‘Like piranhas after fresh meat’: chaos as fashionistas grab bargains

2014-07-21 00:00

HUNDREDS of women swarmed designer stores in Durban in scenes of “comedic chaos” yesterday — from changing in the aisles to “catty” threats between shoppers in hours-long queues.

After the same seasonal sale triggered stampedes and injury concerns at some stores last year, the Young Designer Emporium’s nationwide “Naked Sale” yesterday was controlled with new rules, including: “Keep your clothes on!”, “Respect our security guards!” and “20 items of clothing per person!”

Around 300 people — just 10 of them male — started camping outside the YDE store at the Pavilion at 3 am, armed with blankets and chairs.

Arguments erupted in the corridors after the 8 am opening time as shoppers claimed others had jumped the queue, while, inside, there were complaints that some women were “hoarding” clothes visibly too small for them.

One man who joined his girlfriend in a queue at the Pavilion before 4 am said the act of holding a coveted, cut-price dress in full view of desperate female shoppers left him “scared for my life”.

Renesh Sukhoo from Chatsworth said it was absolutely chaotic. “I had to stand out of the way in the hope of not getting in the way of [these] ladies. They were just grabbing clothes. It was like flesh-eating piranhas going after fresh meat.”

There were similar scenes at YDE Gateway. One staff member said racks were almost bare by lunchtime. The sale saw edgy garments worth well over R1 000 sell for R120 each.

Chanelle Lutchman, a dedicated fashionista, walked away with six items, having been the seventh person in the queue.

“The people in front of me kept spaces for their friends so I ended up being the 14th person in the queue,” Lutchman said.

“It was not hostile or hectic this year, it was well organised.”

The shoppers said this was thanks in part to a staggered admissions system.

A staff member at Pavilion’s YDE said about 300 people were in this store all morning and at about midday the shelves were empty.

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