Monday, December 07, 2015

Thanksgiving in US

Because of being employed by world's largest online retailer, I was aware of the custom of Thanksgiving as celebrated in USA. Mostly along the lines of large sales volume and other retail details. Its only after coming to the country, I realized it is indeed a big deal for folks here. People queue up, often overnight, in front of stores. The stores themselves have deep discounts on large ticket items, mostly electronics. The madness and the rush when the store opens in unbelieveable. The closest from my personal experience is visiting pandals in Kolkata during Durga Puja (popularly known as "pandal-hopping").

Unlike Indian festival dates, which are calculated based on position of celestial bodies, Thanksgiving date is defined as "fourth Thursday of November". Its amazing how the dates of what originally was a harvest festival has been adapted to ensure a long weekend. This indicates that the holiday in its present form was standardized after a 5-day work-week had been established. But what is more amazing is how retailers have turned this into a shopping festival. An onslaught of flyers, banners and emails ensure that people get to know of this special time. Mailboxes (physical and email) are filled up with information of "deep discounts" from all merchants. The frenzy is such that sales volumes drop on preceding weeks in anticipation of deals.

Unfortunately these are of little use to people who want only a specific brand/make/model. More often than not, those would not be available. In the rare case that they actually are, its hidden under the pile of other products and tend to sell off fast. Its mostly the things which are highly priced (as a factor of their intrinsic value) which go on sale.

For discerning folks, this provide for a great opportunity. Prices on used goods drop on auction sites. Another advantage is the relative emptiness in the neighborhood touristy places. I would not share the items I bought, but here are few nice shots from that weekend.

Weekend getaway Big Sur, 20151126-27

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