Then there were the pairs of housewives who were chiefly concerned with price. They could be seen making enquiries about prices and bargaining for better ones. Couples, young and old, sat eating fast food and talking in low voices. At every other corner, there was a small stand and a young enthusiastic sales person trying hard to attract the attention of the shoppers to the amazing prowess of some innovative product. Thought they were getting a good deal of attention judging by the crowds that mulled about the stands.
Banners proclaiming huge discounts swayed about from the ceiling of the centre. It was still fairly early in the morning for people to be shopping but then of course, it was the season of sales. All over the tiny town, huge shops were holding sales. Almost everything could be got at a bargain. During the current period of unemployment and retrenchment, the sale was probably what many had looked forward to.
Only then could they afford to buy that branded pair of shoes or that glittering diamond bracelet that was at other times, priced well beyond the average man’s pocket.
As sat and waited, I noticed that there were a fair number of security officers walking about. In particular, they lingered about the stretch of jewelry shops further down the centre. The centre held many different shops selling varieties of products that ranged from household stuff to branded, designer goods to exclusive jewelry.
The shops were mainly situated on two sides of a sloping stretch of road. The road was closed for traffic to enable shop owners to walk about more comfortably and in safety. I perceived that there were crowds of people at the jewelry shops.
Amidst the hustle and bustle, a man in dark glasses and dressed entirely in black stood by the side of a lamp-post, at the end of the raw of shops. Two security persons seemed to be in heated conservation with him. Then, almost casually, the security man produced some small bags from the inside of their shirts and quickly placed them into the hands of the man in black who quickly disappeared into the crowd. Sat there, deeply baffled. The crowd was lost in its affairs.