We always meet different types of people during the sales: there are those who harass the sellers with questions, those who hide products to buy them later and those who take 1 hour to make a choice. It’s annoying, of course, but it’s nothing compared to enraged consumers, ready to do anything to obtain discounted products. They are the worst customers during the sales and they are also found at each promotion in the supermarket. Ready to sell their souls and their children for a cheaper jar of Nutella, promo junkies can become very dangerous if someone comes between them and discounted merchandise.
1. PS4s at €95 in Yvelines
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In June 2020, Lidl opened a new store in Yvelines and decided for the occasion to offer PlayStation 4 consoles at 95€. The average price of a PS4 in the trade being 300€, hundreds of people were present at the opening of the store. Gathered in front of the doors before the opening, the customers did not respect the barrier gestures in force in any way (the first confinement had just ended). As a result, the store decided not to open, angering the crowd.
2. Nutella for €1.40 at Intermarché
Everyone remembers the consumer madness caused by the promotion on Nutella in 2018. Several supermarkets had announced a promotion of -70% on 950g jars and this good deal fueled lust. In Intermarché stores, customers were jumping on each other and fighting for the last pots of spread at €1.40.
In addition to all this mess, Intermarché had to pay a fine of 375,000 euros because the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control deemed this promotion illegal. It wasn’t worth it.
3. Televisions at 30€ in the Hérault
In January, a Géant Casino in Montpellier offered 140 centimeter wide television sets on the shelves for the modest sum of €30.99. The news quickly spread through the supermarket and dozens of customers flocked to the checkout with their television sets. The problem is that it was actually a display error: the price of the TV should have been €309.90 (a comma shift that makes the difference). Disgruntled customers were unable to walk away with their valuable television sets and the intervention of law enforcement was necessary to force them off the premises.
4. Diapers at -70%
After the huge publicity stunt of the Nutella promotion, Intermarché decided to ration its products on promotion to avoid riots. In 2018, diapers for children were sold at a price of €7.18 instead of €23.95, i.e. more than 70% reduction. Despite employees’ precautions, customers still crowded in to get what they had come for.
5. Electric scooters at Auchan
In 2019, Auchan stores offered electric scooters in their catalog for the modest sum of €149. Shoppers rushed to take advantage of this bargain, creating crowds of people all over the mall.
6. McDonald’s 1 day 1 good plan
In April 2019, McDonald’s launched the “1 day 1 good plan” operation. Every day for 3 weeks, a new promotion was available in McDonald’s restaurants. The day the BigMac was sold for €2, dozens of people lined up to buy it. We judge, but we understand.
7. In Taiwan, customers change their first name for free sushi
In March 2021, a Taiwanese restaurant created a crowd movement at the registry office. The restaurant offered for a few days to offer a full meal to all its customers who had the word “guiyu” in their name (which means salmon). As a result, more than 150 people decided to change their civil status name to eat for free. In Taiwan, you can change your name three times in your life and for a free meal, I might have done the same.
8. 50% off products at the Virgin Megastore
In 2013, the global chain Virgin Megastore was placed in compulsory liquidation and the last 26 stores in France were forced to close. Before closing, all stores sold their cultural products by offering 60% discount for each product purchased. This exceptional promotion caused monumental crowds in all the stores of the country and the destocking of Virgin was interrupted after three days of clearance sale as the situation was difficult to manage.
9. A pressure cooker 4 times cheaper than the competition
In 2019, Lidl put a new connected pressure cooker on sale at €359, i.e. 4 times cheaper than a Thermomix brand pressure cooker. For many customers it was a real bargain and the pressure cookers were sold out within a day in some stores. Yet it is still very expensive this case.
10. H&M’s Balmain collection
It had already happened in 2009 and it was even worse 6 years later. In 2015, H&M released a collection in collaboration with the luxury brand Balmain. Like a first day of sales, hundreds of customers rushed to the stores to buy the much-desired clothes, all to resell them 6 months later on Vinted. Mass consumption is beautiful.