Wayne Chiridza, Showbiz Reporter
THE Black Friday festive season shopping craze took Bulawayo by storm yesterday as people elbowed each other at shops to get the best deals with some getting injured.
An old lady identified as Sithabile Nhlanhla said she made her way to Edgars (Jason Moyo St) as early as 5AM to ensure that she does not miss out on the discounted clothes.
“I came here before 5AM so as to get the best clothes at a cheap price. I thought I’d be the first one, but it seems like other people might have slept here as I found dozens of people.”
People had waited patiently for shops to open doors and when they eventually did, there was a stampede that saw security guards at most outlets being pushed away. One security guard at Edgars was injured and had blood stains on his uniform during the rush to grab clothes, some of which were being sold for a mere RTGS$20.
Edgars Stores had slashed prices on selected items with a discount that ranged between 50% and 90%.
Another shop where people flocked to was Edgars’ sister outlet, Jet, which also had its fair share of drama forcing security at one point, to close the shop. From there, people were allowed in, in batches to try and contain them.
“We’ve been forced to close the doors because if we keep them open, it’ll be crowded inside so this is the only way to control the crowds,” said a Jet security guard.
People had to wait for their turn to shop while security eased pressure inside.
For those who were stuck outside, it meant the nice clothes were running out which made them very impatient especially after seeing those who were inside walking out with plastic bags full of clothes.
“We arrived late when the gates had been closed so we were forced to wait outside. But being outside means that clothes are getting finished inside but we have no choice but to wait for our turn,” said a lady identified as Charmaine Nyoni who was standing in the queue.
Due to long queues inside the shops, the shoppers, both old and young, ended up sitting down in the shop as they waited to make payments.
“I thought coming in early would save me from all these hassles as I’d be first, but after getting inside, those who’re young were faster than me. Now I have got my clothes and I’m forced to wait again due to the long queue,” said an old lady identified as Gogo Nyoni at Edgars.
As the day progressed, the shops were still being emptied by shoppers and after the whole frenzy, there were still deals out there that people kept their eyes out for.
“After leaving here, (Jet) I’m going to go around town to look for other places which might also be selling their goods at a discounted price, maybe I may get a good deal,” said a successful shopper, William Mlauzi, as he left Jet.
Small clothing outlets like Hpeez also had their Black Friday specials but it seemed people were targeting the bigger brands as there were few people at such outlets.
In Victoria Falls, people crossed over into Botswana, Namibia and Zambia where prices of goods were comparably lower than locally. However, there was activity especially at Jet and Edgars shops where there were long queues as people took turns to do shopping.
The shops opened to the public as early as 6AM and security had a tough time controlling them.
In Hwange, Edgars had to close mid-morning after the huge crowd broke the shop’s front door and windows as they tried to gain entry. However, there was a general complaint about a limited variety of goods in the shops. — @waynecas.