‘Going out of business’ sale causes chaos in Israeli mall

“To my shock, while I was standing in the check-out line, people started breaking into the store. They even knocked down an elderly woman,” said an eyewitness.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

While Americans may be used to seeing “Black Friday” stampedes, in which customers flood shopping centers the day after Thanksgiving in search of deals, chaotic mall scenes sparked by deep discounts were mostly unheard of in Israel.

But now, one fast-fashion store’s going-out-of-business sale has brought the phenomenon to the Jewish State.

Spanish retailer Zara’s branch in Rishon LeTzion’s Rothschild Mall will be closing down after the Passover holiday, after a tough year punctuated by mall closures and sky-high unemployment rates.

With margins tighter than ever, the store’s operators are holding a massive liquidation sale, slashing their prices on both older items and newer products in an “everything must go” sale.

Most items in the store cost 30 shekels ($9) and the opportunity to purchase the European retailer’s fashionable apparel at low rates led to unprecedented chaos.

Sonia Kravchenko, a Zara shopper who arrived at the store at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning to make sure she could snag a deal, told Israel Hayom that while store security did their best, the situation quickly devolved into anarchy.

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“I was one of the first people to enter the store, and at first, everything went smoothly. The guards were only allowing shoppers [in line outside of the store] to enter when shoppers left, exactly in line with the [Health Ministry] guidelines,” she told Israel Hayom.

“To my shock, while I was standing in the check-out line, people started breaking into the store. They even knocked down an elderly woman. I hope nothing like this happens again. It was really scary.”

In a video that Kravchenko shared with Israel Hayom, tens of shoppers rush past the store’s security, as a guard tries to stem the flow of people by lowering the entry grate. In the chaos, an elderly woman is knocked to the ground. The woman is immediately helped to her feet and appears unhurt.

It appears that the chaos spooked the store’s management, who decided to close the store early. One Facebook user wrote that she’d waited in line with hundreds of other people for five hours, only to be told that she wouldn’t be allowed to enter the store.

“People came from Kiryat Ata, Jerusalem and other faraway places,” she wrote, adding that the decision to close the store was “indescribable chutzpah.”

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“You should be ashamed of yourselves,” she fumed.

But the complaint led to backlash among other Facebook users, one of whom wrote, “All of this for clothes?Embarrassing.” Another wrote, “What, are they giving out free gifts?”

One user kept her response short and sweet, writing, “People have completely lost it.”