Queuing for a slurpie? Who are these people?
What is all the fuss about the Mall of Africa? It’s a near replica of Sandton City and, despite all the hype, appears to be a version with fewer shops.
Every shop housed in the Mall of Africa, with the exception of a few firsts in the country, are found in many other shopping malls that cater for up-market clientele.
On Friday, City Press spoke to some shoppers who said they were there for the opening specials. They suffered long, snaking queues outside retail stores such as Game in their burning desire to get their hands on the “specials”.
However, there did not appear to be much difference between the alleged “opening specials” at these mega retail stores than what is contained in the weekly items on sale everywhere else on most weeks. From Dion Wired to clothing chains and furniture shops such as Coricraft, everybody has them.
But one thing Mall of Africa has that Sandton City doesn’t is space. It is a breath of fresh air for those who love Sandton City but suffer from claustrophobia. While definitely not airy, the Mall of Africa’s layout is wide – with 18 rugby fields’ worth of retail space, according to the developers.
Most of that was crammed with shoppers this week, so if you don’t like crowds, give it a month before you go.
The mall also contains 300 shops that cater to everybody’s taste. Whether you are looking for high-end clothing or low-budget fashion, this mall has you covered.
For those with deep pockets, there are a few firsts in South Africa, such as The Kooples, Armani Exchange, and Zara Home for homemakers who are not afraid to spend. The usual favourites among the middle classes – including H&M, Woolworths, Edgars, Mr Price, Truworths, Foschini, Cotton On, Mango and Forever New – are all there.
The bigger spenders are advised to go straight to Entrance 5, where their likely favourites are housed. It has all the high-end designer shops you can think of.
Either by design or astrological coincidence, Entrance 5 will leave budget-conscious shoppers gasping when they see the likes of Versace Collection, Armani Exchange, Tiger of Sweden, Hugo Boss and many more.
Some opened on Thursday and Friday, while others are likely to open their doors next week. Who are these people? This was the irritating refrain of the advert for one of the major banks more than a decade ago. It was one of those earworms that would still be playing in your head hours after you had heard it.
I was happy when it was discontinued. But of late, it has come back to haunt me. It comes each time I see snaking queues of people – mainly adults – lining up to be among the first to taste some new burger, ice cream or doughnut that an international chain has brought to our shores. Not to get tickets for a rare music show or international sports event. Just munchies or slurpies.
This week, Gauteng’s busiest highway was log-jammed as 20 000 people tried to be the “first” to get inside Mall of Africa.
Who are these people? I asked that question many times this week, wondering why anyone would waste their Freedom Day standing in line for an average coffee from Starbucks. Or risk being crushed in a stampede at a new mall so that you can buy some mildly discounted goods that you would probably get at a sale elsewhere, if you looked hard enough.
As someone pointed out during the week: Do those heaving masses battling to get into Mall of Africa realise that it will still be there in a few years’ time?
Are the lives of the queuing lot so empty that this is the kind of boast they want to have under their belts? And one more thing: If you are the 3 582nd person to taste a new brand, are you still among the first? Indeed, who are these people?
INSIDE Thousands of onlookers and shoppers flocked to Mall of Africa when it opened this week