It’s National Bookstore’s Warehouse Sale 2015!
My sister and I was there at 910am, opening time, on the very first day of the sale. Oh my, we thought we were early? The place was already jam-packed with people! There weren’t any baskets or carts left. Good thing we brought our own eco shopping bags with us.
Funny thing tho, everyone was eerily quiet, focused on rummaging through the tables and shelves of books. There were more than books on sale, there were office supplies, equipment, gift items and even Christmas decors and gift wrappers.
Before 10am, my sister decided to fall in line already while I finish up shopping. When I lined up with her at 10am, we were surprised to be told off by those in line that we were at the wrong line. So we traced our way to the end of the line, wow it was already snaked all the way back to the escalators, making a giant letter “S.” We figured we’d end up waiting ’til 12 noon.
So here’s the bad part, there wasn’t anyone from National Bookstore guiding the line. So people ended up going round and round trying to find the end of the line. We were already telling people off when they tried to cut in our line, “Doon po ang dulo ng pila!” (The end of the line is way over there!) A small but feisty girl in line even scolded the guard to go look for the end of the line and to make sure people weren’t cutting in ahead of us. We were the ones who suggested for them to make a cardboard sign with “End of the Line” to be held up by their staff so people will know where to go. Why was there such a looong line? They only set up 10 Cashiers! Duh, there was a thousand people there and only 10 Cashiers to serve them? Compute how many hours it would take to finish everyone.
After almost 2hrs of waiting, my sister decided to go hunt for food, it was almost 12 noon already. I had to carry her stuff to keep in line. I decided to get out of line and go to a secluded area when it was my turn to eat . Turns out the manager and head guard was there. They were trying to figure out where the end of the line was. Meaning, they knew they were out of control. I talked to the manager to warn her that people are already angry because they were so disorganized. The Cashier area should be totally separate from the shopping area and that they should use the poles with rope/tape ribbon to create a lining up area. She promised that they will fix it tomorrow. Haaay! We shouldn’t have gone on the 1st day then!
Weird thing was, after talking to the manager and making my suggestions, she was telling me to go straight to the cashier for senior citizens within that secluded area. Huh? “Naku hindi na po, unfair naman po sa iba na mas matagal pa pumila. Atsaka pag ginawa ko yan, magsusunuran young iba e di mas magkakagulo pa.” (No, thanks. It’s going to be unfair to those who were in line longer than I have. And if I do that, others will follow me and that would cause a riot.) I know, I know, I’m too righteous for my own good hehe!
By this time, my sister and I already made friends with the others in line with us. There was Jel, an architect, who came all the way from Parañaque; Maan, a nurse who came straight from her duty; and Stell, a college student who was our “lead beacon” in line. We were all telling our life stories, laughing and learning lessons from each other. Funny how sweat and waiting in line would make you kindred spirits and friends hehe!
After 2 hours in line, my sister decided to abandon me because she wasn’t feeling well. So I had to lug around her purchases aside from my own heavy bag. Whew! Talk about dedication!
At 3 hours wait, we finally saw the Cashier sign yey! We were at the last stretch of our waiting ordeal. Our spirits were buoyed up! But things got bad again… Another line was merging with ours! Whaaat??? A nice girl in the other line told us that they were told by the guard that their line was merging with ours. We were aghast because that’s so unfair to us who had been waiting for hours. But we couldn’t really lambast the girl because she was so nice and was just following what they were told. There was no one there from National Bookstore to complain to… Haaaayyy!!!
We finally made it to the Cashier pit stop yey! We were surprised to see that a Cashier area was cordoned off from us. Huh? Turns out, they set up another Cashier area near the escalators. It’s all good if they had gotten people in the correct line to move over there to service them faster. But what happened was they got people waaaaay behind us to cut the line and go straight to this new Cashier area. UNFAIR!!! If I had seen the manager then, I would have screamed her ear off!
Finally, our little group of new friends were able to make it to the Cashiers. We were soooo happy to make it finally after 4 hours! Imagine that? Waiting 4 hours just to purchase some books? We didn’t know we had it in us to be that patient (or foolish? Haha!) We went our separate ways but only after giving our phone numbers to keep in touch hehe.
I was too tired to find food downstairs I decided to just do Mcdonald’s Drivethru and head home. My son was already having his nap so I was free to eat and take my shower. Wow shower! My body was aching from standing in line in sweat and lugging my sister’s and my bags so I decided to go have a massage at a spa nearby. Wow massage!
When I came home again, my son was so excited to see my surprise for him. A whole bagful of books! Seeing how happy he was and excited to read them made that horrific 4 hour experience all worth it. Mothers will always do everything for their children!
So would I go back to National Bookstore Warehouse Sale next year? Yup! The prices of the books were waaaay cheap at P10 for children’s books and P30 for an adult novel. Even best sellers like J.K. Rowling’s book was only P100 and it was hard bound. Only next year I would bring with me lessons I learned this year. I won’t be willing to wait 4 hours in line again, I will be smarter next time!
*NOTE: The National Bookstore Warehouse Sale runs from Aug 13 – 16, 2015 from 9am – 8pm.
1. Don’t go on the 1st day of National Bookstore’s Warehouse Sale. They are still so disorganized and everything is still trial and error when it comes to lines and paying. Wait ’til the 2nd day. By then, they would have already improved their service. Don’t worry about not getting good items, they replenish their stocks every so often.
2. Go in your most comfy clothes and shoes. They have poor ventilation and only a few electric fans so you really end up in sweat. Plus the long line will make your feet ache. Better yet, bring an extra shirt to change into afterwards.
3. Bring someone to fall in line for you. Or take turns with someone to shop and fall in line. Expect snake-like lines!
4. PLEASE DON’T BRING YOUR LITTLE KIDS! It’s going to be a nightmare both for them and for you. The heat and the crowd will either make you lose track of your child or distress them and keep you from shopping. Poor kids and poor you!
5. Bring snacks and lots of water! Some of those in line with us were so faint from hunger. We offered to buy them food so they could stay in line. National set up a small table with cookies and water but with hundreds of people there, it won’t be enough.
6. Bring your own shopping bags or better yet a trolley type shopping cart (anything with wheels). Don’t assume there will be baskets or carts available for you there. Some were even using the stock boxes to put their purchases in and kicking them around in line.
7. Bring a fan with you. It’s really very hot! The place is not well ventilated plus with hundreds of people present, you’ll surely sweat. If you don’t have a fan with you, use the folders or envelopes for sale there hehe. That’s what we did… And ended up buying them.
8. Befriend those in line with you. It will help while away the time waiting in line. Plus you can ask favors like keeping your place in line while you buy food or shop for last minute items.
9. If you are only purchasing 2 books, don’t bother going at all. The wait in line won’t make it worth it.
10. Go to the Manila International Book Fair in September! They are very organized and the place is spacious and air-conditioned so you can shop comfortably. Plus there are more bookstores to shop from!