Hundreds of shoppers who regularly patronize the magnificent Blantyre Shoprite stores at Chichiri Shopping Mall in Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre, were Friday taken by surprise with the shop’s unannounced closure.
Since morning shoppers have been frustratingly bouncing at the shop’s main entrance after finding the electronic doors appropriately locked.
During week days, Shoprite opens at 09.00hours and closes at 20.00hours but on Friday the South African chain store remained closed.
Worsening the situation, there was no advance notice stating their impending closure, triggering more anger in shoppers’ hearts who were left with nothing but to curse management for wasting their time.
At around 15:30hrs when Nyasa Times reporter visited the shop, the store was still closed with no business activity inside apart from the lights being on.
Over 40 people (not certain if they were all buyers) were seen scattered at the spacious main entrance trying to figure out as to what might have forced the store to close without notifying the customers but there was nobody with a clue.
There was no presence of security personnel as well who could have possibly told the shoppers what had happened. Some neighboring shops also claimed they were not aware of the reasons behind the closure.
“This is rubbish, how can a big shop like this fail to inform its customers about their closure? Do they not know some people drive from outside Blantyre to purchase specific commodities here, it’s a shame?” fumed one lady at the shop’s entrance who claimed had travelled from Neno specifically for the shop.
“I have braved the rains to come here only to find this, sometimes names also deceive us,” she added before disappearing.
Another shopper was overheard wondering if government of Bingu wa Mutharika has finally ordered the South African chain store to pack up and go after the president recently accused the foreign investors of creating forex problem because they externalize the foreign currencies.
“Look at this, time and money wasted. They can’t even have the courtesy to place notices on the doors why they are closed and for how long they will remain as such and yet they claim to be international. I wonder if this is the way they also operate in South Africa,” a decently dressed man in his 60s was heard talking to a woman believed to be his wife.
Main shopping centre
Of late, Nyasa Times survey have revealed that apart from normal purchases, many Blantyre residents tussle at Shoprite to buy bread which is sold at an affordable price of K160 as compared to the K 230-K260 per loaf sold in various shops.
Many people also rush to Shoprite at lunch hour to buy something for their midday food which is deemed to be relatively cheaper and nicely prepared.
“I hope they have not been hit by the forex and fuel shortages that they cannot import anything,” one young lady punned.
Nyasa Times failed to establish what might have really happened for the popular one-stop shopping point to close as management could not be traced and the office phones were just calling.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :