By team B&C
Xmas lights are out early this year. Usually they are strung a week before Christmas. But last Wednesday one spotted several homes with twinkly lights around the balcony. If bling is in vogue in haute couture clothing, it is blink or flickering lights that is the latest for Christmas.A glance at homes reveals great liking for lights that flash. Sometimes they sparkle so softly that it is a treat for the eye. And sometimes the pace is so fast that it makes you quite cross-eyed looking at it.
Flashing lights, says a shopkeeper in Panaji market, is what everybody is asking for these days and they are of all kinds ranging from sequence or random flickering. The latest is in rotating multi colours which are also called ‘disco lights’. They arrive from Mumbai although the original source of manufacturing is in Moradabad, near Delhi, says the shopkeeper. This year, lights from China have flooded the market and they are certain to receive good response, he adds.
A ground level check reveals a significant price difference between the Chinese lights sold in swathes and what is available in the shops. The price difference is more than Rs 200 per metre and therefore you can’t blame shoppers for buying them, says Abid Hussain, a stall owner.
However, store owner Prakash Prajapati, Amardeep Electricals points out that you cannot compare goods with the Chinese variety as the quality from overseas is definitely inferior. The lights lasts for just one season and is a “use and throw” type, points out Prajapati, adding that discerning Christmas shoppers do not buy them. Unlike Christmas goodies, lights can be stored and most people use stock from the previous year. Therefore, sales are usually good in one year and slightly dull in the next, is his observation.
The goods in his shop, continues Prajapati, are priced at Rs 600 for 20 metres with 100 bulbs in the string. They are durable with sockets of proper material and will certainly keep for several years, he says.
A check with other shop owners reveals that Christmas lights are purchased copiously by commercial establishments because celebrations have become universal over the years with everybody taking part in the festivities. Establishments are generous in spending money on lights and therefore most electrical stores vie for their clientele. The budget from commercial establishments is easily in the range of Rs 10,000 and allocation is increasing each year.
Online purchases are butting into all commodities these days and it has also made an appearance in Xmas lighting. However, there is no guarantee that online lights are better in quality, aver shop keepers. The price of Christmas lighting is in a wide range but if you want to save on power bills the best lights are LEDs, says Cyril Fernandes, resident of Caranzalem. He has just purchased lighting worth Rs 2,500 from a store and does not mind putting it up early because of lower electricity consumption.