Media Markt Sale Sparks Riot


Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "New Warsaw Express"

Electric goods superstore Media Markt opened the doors of its two Lodz locations at midnight last Thursday for a massively hyped January sale – and within minutes were faced with rampaging crowds, looting and eventually an intervention by riot police. Some 14 people were injured in the fracas, with the chaos at one of the shops only finally calmed by batoncharges from some of the 150 police called to intervene.
According to shopping centre managers, more than 9,000 had gathered outside the M1 and Galeria Lodzka malls for the opening of the sale, which promised amazing bargains ranging from simple hefty percentage reductions to Walkmans for one zloty.
By as early as 10 p.m., eyewitnesses said the roads leading into the stores were blocked by hundreds of parked cars.
"Lots of people were drunk and for me it was a surprise that so many parents had brought their kids with them so late at night," one eyewitness told Gazeta Wyborcza. The chaos erupted soon after midnight when the crowds were admitted to the stores.
The free-for-all quickly got worse at the M1 store, when the tills broke down around 1 p.m. Many shoppers simply left, but others decided to take their goods without paying. A shoving match erupted with security.
After police intervened to calm the situation, the shop was closed until 10 a.m. to clean up the worst of the damage.
At the Galeria Lodzka store, the rampaging crowd also demolished a neighbouring shop, but amazingly the Media Markt itself remained open through the night, recording sales of some PLN 2m by the middle of the next day.
Media Markt bosses did not comment publicly on events at the stores, but managers at the malls were less than impressed.
"If one of our 160 stores organises a promotion directed at a particular group of people, knowing the make-up of Polish society they should be aware of the potential consequences," Jaroslaw Szymczak, director of Galeria Lodzka told Gazeta Wyborcza. "I don't feel guilty for the level of education in Polish society or for the fact that people drink alcohol and act this way afterwards."

STEVEN MULLER

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