Singapore – A photo circulating online of discarded shoe boxes strewn across the floor at one of the shops affected by Robinsons’ closing served as a reminder of the “xia suay behaviour” shown by some Singaporeans when faced with some form of shortage.

After 162 years of service in the retail industry, Robinsons has announced on Fri (Oct 30) that it will close its stores for good, with the liquidation process of its two remaining stores at The Heeren on Orchard Road and Raffles City shopping centre already in progress.

These two department stores will remain open in the next few weeks to give way for stores to clear out products on hand. Crowds were spotted gathering at the two locations for the clearance sales. Facebook page All Singapore Stuff uploaded a video on Oct 31 of queues at one of the outlets.

In a follow-up post on Monday (Nov 2), All Singapore Stuff shared a collage of photos showing two separate instances when the “xia suay” (disgraceful or embarrassing) behaviour of Singaporeans was observed in response to news of closure or shortage. One was during the circuit breaker period where supermarket baskets filled with groceries were abandoned haphazardly on aisles as shoppers didn’t have the time to spare queueing. Another was a photo with the caption “Robinsons closing down” which shows opened shoe boxes scattered across the floor.

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Photo: FB screengrab/All Singapore Stuff

A report confirmed that hundreds of shoppers went into a frenzy, trying to grab one last item before the iconic department store closed. Some areas were cordoned off with a “caution” barrier tape to prevent another tornado of shoppers from passing by.

Members from the online community responded to the post, questioning if such behaviour was necessary. “When Robinsons still opened their doors, you all don’t wanna go in,” said Facebook user Muhammad Aminuddin Zulkifli. “But when closing down, the kiasu mentality (appears).”

Others commented that this behaviour, although shameful, was a “universal, natural consumer” response. “Have seen this sort of mad rummaging a few times in first-world nations and cities before during Black Friday, Thanksgiving or Boxing Day sales,” said Facebook user AG Wo referring to a few much-anticipated sale events.

Robinsons disclosed in a statement that restructuring and corporate advisory firm KordaMentha would be acting as the provisional liquidator for the remaining Singapore stores. Stores in Malaysia, specifically at the Shoppes at Four Seasons Place and The Gardens Mall in Kuala Lumpur, will also be closing its doors due to the company’s bankruptcy.

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ByHana O