Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Rush on books! - Back-to-school shoppers in mad dash in downtown Kingston

Published:Sunday | August 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Jamaicans gone book hunting in downtown Kingston yesterday.
Scores of persons waiting their turn to enter one of the Kingston Bookshop locations in downtown Kingston.
Evaughn McKenzie, store clerk at Kingston Bookshop could spare only a few minutes with our news team as shoppers demanded his attention.
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Last-minute back-to-school shoppers could have trouble finding some books, particularly those for students getting ready to sit the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), as some book stores have already run out and are awaiting new stock.

Yesterday, scores of shoppers descended on the book stores in downtown Kingston seeking texts in the penultimate week before the official start of the new school year.

When our news team visited the Kingston Bookshop at 74 King Street, long lines, packed aisles and busy workers were all evident.

Paula Clarke, store manager, told The Sunday Gleaner that they had to extend their opening hours to accommodate the shoppers, who have been bombarding the business place since last week.

According to Clarke, GSAT books are going at a fast rate.

"The GSAT books, integrated readers and the pre-infant ones, those are some of the fast sellers."

"We started early this morning (Saturday) and within 15 minutes, the line was all the way to the back. There are a lot of mixed feelings. Some customers were a little bit irritable, but so far, it has been good. We have some very late shoppers, so we will probably open until about 7 p.m., as some people wait until the very last minute to purchase stuff," added Clarke.

An employee at the store, Evaughn McKenzie, was not bothered by the crowd.

"Usually, we open nine in the morning, but today, we opened at 8:30 and people were already outside. It's very hectic. We don't get a break. Sometimes we have up to five book lists working with at once.

"We got a stock of books last Wednesday, and by Friday, we didn't have any of them. Now we are out of GSAT language arts books. We have to order again," said McKenzie.

In the meantime, Shasha-Kay Gabs, a customer who was seen shopping for her daughter, said she would have been done with purchasing back-to-school supplies yesterday.

"I'm just here getting some last-minute stuff like the glue and cartridge paper and this one text book. My daughter is in grade two at the Dunrobin Primary School and she goes to school on Thursday, so after today, I'm finished," declared Gabs. At the Kingston Book-shop branch at 70B Kings Street, store managers had tight reins on the doors as persons had to wait outside until at least 10 persons exited the store.

'We have to regulate traffic and the cashiers are moving a little slow because they are tired," said store manager Ruel Matthie, while scores of persons waited to get their chance to shop.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com