitalising on the business opportunity – advertising their services to help consumers with transport.
Pick n Pay manager Sibongile Hlabiso said they opened the store just before 6.30am after feeling immense pressure from customers, who had inundated the mall corridors.
“We had plans of opening at 7am, but because the mall opened the mall doors earlier, we also had to do the same to alleviate congestion.
“People are rushing to buy groceries and they are coming in large numbers because they want to prepare for the stokvels and Christmas shopping,” he said.
At Jet Stores Busisiwe Lumnkwana said she came straight from nightshift to the store to buy clothes.
“R40 golf shorts are going to come in handy for the uniform we want at work, so I knew I could get cheap tops here.”
Zingiswa Bangani at OK Furnitures said she had been dying to buy herself a new bed.
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