For festival bargain hunters, shopping quite often means braving the masses at the local mall or the next door mart, standing in endless queues for purchases to be rung up, and then trying to retrieve the vehicle from the parking lot maze in less time than it took to complete the whole shopping excursion.
But if there's value in the bargain, it's definitely worth the trouble. From the heaps and heaps of deals on offer this festival season, we list some that are worth considering.
Consider leading developers in Mumbai who are wooing potential property buyers with unusual incentives and unique promotional schemes this season. Take Mantri Group and Nirmal Lifestyles, for instance. Both have offered a waiver on stamp duty and registration fee of the property purchased.
Other developers like Runwal Group and Akruit Nirman are offering special rates during the season. Several other developers are offering incentives such as shopping vouchers worth Rs 10,000 on the first 50 bookings and a lucky draw, where buyers would be eligible to win Rs 1 lakh (Rs 100,000).
From real estate let's go to apparel at Megamart. Clothes are virtually flying off the shelves here at a flat 50 per cent waiver. Avail discounts on all women's brands and on Arrow, Wrangler and Lee in menswear. While Fabindia is about to launch its festive collection, Co-optex is offering a 20-30 per cent discount on Kancheepuram silk and other apparel. In the same festive spirit, Apco Handlooms of Andhra Pradesh has a 20 per cent flat discount on all items on offer.
And if you're into books, Oxford is just the right place where you can browse multiple offers across bookstores in Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi. The Great Masters series, for instance, comes free once you've coughed up Rs 1,000 in Mumbai and Kolkata. In Delhi, customers will get a book worth Rs 150 free with every purchase of Rs 1,000. On buying books worth Rs 1,500, you bag a World Car Guide worth Rs 496.
You can even take a break with Thomas Cook's festive line-up. The five-day trip to Thailand offered starts at Rs 9,890, and a nine-day package covering Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore at Rs 26,450. Orient Express is a comprehensive seven-day travel package covering Thailand, Bangkok and Singapore, which takes you to the exotic Nong Nooch village and orchid farms.
Oriental Fantasy, a seven-day all-inclusive tour package for Rs 57,170, will take you to the Batu Caves, with a three-day stay in Singapore thrown in. In the domestic circuit, select resorts at Goa are going for Rs 21,250, inclusive of travel, lodging, food and beverage expenses for three nights and four days. Among online offers is Travelguru's discount of up to Rs 2,000 on hotel bookings and tour packages.
Gizmo grabbers can go for the Samsung VP D361i camcorder to store those magic moments -- at Rs 17,990, it's a steal. In its bid to broaden the base, Chaebol is busy offering freebies across most of its product lines, right from DVD and MP3 players to solo microwave ovens, 15" flat TV and LCD TV of 32" and 40".
The company is giving away assured gifts such as a Parka glass set, a Bombay Dyeing linen set, a toaster and non-stick cookware on each pick.
Even white goods giant Whirlpool has spruced up its act this season with assured gifts -- its entry-level refrigerator comes with a Nirlep pan worth Rs 418, the 250-litre fridge with an Oyzterbay pearl of Rs 1,900, and the high-end refrigerators with a diamond pendant of Rs 4,900.
Morphy Richards is giving a hair dryer worth Rs 795 for Re 1 on the purchase of either a mixer grinder or a juicer mixer grinder. Toshiba, too, has a cash rebate for the season -- you get Rs 2,000 off on its L30-C330 laptop worth Rs 32,990 that comes with a DVD drive.
This Diwali, HP is hawking the 'Ban Jao Don' offer for its Compaq range -- an assured two nights/three days holiday package on the purchase of a select range of Compaq Presario desktops, and a free Bluetooth headset and USB data card when you buy a select range of Compaq Presario notebooks. Videocon has come up with a unique offer -- if you purchase its AC, you get complementary insurance worth Rs 2 lakh from Bajaj Allianz for your household items.
Once you have got the gadgets to go with your furniture, look at other options to deck up your home. Pan-India furnishing store Skipper is throwing a tabletop discount of 20 per cent on curtain and sofa material. Down South, Trinethra Super Retail is celebrating festival time with 'Utsav', a shopping bonanza across Andhra Pradesh, Bangalore, Chennai and Kerala. The mega sale provides shoppers at Trinethra and its sister retailer Fabmall an opportunity to bag gifts ranging from gold coins and DVDs to washing machines and PCs. You could check out the sale as really deep discounts are available.
If everyone has something for you, can car makers be left behind? Maruti's 800 cc and Esteem come with insurance at the rate of Re 1. If you buy an Alto from Maruti's stable, you get a flat 50 per cent waiver on insurance. The Wagon R (petrol), which comes with free insurance, is decked up with free accessories worth Rs 2,500. There are gift cheques galore when it comes to tying the red ribbon across the Baleno (Rs 50,000) or the Versa (Rs 10,000), or even the Batmobile-like Swift (Rs 15,000) and the plain vanilla Omni-petrol (Rs 4,000).
If you exchange your old car with a Chevrolet Optra, you get a discount of Rs 50,000 on its price along with the market value of your old car. That's not all, this offer also comes with free service for three years. Some dealers are offering a further discount of Rs 15,000 if you do opt for free service. Tata is also offering discounts on its cars -- you get Rs 8,000 off on the Tata Indica Xeta-petrol and Rs 12,000 off on its diesel variant.
The gift mania can even zoom into your driveway on a Suzuki mobike. The company has a rash of offerings this season -- free registration, free insurance and free gas on both Zeus and Heat. And if you thought the festival fireworks were confined to terra firma, here's something for those planning to get airborne too -- Air Deccan has three lakh tickets at Rs 6 each for domestic travel.
Before you start booking, here's the catch: ATF costs and airport taxes will be added to that unbelievable fare of Rs 6.
It's time to unwind and the famous Black & White catchline, "It Pays To Unbelong" will support that no-holds-barred spirit. Buy 750 ml of Johnnie Walker Red Label for Rs 1,200 and take home two limited edition Johnnie Walker glasses for free.
As you head towards the parking lot, all that shopping might be hanging from your arms, but those discounts and gifts must have ensured it won't be weighing too heavily on your mind. Three cheers to the Diwali spirit.