Mall of Africa: Queuing for a slurpie? Who are these people?

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?

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