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Tired eyes and a hunt for pyjamas as I skip queues on a 4am trip to Penneys

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Reporter Ciara O’Loughlin browses at 4am in the Penneys store in the Blanchardstown centre

Reporter Ciara O’Loughlin browses at 4am in the Penneys store in the Blanchardstown centre

Reporter Ciara O’Loughlin browses at 4am in the Penneys store in the Blanchardstown centre

I set off at 3.30am yesterday for Penneys in Blanchardstown Shopping Centre to check out its post-lockdown, 39-hour shopping extravaganza.

With tired eyes and limited sleep, I certainly wasn't feeling Christmassy, but a stunning centre decked out in fairy lights and decorations changed all that.

It gave me a sense of normality, something that many shoppers told me was the reason they got up early.

It reminded me of a pre-Covid world where popping into Penneys 'for a few bits' would mark the start of the festive season.

No queues were to be seen outside the shop at 4am and relaxed shoppers were well able to stay socially distanced as they browsed the store.

Pyjamas were the big hit as shift workers, those vulnerable to the virus and Penneys enthusiasts hit the store.

Fluffy

Red-and-white Christmas Mickey Mouse pyjamas were sprawled out at the top of the store, while fluffy PJs seemed to be low in stock.

The men's pyjamas were also sparse, with no fun Christmas variants to be seen. However, staff assured me they will be getting more.

This will be good news for early shoppers, as most said the main things they were looking to buy were cosy PJs, socks and underwear.

Sisters Emma and Holly Duggan told me they were in to buy "Christmas bits, pyjamas and stuff like that".

They said it was a "bit of a novelty" to come in at this time and if Penneys were to do it again they probably would pop in early to skip the queues.

However, a spokesperson for the retailer said this was just a one-off for the time being.

Most shoppers said they came in to skip the queues, while others had just finished work.

However, this was not the reason for Amanda Mulvaney and her mother Mary, who flocked to the store at 4am to avoid big gatherings of people.

"I'm actually with my mam and she has a terminal illness, so we found that this would be the best time because it's basically empty," Amanda said.

"She wouldn't be able to queue because she would get too tired and there would be too many people, so this is the best.

"That's the only reason why we're here. This will probably be our only visit before Christmas unless they do some more 24 hours."

Ciara Smith and Santina Keddie both said they decided to pop into the shop at 4am because they were up anyway.

As someone who only ever gets up this early to go on holiday, I couldn't relate.

"I don't sleep at night anyway so I thought I might as well come in and get some shopping done," Santina laughed.

"I dread shopping and I hate queues, so that's why I got up and came out."

Trickle

Ciara was picking up some "bits" for her children. She said she missed Penneys while it was closed, as she would usually pop in after getting paid.

"I thought it'd be a bit quieter as well," she told me.

At 7am more shoppers began to trickle in, but all in all it remained quiet, and nothing compared to the queues that were seen on Tuesday morning.


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