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Bulk buyers cause long lines at Big Bad Wolf book sale

Masajeng Rahmiasri
Masajeng Rahmiasri

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, April 23, 2017  /  01:21 pm
Bulk buyers cause long lines at Big Bad Wolf book sale

Although it was supposed to be for VIPs only, many customers struggled with long queues during the presale event at the Big Bad Wolf (BBW) book sale. (Shutterstock/Galyna Motizova)

The Big Bad Wolf (BBW) book sale officially returned to the Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE) in BSD, South Tangerang, on Friday. As previously reported, event organizer PT Jaya Ritel Indonesia has increased the number of cashiers from last year’s 32 to 60 to avoid long queues.

However, bulk buyers, also known to Indonesian netizens as jastip – short for jasa titip (buying service), dominated the supposedly invitation-only presale on Thursday and reportedly caused long lines at the cashiers. Customers had to wait for as long as four hours to finally take their purchases home.

Read also: Should you bring your kids to the Big Bad Wolf book sale?

Cut Putri “Putri” Kencana Wungu, a buying service provider said, “The buying service can make it easier for people from outside Jakarta to enjoy [the books].” Putri said that aside from helping people from the other regions, she also helped people from Jakarta to buy books, with the example of workers and parents who couldn't come to the event themselves. Up until Friday, some 500 people from throughout Indonesia had used her service to buy books at the BBW sale.

Putri attended the BBW presales on Thursday and spent approximately Rp 80 million to buy about 1,000 children books for her customers. She uploaded several pictures of the books to her Instagram account prior to buying the books, allowing customers to choose items and contact her. These books were sold with an additional service fee of Rp 25,000 each, excluding delivery fees.

Read also: Beware of Big Bad Wolf: 10 fun facts about the book sale

Siti “Diyah” Mardiyah, another buying service provider who frequents events like the BBW, purchased 200 children books and spent approximately Rp 50 million at the presale. The Bandung resident had no plans to return to the BBW after the official opening. "Actually, I only came [to look for books] for myself. I just wanted to see what the BBW was like. [I] did not come merely for profit. I was just offering services while I was at the event.” Diyah’s services start at Rp.10.000 per book.

Read also: Shortlist for inaugural Asian Children's Book Award is out

On Friday, the BBW organizer sent out an apology through social media: "With a humble heart, we apologize for the very long queues, for our overwhelmed staff, for every inconvenience caused." 

PT Jaya Ritel Indonesia president director Uli Silalahi told The Jakarta Post that the situation was unpredicted. Uli said that although she had predicted an increase in transactions this year, she didn't expect it to be that much during the presale. “Who would have thought that a person would want to spend hundreds of millions [on books]?” she asked.

Uli did not comment on the buying services. Instead, she stressed that the organizer would take measures in response to "things that make other customers uncomfortable."

She also stated that the organizer was still discussing strategies to improve the service. “Maybe there will be an express checkout counter and a counter for bulk buying."

Positive comments have started to appear on BBW's Instagram post's comment section. Customers stated that conditions "had gotten a lot better," as there were fewer people and shorter queues than on the presale day.

The Big Bad Wolf book sale event runs until May 2 and is open 24 hours every day until the closing day. (asw)