Friday, December 02, 2011
A(n) (un)worthy fight
A week has passed yet my mind still lingered on what happened last Friday at Pacific Place, Jakarta. That day there was a sale of BlackBerry Bold 9790 (or fancily called BlackBerry Bellagio) at 50% discount (means the price slashed down to Rp 2.3 million or around USD 255) for the first 1,000 buyers. It's a new series of BlackBerry and the producer had decided to make the first launch in Indonesia (Jakarta) of all places in the world, presumably to honor the country which has contributed to the rise in BlackBerry sales when the smartphone sales in other countries dwindled.
Apparently to many Indonesian people, "new gadget" plus "heavy discount" or "low price" equals to "must have!". What's the evidence? Here they are:
The event organizer (EO) must have understood this equation well, so they handed out red-colored wrist band to the first 1,000 visitors. What they forgot to anticipate is the mass of people who did not manage to get the wrist band: How to handle these people? How to get rid of them properly?
And chaos was what followed. Having been left without a word to leave the spot because the quota had been reached, a lot, a whole lot of people who did not get the wrist band persisted to stay in vague hope of making into the 1,000 early buyers or that the EO had at least extra stocks of the phone on hand. Many had come since dusk, even spent the night at the location. Therefore when the EO finally announced that they have got the 1,000 buyers and tried to disband the crowd, it was too late.
The tired mass had become easily aggravated, so when some people tried to walk through the queue to reach the front line, the orderly lineup broke out into angry throng. It was almost like a stampede: People pushed their way forward, leaving many stepped over, wounded, fainted, or worst, died.
I was not there. I got the account of the story from media and words of mouth. But that's enough to say that it was so sad. Were the efforts, the pain, the victims really worth it? It's only a phone, for God's sake! A phone whose value will deteriorate when a new version comes out. A phone which is not considered the ultimate gadget in the universe one must have.
And it's not like those people did not have a phone already. I'm sure they have had one, or two probably. Were their time, their attitude and manner, and most of all, their life, really worth another phone just for the sake of 50% price cut or the phone brand?
Was it the last drop of water on earth? Was it a livestock one must secure because of its scarcity? No. No. It was not.
On one side, the incident sent a good loud and clear message to producers of gadget and other life style-related goods: Indonesia is a great market where you can sell almost anything at almost any price as long as you can convince people that what you sell can lift their pride and prestige. Be sure to not miss this market.
On the other side, we should remember that in Indonesia too there are still many lineups such as these:
Didn't these pictures make you wondering: Where have our humanity and humility gone?