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Kids knocked to the ground as Finns scramble for free sweets

A new shopping centre’s special opening weekend offer of half a kilogram of free sweets drew huge crowds—but things turned ugly when it looked as though there were not enough sweets for everyone who had queued up.

Karkkijono Oulun Ideaparkin edessä.
Image: Olli Paakkola

Stores opening in Finland have in recent years offered free gifts to draw in new customers. Buckets are a particular favourite, with several provincial retailers offering free buckets to the first few hundred customers through the doors.

In September scuffles broke out when a store in Pirkkala offered iPhone 4’s for a hundred euros. Hundreds of people turned up at the crack of dawn to queue up, and tempers boiled over (siirryt toiseen palveluun) after an hour or two.

Oulu’s Ideapark tried something different on Sunday, offering 500 grams of candy for the first two hundred people to arrive. The offer drew big crowds, including families with children, but demand outstripped supply.

“The other door opened first, and there was a much shorter queue at that entrance,” said Olli Paakkola, who was on the scene. “The queue where I was and where the queue was longest, that door didn’t open right away. Those waiting at the other door were able to run to the kiosk and get the free sweets.”

Paakkola said that small children were knocked to the ground in the scramble for free sweets, and that many people were left without.

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