At least once a holiday season, I walk past the shuk and see the beautiful baskets on sale for the holidays. It takes me a short moment for the pleasantries to sink in, but when it does, I usually have the following reaction:
“90 shekels?! This person is selling bamaba, two mikupelets and a bad bottle of wine in a basket for 90 shekels?! Who in their right mind would pay for this?”
But of course someone does pay for this; otherwise the sellers wouldn’t make the gift sets every holiday. These sellers are making money by utilizing the supply chain.
The supply chain refers to the various steps needed in order to purchase, produce and distribute an item. If you were making cars, your supply chain would include your goods from suppliers, your assembly equipment, your assemblers, your delivery people and your sales people.
The same principle can be applied to buying Hannukah presents. In the case of a Hannukah present, the supply chain includes the items for the present, the compilation and the delivery. And while everyone loves one stop shopping you’d be surprised how much you can save by breaking apart the supply chain. Let me give a few examples:
Sending photos abroad: If you have a mother or grandparents abroad, few presents can compare to sending some pictures of yourself (or more importantly, your kids) via snapfish.com or a similar service. Sending photos allows you to share your time and life with someone abroad in a more tangible way than phone calls alone. But if you look at these sites, you’ll notice where the supplier strikes it big: packaging. Frames on these sites are typically jacked up as much as 300% retail price, and sometimes over 500% of what you can find in a local store. I would recommend (1) finding a frame from another source (amazon.com, ebay.com) and sending it separately or (2) not sending a frame at all. Your mom and grandma already have lots of frames sitting around in the house.
Sending flowers abroad: 1-800-flowers makes their money on pretty much every piece of the supply chain. They charge more not only for the flowers, but for the vase and delivery as well. Alternatively, you can call your local store (which may even be the safe affiliate 1-800-flowers uses), tell them your limit (including tax) and then build the bundle of choice. Want free delivery? Ask your old neighbor lives next to the recipient to lend you a hand a pick it up. He or she will probably be glad to be part of the giving process and will end up saving you $15.
Sending a gift basket to a local friend: So here we are, right where we started. Just compare the cost of buying a basket (₪3 shekels) cellophane (₪2 shekels) and candy (₪10 shekels) and some wine (₪20 shekels, ₪40 if you’re really generous) to buying a pre-made basket with bad wine for ₪90 shekels. Similarly, if you shop at a place like beauty care and a local super-pharm, you can make a nice basket with massage oils, creams, and beauty products for around ₪50 shekels.
The trick is to use your imagination. And most of all, next time you see an item for sale and think “I can make it for half the price,” go out and do it.
On a similar note, I am trying to put together a post for some good gifts for Hannukah, and extract some money saving ideas. If you would not mind, please contact me with some of the successful presents that you have either given or received. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or just leave a reply below (note: if you reply to this message with a gift idea, I will not print it below in this post, but save it for the coming post.) Thanks.