No worries as SA splashes out on Black Friday despite economic woes

23 November 2018 - 16:20
By Iavan Pijoos
Customers arrived in their numbers at the Nike Factory Store in Woodmead, Johannesburg, for Black Friday bargains.
Image: Iavan Pijoos Customers arrived in their numbers at the Nike Factory Store in Woodmead, Johannesburg, for Black Friday bargains.

Despite higher inflation and rampant unemployment, South Africans flocked to malls and shopping centres on Black Friday. 

Economic data has showed that the economy was in a recession during the first half of the year and South Africans have also experienced hefty fuel price increases and an increase in VAT from April 1.

But when Black Friday kicked off at midnight, there was no shortage of customers for bargains marked down between 20% and 90%.

Several telecommunications operators and internet service providers also offered discounts.

Telkom, MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and many others advertised Black Friday promotions this week.

Unlike 2017's chaos, this year customers stood orderly in queues and security guards monitored the flow of people into stores - a stark contrast to last year's violence, pushing and shoving.

At Checkers Hyper in the Mall of Africa in Midrand, the most popular products were toilet paper, nappies, sugar, milk and two-litre cold drinks.

While many people pushed packed Checkers trolleys, others rushed to Sportscene to get their hands on discounted jeans and takkies.

Speaking outside the sportswear outlet, Oscar Nyamayaro told TimesLIVE that he was spoiling his wife and children.

"I’m here to buy nice things for my family and my kids. A few toys and some gadgets," he said.

Nyamayaro and his wife had big smiles on their faces as the excitement for bargain deals kicked in.

"You know man, I love Black Friday. I’m loving it big time, there is a lot of nice prices here," he said.

At the Woodmead Value Mart in Johannesburg, queues snaked their way towards the stores.

The reason was simple, everyone wanted to get their hands on a pair or pairs of Nike takkies.

One customer, who spoke fondly about his love for the shoes, said he had waited in the queue since 5am.

"Yoh my man, I have been here all morning. I should have packed a lunch box for this line," he said, adding that he had his eye on a pair of Nike Air Max shoes.

"I only want that one shoe, man. I hope they don’t run out of stock otherwise I will be very disappointed."

For some, one pair of takkies was enough. For others, seven pairs were the order of the day.

"I am living my best Black Friday life," said Carla Fine after she bought seven pairs of New Balance takkies.

She said the queue at the store was not "too bad" and she was "in and out in a jiffy".

She said she saved about 75% on the takkies.

"I was very specific about what I wanted, so I went straight to New Balance. I'm going to pop in at one more store and head back to work," she said.

Jabulile Ndlovu and her friend Samkelisiwe Buthelezi said the outing was frustrating.

Ndlovu said they had arrived too late at the Nike Factory Store. "The line is too long. I wanted some nice Nike takkies for my little one. I don’t think we are going to get," she said.

Her daughter is a year old. "I don’t know what to do now because the lines are too long."

Buthelezi said they would look for other stores. "We are very disappointed," she said.