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Japan jeweller draws thousands with diamond giveaway

By
AFP
Published
today Jun 1, 2009
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TOKYO, June 1, 2009 (AFP) - Thousands of people queued for hours Monday 1 June outside a luxury jeweller in Tokyo that was offering an unusual promotion to ease the recession blues -- a giveaway of 5,000 free diamonds.


Photo: AFP/Yoshikazu Tsuno

A queue stretched for several city blocks from early morning as people waited for Mauboussin in upmarket Ginza district to open at 9 a.m. (0000 GMT), eager to get one of the 0.1 carat rocks, worth about 5,000 yen (50 dollars) each.

Atsuko Aoki, 65, said she and her retired husband arrived at 6 a.m. to get one of the precious stones being offered as a special promotion for the jeweller's recently-opened Japanese flagship store.

"I left my husband standing in line and walked around Ginza," she said.

The free offer was part of a "bright campaign to drive away the recession", with the company also offering to set the diamonds in rings and necklaces for customers who want to pay for the jewellery.

However, the morning's happy mood turned sour for some when it became clear that more than 5,000 people had shown up and many would miss out, with some customers berating shop staff about the slow pace of the queue.

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