UAE | Leisure

Mall staff in Dubai still all smiles after midnight

Shoppers were mainly tourists from GCC, Russia and China

  • By Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 15:25 October 20, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ GN Archrives
  • Shoppers throng the Dubai Mall. Malls in the emirate will be open for 24 hours during the 'Dubai 24 Hours' shopping extravaganza.

Dubai: At first glance, these men appeared as though they had sleepwalked and reached The Dubai Mall at 2am. They were the mall’s concierge, who, while clad in pyjamas with matching sleep masks on, entertained shoppers’ queries in the wee hours of Saturday.

The move is part of the promotional gimmick of The Dubai Mall as part of the "Dubai 24 Hours", a first-of-its-kind 24-hour shopping extravaganza in the emirate for the Eid in Dubai celebration.

Gulf News visited the world’s largest shopping destination and Deira City Centre just after midnight Friday morning to check on the people behind the continuous mall operations — the mall, store and utilities staff.

At 2:30am, Ebrahim (name changed), a concierge at The Dubai Mall, was working as though it was a usual work day. He smiled at customers, guided them where to go, and gave gift items to midnight shoppers.

“This is a new thing for us and we have to enjoy it. The good thing is we can take time in talking to people from midnight to 9am as there’s no rush. We can explain in more detail what they want to know,” the expatriate from Jordan told Gulf News with a smile.

“And if you love what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter whether you’re doing it at night or during the day, in this case, after midnight,” he added.

Gulf News spotted Janice, a Filipino saleslady who patiently waited for shoppers at one of the mall’s kiosks at 3am. She said that the crowd started to thin out by 1am but shoppers who stayed were mostly tourists from GCC, Russia, and China.

“Two days before the 24-hour shopping started, our sales weren’t as good as usual. But with this initiative, it is starting to pick up. Maybe next week during Eid there will be more shoppers,” she said.

Asked how they were coping with the new schedule, she said her boss divided the staff into two 12-hour shifts, including overtime. Drinking coffee and chatting with colleagues somehow helped them pull through the 48-hour non-stop operations since Thursday.

Majority of the mall goers late at night were Emiratis and Arabs. Some brought along their kids, who were mostly asleep by 3am. Popular Cheesecake Factory still had that familiar queue but it was not as long as one sees during the day.

Over at Deira City Centre at 4am, parking attendant Vinod from Nepal said people started to go home at midnight but there were still a number of shoppers who stayed. The hourly raffle draws that entitles shoppers to win Dh4,000 from midnight til 6am for three weekends until November 2 drew some crowds.

Mohammad, 25, a security guard from Pakistan, said that though there weren’t too many shoppers, the number had increased compared to Thursday. He said he expects more holiday shoppers next weekend.

Some salesmen heartily distributed cups of coffee and tea to their colleagues to “keep them awake”. Some used their time doing inventories, rearranging goods, and cleaning their space.

Shoppers Carlo Muniz and Madiha Zakir both said the initiative was good but could work only during special occasions.

Comments (6)

  1. Added 16:25 October 21, 2012

    I believe this is smart initiative and I am planning to go to the mall very late to enjoy a 'very late night' movie! It is also more convenient to tourists who wake up so late and like to spend late night for dinner beside the beautiful fountain in Dubai mall for example. Another good thing is that this initiative will likely decrease the "high pressure" on outdoor spots like JBR and Marina walk.

    Samer, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 12:53 October 21, 2012

    Was there! And absolutely loved it, was amazing. Shops in SA could learn a thing or three about ths and try to stay open later than 6pm to cater to everyone.

    Lulu, Johannesburg, South Africa

  3. Added 11:05 October 21, 2012

    I think this practice is nice, especially if the main malls can be linked to Airports, for example Miridif City Center is very close to the airport. Check in Counters and Shuttle service will be great for 24 hour operation of the Mall. Even authorities can plan a mall next to the airport for 24 hour operation.

    Mohammad, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 10:23 October 21, 2012

    Why DXB, even in AUH, i have yet to visit a 24-hr Patrol station/store that had no customers. I have waited in queue at AUH co-operative (multiple locations) at 4am or later on weekends! Perhaps this concept will stick on for during weekends and the height of summer.

    Roy, AUH, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 10:19 October 21, 2012

    I think it is a good initiative. Usually I am so tired from work and house chores and unable to go for a shopping in piece of mind. Even on Thursday evening I have a lot to do as the only day Friday I get off. By extending 24 hour mall opening hours have really gave me piece of mind. This way I am in no rush can calmly finish my usual chores can take a little refreshing nap in the night and can head up towards any choice of my mall for shopping. Hats off Dubai!

    Erum, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 09:41 October 21, 2012

    I definitely will be taking advantage of the 24 hour malls, maybe do some shopping, catch a late night movie and late dining would be good to spoil myself for a weekend. But honestly speaking, 24 hours for a mall is a little too much, extended hours would've been better, maybe till 2 or 3am, and morning from 10-11am. There will rarely be anyone willing to go to a mall at 5am in the morning, especially with the pleasant weather these days.

    Sarim, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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