It was on a sunny, cool Thursday night that the students of Limerick’s university and colleges congregated at the Crescent Shopping Centre. Here, they had been told was to be an event, an event that would solve all wardrobe issues. From the morning struggle to find a top you hadn’t worn all week, to a pair of shoes that’s soles weren’t worn to your skin. This, rumour had it, was to be the pivotal night of shopping. This was The Mega Student Night.
Word of the event spread quickly approximately three weeks ago at the start of the semester when the Crescent Shopping Centre announced their elusive event. In the following days and weeks, the event’s page on Facebook began to fill with images and information on the discounts. These ranged from the highly anticipated 50% off Ristorante Del Arte on the night, to the 20% off the popular shoe shop, Schuh, on the night. Among other popular stores that offered 20% off to the hungry and penniless students were River Island, H&M, Quiz and Zumo.
The evening of September 29th in Limerick was riddled with traffic. It took up to an hour for students travelling in cars and city buses to make the trek to their destination with the rush hour traffic combined with the mass of people attending. On arrival, the car parks proved to be packed, with several people resolving to leave their cars on the side the driveway in and out of the centre. Inside, there were similar scenes. On first entering the centre from the Omniplex entrance, one would notice the lengthy queue at Ristorante Del Arte. Their 50% off offer overwhelmed their neighbours’ Rockin’ Joes, whose deal consisted of two meals for €15. As students continued their way through shopping centre, it was obvious many students suffer from worn soles. Schuh was mobbed. The entire store was decked out in staff trying to deal with the hordes of students that so desperately needed a good pair of Sketchers.
Other stores featured similar scenes. For Penneys, all checkouts were in operation, while the Spin South West stand was under siege by dozens of students. The radio station broadcasted live on the night, giving away prizes both on the show to listeners and to attending students.
As the night was supposedly drawing to a close at 9 pm yet there were still masses of students around. Stores and restaurants struggled to shoo out lingering shoppers who picked up the final few clothes, shoes, and products for the night. On the night, students described the atmosphere as “Christmas Eve”-like.
Overall, the night was a success. The only real issue towards the end was a matter of fitting all these students into a city bus so that they could get home safely. The Crescent Student Night will be repeated in the future years. It was a welcome sale for those who are tight on cash at the beginning of the semester.