The pictures of the opening for the Shanghai location of the Costco chain painted a clearer image of the stories coming out of China, which stated that a deluge of buyers clogged up parts of the store and built up traffic on roads outside of the warehouse resulting in a three-hour wait, the news agency reported.
Shoppers crowded around the meat department which included the omnipresent Costco rotisserie chicken and the food court, with elbows and arms, were thrown in each which path as customers tried to select up various items.
The sheer quantity of people forced the store to shut down hours early, according to the news agency, and a text message to members reportedly read, in part, “To offer you better shopping experience, Costco will suspend business within the afternoon.
The madness was, partly, due to the deep reductions — an annual Costco membership reportedly only value $28 — and unusual items being offered to first-time clients of the Shanghai location. Discounts had been seen on several luxury items, the South China Morning Post reported, including Prada tote bags and MCM leather backpacks there was also reportedly Hermès’ super-popular Birkin bags available (though the Post didn’t have a price available for that item).
And even when you did manage to get a big-ticket item, and also one thing on the smaller scale, such as food, checkout was a nightmare. In case you managed to wait out the three hours to get to the parking lot and find a spot, employees were warning customers that it will take two extra hours to check out, according to the Post.
All in all, the Costco managed to remain open just till 1:40 p.m. only five hours after it first opened.
“There’s no other phrase to explain Shanghai’s Costco but crazy,” one person reportedly said on Weibo, China’s micro-blogging site.
“It was chaotic as crowds of shoppers flocked to get some good bargains,” a clerk told the Post. “There were bust-ups between anxious buyers.”
It’s not entirely clear what the plan might be for the crowds who will return for Costco’s second day, but take a look at the slideshow above to get a glimpse of the madness from Tuesday.