Eid in Dubai

Dubai is set to out-do itself yet again. This year’s Eid festivities are going to be unlike anything we have seen or experienced before. Not only is the entire city lit up in lights to wring in Eid festivities, the government of Dubai has come up with a brilliant plan to initiate 24-hour shopping at all the major malls across the Emirate in a highly innovative and strategic marketing initiative that capitalizes on Dubai’s position as a shopping hub to pull in the crowds.

The

campaign is one-of-a-kind and an initiative that has never before been explored. It has already become a big hit among residents and tourists alike, as well as among the many people who are not likely to visit the malls in the wee hours of the day.

Malls stay open around the clock for 3 weekends in a row; the weekend before, of and

after Eid, and operate for extended hours over the week with shops closing at 1am and food courts closing at 3am. The challenge for these retail and service outlets lie in matching up to the service standards during the rest of the day.

Malls have been hiring up to 25 per cent more cleaning, maintenance and security personnel outsourced from labour supply companies but stores and restaurants do not have this as an option. Part-time store hires for three weekends are also not feasible which means staff at all outlets have to work longer shifts to keep up with the new schedule. This would add up to an additional 6 hours a week to their 48hour week schedules.

Service staff in Dubai are already under much pressure to achieve high returns. It is worth wondering if they will be able to function effectively through these longer hours. It is a major hurdle for working mothers and people who have children and aged parents to tend to. The Gulf News reported that certain staff even bring in their children in to work to sleep in the store during the early morning hours.

That’s a lot more demand on the employees to deliver round-the-clock service. Not only will stores have to extend the hours within each shift, they will also have to account for overtime for the staff, not to mention additional compensation or flexibility for Muslim employees.

The flip side to this is that it is a temporary arrangement that gives them the chance to be actively involved in Eid activities from their workplace. And with the holidays coming up there are bound to be a stampede full of people enjoying offers and discounts at the malls and making the most of special promotions that are held between 1-6 am.

Whether it will bring in returns large enough to justify the hours and effort is yet to be seen…