Rabat - When the Mega Mall in Rabat decided to host an offline Black Friday event, no one anticipated it would lead to anarchy and disarray. That, however, is precisely what occurred, surprising officials in Jumia. After 60 years of marketing success in America, traditionally held the day after Thanksgiving, Jumia decided to hold the first Black Friday in Morocco. Hailed as the “shopping celebration” of the year, Black Friday is generally propagated by large commercial retailers and seen as the kickoff to the Christmas shopping frenzy.
Rabat – When the Mega Mall in Rabat decided to host an offline Black Friday event, no one anticipated it would lead to anarchy and disarray. That, however, is precisely what occurred, surprising officials in Jumia. After 60 years of marketing success in America, traditionally held the day after Thanksgiving, Jumia decided to hold the first Black Friday in Morocco. Hailed as the “shopping celebration” of the year, Black Friday is generally propagated by large commercial retailers and seen as the kickoff to the Christmas shopping frenzy.
Morocco World News was on-site for the event and witnessed the ensuing chaos firsthand.
Around 6pm, Jumia’s officials were putting the touching finals of the Black Friday event, held in the lower level of the Mega Mall. Boasting approximately 600 products all offered at drastic price reductions. As news of the sale went viral, people began to gather in excited anticipation well ahead of the appointed start time. It should hardly have been surprising considering that products on sale included washing machines, surfboards and refrigerators at MAD 500, computers at MAD 800 and gadgets at MAD 10.
When officials opened three gateways to welcome the customers, it was clear the unprecedented sales event was creating acute excitement in the shoppers. Orderly behavior was abandoned as people pushed past each other to grab the products they wanted. In more extreme cases, a glass gateway was broken in the melee and there were disturbing instances of people attempting to steal the products instead of paying for them legitimately.According to the event’s officials, although there were approximately 100 persons in charge of security, trying to manage the event and quell the anarchy, a group of youth took off their clothes and started shouting to open the store’s doors. A crowded group in a narrow lane was agitatedly attempting to gain access another way, while others commenced pushing each other, causing an uproar among the customers there for legitimate purposes. Some in the crowd even managed to make their way to the press area, where there were also products on display, taking every one of them.
Nothing is free though
Following the uncontrolled damage, officials instructed security agents to shut all the doors and hold anyone who could not produce a proper sales invoice for whatever they were intending to leave the store with. Some less than honest individuals got around this problem, however, by simply removing smaller products from their packaging and secreting them in their pockets.
Online shopping is the only solution
Following the sabotaged event, Jumia’s officials condemned the outrageous behavior of stealing products and wanton destruction of property.
Speaking to Morocco World News, Chief Executive Officer of Jumia Morocco, Bastieu Moreau, said, “Actually, we wanted to show a big promotion of product physically displayed, acknowledging what Black Friday means, and show people that what we do is real. The aim of the event was to allow people to shop in person on Black Friday and see the products with their own eyes,” Moreau added.
In spite the fact that this inaugural event was marked by financial loss and property damage and did not go exactly as Jumia’s officials had hoped, Bastien considers the outcome of the event as “positive for Jumia.” He went on to conclude, “We intended to contact in person with our customers with in-person shopping, [but in vain]. However, we are happy to see people like the promotion, but it would be better to do it online.”
Edited by Constance Guindon