Pretoria – Residents in Pretoria east seemed far more set on having a puff on their favourite brand of cigarettes after a banning on the sale of tobacco nearly five months ago than stocking up on alcohol.
Smokers queued from before 7am when the Spar in Wapadrand opened its doors, owner Henrie van der Watt said.
“I ordered my supply well in advance, but it seems as if the suppliers cannot keep up with the demand.
“I only got about two thirds delivered of what I ordered.” Van der Watt hoped that things will run smoothly from now on and that the suppliers will be able to keep up with the demand.
A smoker who does not want to be identified, said she was at the door when it opened, to buy her usual brand.
“I am fed-up with the counterfeit brands, although I must admit, at the end they all tasted alike to me. But at least I no longer have to feel like a criminal in order to get my hands on a pack of smokes.”
Spar as well as Tops in Wapadrand had signs across the stores telling people that due to the shortage, they may only buy one carton or 10 packets each.
Van der Watt, who is also the owner of the adjacent Tops as well as the Tops at the Lynnwood Lane centre, said there were very few customers waiting to buy alcohol.
It also seems as if the big suppliers such as SAB were running a bit behind in their deliveries, he said.
His stock was low on SAB beer, as well as wine, as the suppliers seemed to be running low at this stage. Van der Watt said the ban on alcohol sales had cost him more than R80 000 in stock which he had to destroy as the sell-by dates had lapsed.
He said he had a few nervous moments on the eve before his two alcohol stores were due to open, as the truck delivering the alcohol and cigarettes from the suppliers said due to the demand they could only be there around midnight.
“But they were true to their word and they delivered,” a relieved Van der Watt said.
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