Boxing Day sales in east and west Trinidad did not attract the usual crowds as in previous years, except for FireOne Fireworks.
When Sunday Newsday visited its main outlet early on Saturday morning in Macoya, it was already bustling with shoppers who were grabbing their stocks for old year’s night into the 2021 new year’s celebrations.
Sales manager Marcus Fernandez said they have had a good holiday season and based on earlier trends anticipated a large crowd for their Boxing Day specials.
The sale which lasted until midnight offered a free item of equal value with every item purchased, and post-Boxing Day, he said other specials will be offered.
Fernandez noted that at Macoya and smaller outlets’ setup throughout TT, covid19 health protocols were implemented and were being following at best.
He said, “The sales have been very good and so far, we have had an excellent response, and today (Boxing Day) has been our busiest day. From 8 am we had customers in the parking lot waiting to get in.
“The product that we sell is happiness through fireworks. People are trying to find happiness in the small circles they can have given the circumstances of the pandemic.”
Fernandez said as the day went by there would be an uptick in customers.
“We do have good turn out and expected the crowds to be maintained and even grow into the night. So far, we are very excited in what we have seen,” he said.
With a growing concern about fireworks and the effects on animals, Fernandez said there were things that pet owners could do to minimise the impact.
He said, “We have a section at our outlets dedicated to safety where we give out pamphlets and have been sensitising people on how to safeguard their pets. The information is also available on our social media pages. We encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions.
“New Year’s just like any other celebration throughout the year is one where people just want to celebrate. People just need to take the responsible action.”
Over the years, people via social media and other platforms have been lobbying for a ban on fireworks because of the amount of noise it created.
The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) last year also proposed a change to the legislation to have a ban on noisy fireworks after the death of a red kangaroo at the Emperor Valley Zoo, one week after the August 31 fireworks display at Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
Fernandez said, “Noiseless fireworks was something we are looking at for 2021.”
Shopper Patrick Santokee from Sangre Grande said fireworks has been an old year’s night tradition and every year they would take a trip to FireOne for stocks.
He said, “We spent almost $3,500 on fireworks, sometimes we spend a bit more. Fireworks is a big thing for us, and we do it just once a year, so we really want to enjoy ourselves.”
As for other Boxing Day shopping and sales, Santokee said, “Covid19 had an impact on us and put a damper on things, but we will be participating in other Boxing Day sales at Trincity Mall. Generally, there are good deals.”
First time fireworks shopper Nigel Simmons from Port of Spain said it was something new his family would be trying, because of the covid19 restrictions on gatherings.
He said, “The children suggested fireworks this year and it should be entertaining for them.”
And while there were crowds at the shopping malls in Trincity and Westmall, sales were not as hot as last year.
Several people said they came out to browse and get of out their homes a bit, while others said they were not shopping for anything.
Tenants and the management of Trincity Mall earlier this year had to review rental fees due to the closure of businesses during the first wave of the pandemic. It was one of the malls in which several stores closed.
At Westmall the atmosphere was the same. People browsed the stores not searching for anything but were looking for something that “caught their eye.” One pensioner, who did not want to be identified, said, “I did not come out before Christmas because of the crowds but I took a chance today. I just needed to get out a bit.”