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Social distancing violations expected on Black Friday

2020-11-26  Maihapa Ndjavera

Social distancing violations expected on Black Friday
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The most awaited annual sales day, Black Friday, is expected to be subdued this year due to so much uncertainty about job security and steady incomes that usually include bonusses. This is to be in stark contrast with the Black Friday of the previous years when people slept in front of the shops and trampled over each other to get that spectacular discount. 
Omu Kakujaha-Matundu, a senior lecturer at the University of Namibia (Unam) said the mood started waning in 2019: “First because consumer incomes became more depressed in 2019 due to the economic slowdown and secondly when consumers realised that the bargains were not that great after all.”

Kakujaha-Matundu said over and above the more depressing income generation caused by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and layoffs, which spell great uncertainty for everyone, consumers will be wary of not adhering to pandemic regulations such as social distancing. 

This means shops will only allow a few customers in at a time, leading to shoppers wasting valuable time in return for little benefit. The economics lecturer advised that shops could be more innovative and have a week-long promotion starting on Black Friday, instead of trying their luck during a single day. 
Kakujaha-Matundu advised that consumers rather do the right thing and not waste money now but rather save for 2021 school fees and January stress.  

Also talking to New Era, Natalia Shilongo, a Windhoek-based consumer, said there is so much uncertainty around Black Friday as it is the first of its kind during Covid-19 and she expects Covid-19 regulations to be violated.
“Black Friday comes with long lines with customers waiting for stores to open, confusion, the chaos of customers once the retail doors are opened for business and social distancing will not be maintained as numerous customers will be barging into the shops to grab the advertised sale products,” stressed Shilongo.

She added that many individuals have lost incomes during the pandemic, so the number of consumers flocking to the shopping mall is incalculable, and hence projections might be biased if based on the pandemic experience or compared to previous years.

According to her, consumers are irrational and lack the resources necessary to judge the uncertainty and rely on heuristic evidence and often trust in different potentially unreliable resources.
“Just because income streams have been affected does not necessarily mean a decrease in demand during 2020 Black Friday as compared to the preceding year 2019. So one should expect a shocking experience,” she said.  -

2020-11-26  Maihapa Ndjavera

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