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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Holiday shopping at super centers appears somewhat slowed by tropical wave

Customers lined up outside the Costco store in Caguas on Tuesday, the Fourth of July holiday, in numbers that an assistant store manager said were typical for any day of the week. (Richard Gutiérrez/The San Juan Daily Star)

By Richard Gutiérrez

Even though Puerto Rico is not a state and is instead a territory that belongs to the United States of America, many island residents celebrate U.S. Independence Day.

As is normally the case for holidays on the island, many people go on a shopping spree to get the items they need for their respective festivities, and stores tend to fill up with people, lines become very long and employees get overwhelmed with work. However, even though some may have expected the 4th of July to be one of those days where super centers might be impossible to visit, the STAR passed by two super stores in Caguas only to find out that traffic at the stores was pretty normal.

“Shopping traffic right now is basically normal here in Costco,” Felipe Báez, an assistant manager at the Costco store in Caguas, told the STAR. “We’re working with the same number of people we usually work with on any given day of the week; everything is under control.”

According to several weather news sources, a tropical wave was expected to pass over the island on Tuesday, which according to some employees might have slowed down traffic.

At the Walmart store in Caguas, an employee who asked to remain nameless due to company policies confirmed the expectation of low traffic on Tuesday.

“Due to the rain, we don’t expect there to be a surge in people coming over today,” the employee told the STAR. “People tend to come over the day before a holiday, that’s when the store gets super full.”

“The fact that stores are less cluttered on an actual holiday was also confirmed by one of the employees at Costco, Tomás Rodríguez, who believes shopping on the holiday is a lot less stressful than coming the day before.

“It’s the Fourth of July and I’m gladly taking the opportunity to buy some stuff on time,” he said. “Fewer people come on the actual holiday, so I try to take the opportunity and get the Fourth of July errands over with.”

Báez, the Costco assistant manager, said the items people buy were also affected by the rain.

“Right now I don’t see anyone buying beach things, which tend to be the hottest items on the Fourth of July,” he said. “I believe because of the tropical wave heading toward the island, there won’t be that many people going to the beach; therefore, there’s not many people buying beach items.”

Due to the weather conditions, many might not have been heading for the beach Tuesday, which gave store employees a somewhat slower day than they might have expected.

Báez pointed out that even though there was a long line right outside the store with people waiting to get in, that is something that happens every day.

And for those who thought it may be too late to do their grocery shopping on a holiday, the indications on Tuesday were that that’s not always the case; it might actually be better to shop on the holiday.

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