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.