Costco opens its first store in China and shuts down after five hours

Not to be outdone by Walmart or Sam’s Club, Costco opened its first store in Shanghai, China on Tuesday, August 27, 2019.

But due to the insanely massive crowd of shoppers, the new store had to close it’s doors at 1:40 pm just over five hours after it opened, reported both the South China Morning Post and CNN.

Apparently though the company and people were expecting that the turnout for Costco’s first location would be big, they still were not prepared for the massive numbers of shoppers.

Not only did the crowds of shoppers cause jam ups in certain areas of the store but the traffic outside of the store was backed up on roads surrounding  the store resulting in a wait of three hours, it was reported by CNN. 

Customers especially jammed the meat department and the food court, elbowing each other and arming each other as they attempted to get as many different items at really good values. The ever present rotisserie chicken was a popular item in the meat department.

It was so crowded that the store was forced to close several hours early. Apparently a text message was sent to members of Costco telling them that in an attempt to provide a better shopping experience the company was closing in the afternoon and even begged their members to ‘please don’t come.’

One of the reasons for the deluge of shoppers was the discount on membership fee – $28 USD and for all the other steep discounts as well as unusual items that were being offered to first-time customers at the company’s Shanghai location. 

The South China Morning Post reported that luxury items were on sale for huge discounts which included items like MCM leather backpacks and Prada bags as well as the super popular Hermes Birkin bags too.

No matter whether customers bought big ticket items or other merchandise such as food or clothes, checking out was a nightmare.

Customers waited for three hours just to get a parking space in the parking lot and then were Being warned by Costco employees that it would take another two hours just for them to check out. But that did not deter customers at all.

One shopper posted on Weibo, China’s ‘Facebook’ website that the only way to describe Costco’s ‘grand opening’was that it was just plain ‘crazy!’ It was so chaotic, customers were even fighting over items! 

It will be interesting to see what day two will be like.