Fight for fukubukuro leads to sell-out confusion in minutes.

As one year gives way to another in Japan, people around the country begin the annual hunt for the best fukubukuro lucky bags, a tradition where bundles of goods are sold at a discount to help celebrate the new year.

One fukubukuro that a lot of people had their eye on since it was announced in December was the Uniqlo lucky bag, which was priced at 3,000 yen (US$25.90) and limited to only 50 pieces, due to be sold on 2-3 January and only at the global flagship store in Tokyo’s posh Ginza district.

Our reporter Seiji Nakazawa decided to brave the crowds and go into battle for one of the sought-after limited-edition bags, but as soon as he arrived at Ginza to make his way to Uniqlo an hour before it opened on 2 January, he wondered if he’d made the right decision.

As he headed towards his destination, he passed by some of the top department stores in the area, and there were already huge queues forming outside them, as seen in the photo above, of Ginza Mitsukoshi, and below, of Matsuya Ginza.

Seiji wondered if maybe he should’ve arrived earlier, or perhaps even camped out in Ginza like Mr Sato did while waiting to purchase an iPhoneX. After all, there were only 50 Uniqlo lucky bags being made, so what would happen if there were more than 50 people in line outside by the time he got there?

These thoughts grew stronger as he quickened his step and rounded the corner towards Uniqlo, but when he arrived, he was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief, as there were only around nine people in line.

▼ Seiji joined the queue and began the hour-long wait for the store to open.

The minutes ticked by, and the line gradually grew to around 25 or 30 people by 11 a.m., when the store was set to open. Soon after, one of the front doors opened and staff appeared, guiding everyone to have their temperatures checked and hands sanitised before entering.

It was a calm and orderly opening, which Seiji was grateful for, but just as his turn came to be temperature-checked by staff, another staff member opened the second front door and all hell broke loose. People behind him scrambled to enter through the newly opened door, and when one person dashed through, the others followed, with a lot of people rushing past the temperature checkpoint and hand sanitisers unchecked.

▼ Staff shouldn’t have opened both these front doors

By the time Seiji made his way up to the lucky bag corner, the scene was already chaotic. If things had gone according to plan, Seiji would’ve been tenth in place and able to choose between the small, medium, large and extra large bags, so-called for the sizes of clothing inside them.

Instead, Seiji was surrounded by more than a dozen people, all scrambling to get their hands on bags in their desired sizes, and a voice calling out “All medium sizes are sold out!

Seiji glanced at his watch and saw it was 11:08 a.m., which meant the medium lucky bags had all sold out in eight minutes.

For once in his life, Seiji was glad to not be an M size, and he was able to swipe the L size bag he wanted off the shelf just as another pair of hands was reaching for it.

It was a tough fight, but Seiji returned to the office triumphant, keen to show us all what he’d reaped in battle that day.

For 3,000 yen, and an hour in line, Seiji scored the following items:

  • AIRism 3D Mask (Newly released on 1 January)
  • Uniqlo Tokyo Original Eco Bag
  • Uniqlo Tokyo Original T-shirt
  • UTme! Original T-shirt Creation Plain T-shirt
  • Ginza Monotsunagi Project Special Leaflet
  • Ginza Monotsunagi Project Special Keychain
  • Ginza Monotsunagi Project T-shirt
  • 500 yen Coupon Ticket to use on the second and third floors of the Marronnier Gate department store
  • Coupons to use at famous stores in Ginza (Matsuzaki Shoten, Kobikicho Yoshiya, Kurashi no Kaori, Kyukyodo, G.G. Press)
  • Kurashi no Kaori Hand Soap & Hand Milk Samples
  • Drink Ticket for Ginza Senbikiya

And that’s not all — he also received this Uniqlo Tokyo tote bag, which all the goods were packed in.

Seiji’s bounty was well earnt, unlike those won by unscrupulous fighters who cut in line at the scene of the battle. Despite the mayhem, our reporter is just glad there weren’t more people in line that day, or else there may have been bruises and broken shelves, like the time customers ambushed this Uniqlo in Japan.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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