When commerce goes criminal - Jakarta Police investigating chaos at BlackBerry launch event

By Adam Zeis on 28 Nov 2011 10:43 am EST

We're no strangers to chaos when it comes to getting a good deal. For years Black Friday events here in the States have caused massive commotion, including riots that have left numerous people severely injured and just a few days ago overzealous shoppers could be seen tearing up a DVD display. Last weeks stampede at a Jakarta BlackBerry event wasn't too far off from riots like these and now authorities are wondering just who is to blame for the chaos that ensued. Police are questioning both RIM (namely event organizers) and officials from the Pacific Place mall where the event took place and are trying to find out just what caused the crowd of thousands to go over the edge. Over 90 people were injured as the event broke down late last week. According to police the investigation is ongoing and South Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Imam Sugianto said "There is every possibility that the case will continue to develop".

Hopefully everyone can learn a lesson from all of this. I know we all go crazy for our CrackBerry, but remember that it's just a phone - safety first!! If you think fighting over a phone is nuts, check out these people going batty for a $2 waffle maker :-)

Source: Jakarta Post

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

When commerce goes criminal - Jakarta Police investigating chaos at BlackBerry launch event



in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere

it is really too bad people have to get hurt during events that are supposed to be fun and exciting
could have been a lot of reasons for this unfortunate incident 

in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere

This is where RIM needs to have effective operations people that can make a decision (Jim was there...). The promotion was the first 1000 customers could purchase a BlackBerry Bold 9790 at 50% off.
Any executive with vision and strategy could have seen the demand and the huge line-ups (you can't buy this kind of excitement) that morning and should have made an announcement that EVERYONE that purchased that day would receive the BlackBerry Bold at 50% off. That would have made for great positivity and further generate excitement for a world market launch in Indonesia.

What ended up happening? Chaos ensued when people realized they might not get the deal and RIM had to offer the discount to everyone anyways and now we have BB Rioters.

I assume most of you weren't there. RIM actually did say that everyone there WILL get a phone irregardless of the 1000 limit but encourage people to stay calm but people still continue pushing. Its said that ONLY 400+ people actually get the 50% discount. About 100+ people went home nothing even though they got the wristband and the queue number.

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well, if you closely look at 0.12 look what is the police touching at? LOL
I'm an Indonesian in a different country, as far as I know Indonesian people are stubborn and they can't queue well due to the bad habit and the impatient of the people..
Suggestion for RIM if they want to make this event they shouldn't limit the number of the smartphones, they can just make a day event or never make such an event..
Rather than wasting your time and put your health in risk in queing, I rather buy a new smartphone with no discount.. Besides, Indonesian people use these smartphone not for BIS, in fact they only want to show off for the others the new smartphone..

I agree the bad habit of Indonesians. Just look at the way they drive.

Also, RIM did not directly participate in this event. Its actually by a 3rd party event organizer. Also, if they don't limit the number of phones, then either RIM or the organizer would have no way to control their cost since giving 50% discount is a cost to them or Marketing expense.

Also, I don't agree that Indonesians use these just to show off. They do like to chat and they use the BBM heavily. Yes no BUSINESS purpose but BBM is part of BIS. Also, there are some people queuing up just for the fun of it and I was one of them.

with that kind of fanatics there, RIM should try to maximize their profit,
no need for discounts, just give away some free gifts..

I do agree. 50% is too much but again, its the event organizer (not RIM directly) that hosted this event and they want to make a WOW event :)

Considering 99% Indonesian shouldn't even have cell phones(or other high tech devices for that matter) let alone blackberries that needs a more expensive type of data plan this is indeed sad.

I kid you not, people would spend x times their salaries to buy a BB/iPhone, their priorities are out of whack. For what? To talk to the other sad people about how pathetic their lives are, to show off how well they have it by waving around an expensive phone yet can't even afford to pay for electricity?

However, people you see in the video are hoarders. They'll buy as many as they can and resell it for profit.

The world makes sense again....

Although there are some hoarders but most of them are actually genuine buyers because you are not allowed to use cash and you must use a credit card that matches your ID. Doing so pretty much filter those people who dont have a credit card. This ensure that nobody will hire someone to queue up for them and pay cash.

But the above are theory. In reality, people pay 300-400 thousand Rupiah to the security to jump queue, OR borrow someone's credit card and ID (as long you dont look too different) to buy it.