A 95€ (approx $105) PS4 offer at a Lidl store in France ended in tears earlier today as police fired teargas to dispel a chaotic crowd of eager shoppers.
To celebrate the grand opening of the store in Orgeval, in the Yvelines department northeast of Paris, Lidl planned to flog the Slim 500 GB model of Sony’s popular PS4 console at a price the likes of which we’ve rarely seen before. The console typically sells for roughly 300€ in France.
Yet, news of the PS4 offer leaked out early yesterday courtesy of a picture shared by a store employee before spreading far and wide on social media.
Tempted by the offer, crowds amassed at the store hours before opening. Some even camped out in scenes reminiscent of a console launch day. By dawn, hundreds of people had reportedly gathered in front of the store.
Traffic came to a standstill on the adjacent interstate. Nearby roads teamed with hastily parked cars spilling onto pavements. Reports suggest some even drove from as far afield as the northern French town of Lille to bag a cheap PS4.
As opening time approached, tensions bubbled over as a lone security guard attempted to control an ever-expanding, impatient, and tightly-packed crowd.
Store management then informed shoppers that Lidl had opted to cancel the PS4 promotion. The official Twitter account of Lidl France explained:
Today, we believe that the security conditions are not met to keep the supermarket open. The sale of PS4 is also permanently canceled. We were very surprised by this enthusiasm, and we apologize for the inconvenience caused.
Local police intervened shortly after and employed tear gas to dispel the shoppers, managing to hit some of their own in the process.
A loudspeaker announcement beamed from a police squad car revealed Lidl had ostensibly sent the PS4 units back to the supplier. Police asked shoppers to calmly leave the area as the store would not open today.
According to social media, crowds have since thinned, but some remain hopeful that the store will open.
Last modified: June 17, 2020 12:21 PM UTC