Archive for November, 2007

Black Friday is Upon Americans!!!

Whenever my friends ask me about some buying tips(as they know me as great deal finder) especially on a cheap laptop or deals on camcorders and Digital Camera’s, I would say “Hold your horses till Black friday” Some might wonder what exactly am I talking about?

Whats is Blackfriday?

Blackfriday is the hot topic of this month in any American news forum or chat rooms or phone conversation when November rolls around. Its not about religion. Its also not about any historic rampage or riot. Its definetly not about horror stories. Its all about fun Shopping spree friday(I see ladies faces filled with great joy )

Black Friday
– the day after Thanksgiving – is one of the busiest shopping days of the year for the nation’s retailers. It has become a modern tradition in America that next day of Thanks giving is considered one of the deal breaking days of the year. Usually American’s believe Thanksgiving weekend kicks off the Holiday Season. As it arrives, it also comes with an obligation to have a big fat wallet to satisfy the gifting needs for the upcoming christmas. So almost every american family kicks of their gift purchases for christmas(to present to the loved ones in a way to carry on the tradition) from that weekend. If they can find them for a good deal, who will every say NO.

Nobody can beat Americans on Marketing. Taking that essence of gift buying and adding the marketing gimmick, big retail stores started this Blackfriday shopping tradition by blowing off the prices on certain items and bring on the shopping fun to attract customers. Let me share by showing how exactly it works to give a glimpse of fun.

Before the week of Thanksgiving(Nov 3rd week), many big retail stores announce their freebies, cheap deals on attractive items like electronics, computer related, home related as their Blackfriday specials. In past, People usually get this list from local newspaper as special on the day of blackfriday or flyers sent via snail mails. Nowadays these lists are made avaiable in secret websites like Blackfriday info, you would go thru the list and find out what you exactly want are in sale and make your own list.

These website allow you even create your own list and take a print out. Once you have the list, families get together and plan who want to go to which location. Its like a Mission Project BLACKFRIDAY. They split out and start standing in the line in front of the stores from midnight without minding the shivering winter cold. You can see the mad rush of people waiting below.

Usually they have big organized queue in many places with police patrolling. As stores open for sale around 7am, everybody tries to get in with an attitude to get whatever they need. Its will be fun to watch that scene. They jump all around to find the items and don’t care about others. Once you got them, wait in line to check out.

Even some people plan intelligently and come with a kid or partner who stands in the check out line while another one hunts for the items. That way, they can quickly check out otherwise you end up spending an hour waiting in line to get checked out. Once they purchase the items on sale, its not over yet. Project just 50% over. Now they need to check those items and sort out the bills to send to Mail-In rebates. There are certain deals that are called Mail-In rebates.

Whats the trick about Mail-in rebates?

Lets say the item is usually cost $100. They sell it for $75 with $50 Mailin Rebate. You will pay $75 at time of check out and you will get back $50 via mail. If thats the case, you need to apply for the rebate via mail with all the items required like reciept and purchase proof to get it. You eventually get your money back, God only knows how sooner. Companies also makes money when people don’t send the proper proofs and miss out on mail as not many people are good at it. Y

ou gotta take chance to get these deals but they arYou might think its crazy but its cool if you really want to buy big expensive items. In my past 9 years being year, I been to atleast 5-6 Blackfriday and caught the mad rush to purchase some good stuff. Its a win-win if you plan properly. Otherwise you end up buying unwanted things just for the sake of getting it free and never use in your life time. Thats the trick.

Stores use this opportunity to get rid of items which doesn’t sell well as freebies and try to make money out of it. This year, mad rush is for LCD Flat TV’s, as usual computers and iPODs.

Are you ready to join me this year for the Mad Rush of Blackfriday?

Dollar Vs Rupee – The Currency Fight

Like past few weeks, whenever I happen to see the exchange rate comparison in the evening news, I see the US dollar value dropping day by day instead of going up which was the case in the past. Its surely grabing lot of attention these days among the economist and traders all over the world.

Just in few months, dollar value has gone down around 35% pairing with most famous currencies like EURO, YEN, JPN and SWISS. Like every other NRI, especially I was watching very closely Rupee (Rs) over US ($) value. It seems in just last year or so, US dollar has come down 7 to 8 over the Rupees. As an Indian, I am happy to see that Rupee is gaining strength but on the other side as an NRI I was bit concerned.

A simple chart to shows the real drop for the last year which was widely from 45 to 39.

Why Dollar weakening?

In general the weaking effect of Dollar can be contributed by various factors like government, market forces of supply and demand for a particular country’s currency, interest rates, inflation, and consumers’ expectations about what will happen in the future. At present financial experts seems to point out the feat factor on lot of economical aspects like Housing market crash, consumer slow down, oil price increase being the culprits. They predict that the collapsing dollar will dramatically accelerate U.S. inflation and will pressure upward U.S. long-term interest rates.

I am sure many of you might have seen a popular forward email about India becoming a super economic power with a reverse trend happening like,

  • Americans waiting in big lines at the Indian Embassy for work visas
  • Value of Rupee goes up lik 1 Rupee = 45 dollar
  • Americans take telephone interviews for Indian Jobs

We already seen most of it happening right now except the dollar value reversal. Looks like the days are not too far for that one to be true.

In yesterday’s news, Financial minister P.Chidambaram commented that “US dollar weaking is really good for India as it benefits India in lot of ways while our trader and exporters are struggling with it. Buying price of oil is little cheaper and also it really slows down our inflation rate”.

Is this a Good news for Indians or Bad one for NRI’s? I somehow have a mixed feeling on it. May be its a good news as we see Rupee is gaining strength over Dollar. But in lot of ways it really hurts the Indian Export industry and NRI’s very importantly.

How does it affect really?

Because of the Dollar value weakening, the buying power of the dollar has gone down and you end up buying less compared to a year back. So exporters who get paid by dollars are seeing crunch in their profit margins. This really makes big impact when you are competiting with other global countries.

On the other instance, NRI’s investing back at home will have major set back. For example, past year if you can buy 4.5 lakhs worth of property in just $10000 now it needs $11500, an increase the dollar spend. Similary if an NRI is sending money back home an average $1000 yielded 43,000 rupees after commission but not only yield 39,000 rupees. On average 8% decrease in the yield. I knew lot of NRI’s who wanted to take advantage of the high interest rate in India, so converted their money and saved in Indian Banks which also helped India forex. Now with current dollar value reduction, NRI’s are losing lot of money on conversion day by day which surely not encouraging the savings idea in India.

Overall, Dollar weakening is really good think for India on a broader outlook but it does truely affects many Indian exporters and NRI’s in particular to a large extent. There is a lot of hope that its just a short term trend and should revert back pretty soon as its all part of a cycle.

I greatly welcome any thoughts on this subject both from NRI’s and people really deal with export industry.

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