Christmas Shopping in Australia

Okay, we haven’t even hit July yet, Christmas is a very long way away and yet I am going to talk about Christmas shopping in Australia? Am I nuts? Sure, it’s a good idea not to leave it until Christmas Eve but to get your Christmas shopping organised now would be crazy, wouldn’t it?

No, not here in Australia.

I’ll run through that one in a minute, but before I do let me put all you happy shoppers in the picture and explain that here in Australia, just like (probably) everywhere in the world, we have sales. At the moment, the shopping malls are a sea of red signs encouraging you to dip into your wallet and save some big buck$$$$$.

You can save on jewellery……

jewellery saleYou can save on posh clothes…….

posh clothes saleAnd my favourite, you can save on shoes………

shoe sale….providing you have really big feet. Boom boom! The old ones are the best. But why are people going Christmas shopping now? Let me introduce you to lay-by’s.

What is a Lay By?

It’s quite simple really. Go into any one of the big stores, like Myer, Kmart, Big W or Target, do a trolley load of shopping and the store will “lay it by” for you. Basically, they will save it for you until Christmas. So what’s in it for the customer?

  • Buy all your presents now and get them at a sale prices.
  • Have them stored securely (where no prying eyes will get to see them) and pick them up just before Christmas.
  • Secure that popular toy which, no doubt, will be all sold out leading into Christmas.
  • And, probably best of all, pay for the goods by instalments simply by popping into the shop every now and then and dropping them some cash.

Each store has its own terms and conditions and effectively you are entering into a contract with the retailer. But lay by and large you simply pay the cost of the goods plus a service fee (no actual interest) over an agreed period of time (less than six months) so that it’s all paid up by Christmas when you collect goods.

Stores also have different payment terms, for example Big W want fortnightly payments, Kmart want progressive payments with at least 25% paid by 1st October. Deposits vary. Service fees, which are per item purchased, vary too from store to store. Those I have seen so far have been two dollars for Big W, three dollars for Kmart and $6.50 for Myer.

Apparently, lay-by’s have been on the decline recently, but this year they are big business. Must be something to do with the global financial crisis.

Buzz, from Toy Story is apparently doing very well. Good for Buzz, I always had a lot of time for him. Lightyears actually. But as good an idea as I think these lay by’s are, I do have one concern. How many kids do you know that really really really want a specific thing right now more than anything else in the world……..

And then next month, (never mind in six months time) they want something completely different.

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