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7-hour wait from 4am just to taste a cake

WHAT’S a seven-hour wait when there’s something sweet to be had at the end of it?

The Lady M cake shop in Shanghai IFC Mall, which had to close on Tuesday due to security concerns over large crowds of customers, reopened yesterday.

And back came the long queues - with the first intrepid customers lining up at 4am.

But this time round there was a heavy security presence and clearly divided sections for customers eating in and those buying take-out cakes.

Not that all the eager customers seemed too impressed once they finally got their hands on the product.

A woman surnamed Li who used a scalper to queue up on her behalf told Shanghai Daily, “I would say it’s worth the price I paid because now I know I will never join such long queues to buy them myself.”

The Lady M cake brand originates from New York - perhaps it’s the Big Apple association that explains the fascination, or possibly a social media craze that just has to be experienced in person by devoted “netizens.”

At noon yesterday, there were about 200 people waiting in the take-out queue, and the line was no longer open to new customers.

According to a sign at the end of the line, the last person allowed to queue up would have to wait six hours to get their hands on a cake.

It was a bit easier for those eating in. There were only dozens of them waiting their turn.

The take-out line was largely made up of scalpers who bought the cakes to sell on to other people - for a hefty consideration of course.

A shop assistant at a fashion boutique opposite the cake shop said scalpers started to arrive on Monday, the second day the shop opened.

“The crowds blocked the corridor and went out of control on Tuesday morning, and gangs of scalpers started to fight with each other,” she said.

Yesterday, queuing in the corridor wasn’t allowed. The first customers turned up at 4am and two hours later the line was closed to new arrivals.

They had to wait outside the mall in an underground passage leading to Lujiazui Metro station.

One scalper said when the shop opened at 11am, it takes about five minutes for a customer to get his or her hands on the take-out cakes - the shop sells a maximum six slices of cake per customer.

The scalper paid 75 yuan (US$11) for one slice of the cake, and sold it on for 180 yuan.

Li, who admits to having a sweet tooth, said she bought the cakes at double their original prices from her scalper. She wanted to try them in Shanghai, after having tasted them in the brand’s Hong Kong franchise.

“I don’t think it tastes any superior to cakes of the same flavor elsewhere,” she said.

She added there are no long queues at the Hong Kong shop.


 

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