Online 'Toy Mania' sale chaos causes Big W website shutdown

Big W's website crashed under the weight of it's Toy Mania sale.
Big W's website crashed under the weight of it's Toy Mania sale. 

Thifty Big W shoppers caused the retailing giant's website to shutdown today when it was flooded with customers keen to grab a bargain in the annual Toy Mania sale.   

The hugely popular sale is normally held in store each June but, due to COVID-19 and social distancing concerns, it went live online at midnight.

While some shoppers were able to secure their purchase without difficulty, many were left disappointed as they faced waits of up to four hours in online queues and glitches which lead to incorrect orders being loaded.  

Facebook group Big W Mums was filled with complaints from frustrated parents sharing their disappointment and anger. 

By lunchtime shoppers were unable to access the site at all, with a holding screen telling visitors they were being placed in a "waiting lounge". 

But, despite the chaos, Big W management appeared to be pleased with how the online sale started, informing people the "Toy Mania elves" were working hard to rectify the situation.

"Wow! Toy Mania truly lived up to its name last night!," a post on the store's Facebook page reads.

"At the strike of midnight, thousands of customers jumped online. We anticipated our online launch would attract a large number of savvy parents and introduced the BIG W Waiting Lounge to manage the virtual queue, much like you would experience in store.

"Most shoppers checked out without a hitch however we apologise to those of you that were kept up past your bedtime and experienced a few technical glitches.

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"Our Toy Mania elves are working incredibly hard behind the scenes to keep the online queue moving quickly, and we can assure you that we've spoken to our toys, and they can't wait to be added to your basket, be that in-store or online."

But frustrated shoppers were not happy.

"This feels like a joke.. tried multiple time's with no success and lots of errors, eventually went to bed and when I tried again this morning half the items were unavailable," a disappointed shopper wrote. 

"I beg your pardon? 4 HOURS," one astounded shopper commented, alongside a screenshot of the site showing the wait time.

"Sites crashed. It's added my wish list like 900 times!!" one angry user wrote, saying she couldn't edit her cart. "Anyone else having this problem?"

Another woman said the same happened to her, with the glitch incorrectly pricing her three items for well over $3000.

"Welllll I can't get it to work at all... plus... apparently 3 items now cost over $3,000," she posted, with a laughing emoji.

Wait times online were up to four hours

Photo: Facebook

Others reported they were making it to the check out page before the site would crash and remove everything from their cart.

"I've been kicked off twice as trying to proceed to payment," an upset shopper said. Others some having the problem of money being taken out of their account but no confirmation email received.

"I had payment come out of my bank and order nowhere to be found and my cart is full again not sure what is happening but can't get through to find out," a panicked parent wrote.

The user's cart totalled over $3000

Photo: Facebook

A glitch in the website resulted in some users having exorbitant cart totals

Photo: Facebook

The Big W sale is a huge event on lots of thrifty parents' calendars. In previous years, doors have opened at midnight with shoppers rushing in to snap up the best deals.

This year however there were a few differences, the sale is being held online, starting online before in store and also lasting a week longer than it usually does. If shoppers choose to go to the stores, they have to stay 1.5m apart and the stores won't be opening at midnight like they usually do.

According to some shoppers, the best for an easy check out was between 4am – 4.50am, with many reporting they had no troubles checking out during that period.  

"For once his 4am feed is a god send. Haha," one mother wrote.

Although one man was amazed at the dedication people went to to pick up a bargain.

"Is nobody sleeping at all lol," the bemused user observed.