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“Happy Bag” Sale Spreads Seasonal Cheer

Date Posted: 2001-01-07

One custom peculiar to the Japanese is the “Happy Bag Sale” in which department stores sell bags at fixed prices. The contents of the bags are a surprise, but it is said that generally the value of the goods inside is about 10 times the price of the bag. There are only a limited number of the bags available and they are sold singly, one per customer. Many people wait in lines long before the stores open in order to secure one.

Okinawa Mitsukoshi Department Store and Ryubo Department Store, both located in Naha City, had their “Happy Bag” sales starting 10 a.m. on Jan. 2. The bags had price tags of ¥1,000, ¥3,000, ¥5,000 and ¥10,000, the last containing goods worth about ¥100,000.

However, that’s a far cry from what some stores in Tokyo offer. According to press reports, the most expensive bag this year had a price tag of ¥250 million (about $2.25 million). Another store had a bag costing ¥25 million. The most expensive bag reportedly contained jewellery and diamonds with some fashionable designer goods thrown in for good measure. The ¥25 million bag had a ticket for an around-the-world cruise on the Queen Elizabeth, among other things. There also was a bag that contained keys to a house that the lucky buyer could move into and call his own.

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