It has been a very serious week with Anwar’s guilty verdict. Although people are feeling very cheerless right now, something is coming up this Saturday, 14 February which may (or may not) bring smiles around.
Valentine’s Day!! A time for love and a time to be broke. Couples will be going out, spending a nice, romantic time together, with flowers, teddy bears, chocolates, jewellery and candlelight dinner. And when they wake up the next day, they’ll ask themselves “What the heck did I spend on?” as they stare at their malnourished wallets in pity.
We tend to stereotype Valentine’s Day as commercialised and a day where gift prices hit the roof. But is that true of the market in Malaysia? How much do they increase? You’re in for a shock at the answers.
CILISOS asked shops and restaurants how much more these 6 V-Day stuff cost on this special occasion (BUT without naming names): roses, chocolates, teddy bears, jewellery, dinner-for-two and hotels. We pretended to be potential customers and strung them along *evil grin*!
1. Bouquet of roses
Obviously there will be flowers on Valentine’s Day, whether you go for roses or whatever his or her favourite blooms are. Roses remain the most popular choice for Valentine’s Day, according to a local franchise gift shop that has operated since 1991. “Usually people buy a dozen roses,” the customer service staff told CILISOS over the phone. So for this item, we compared the prices of a 12-stalk bouquet of roses from several shops.
That shop said that their normal-days price for a dozen roses is RM110. What about for Valentine’s Day? “We don’t have the Valentine’s Day prices yet,” the staff told us. When we called them again 3 days later, they still said their prices for V-Day were not ready. Errr…ok, thanks…?
We approached other online florists and here were some of the prices they disclosed for a bouquet of 12 roses:
Normal days: RM90 – 100
Valentine’s Day: RM180 – 200
Normal days: RM88
Valentine’s Day: RM168 – 198
Normal days: RM89
Valentine’s Day: RM89 – 105
Normal days: RM120 – 130
Valentine’s Day: RM312 – 360
Normal days: RM118
Valentine’s Day: RM158
WOW! That’s more than 100% increase at some of the shops! Compared to last year, New Straits Times reported that flowers increased by only 10 – 15%. Why has it gone up so much this year? Malaysia’s worst ever floods kot? In November 2014, The Star reported vegetables and flowers will be costlier because the floods have damaged farms. Farmers reportedly told The Star that they also had to hire more help at short notice or else there would be limited harvest.
So guys, some of you might be thinking of skipping flowers this year. However if you decide to support the market anyway then just make sure you’re sending the recipient the correct message!
Now let’s compare something less berduri and more huggable. Teddy bears!
2. A teddy bear
How much do teddy bears prices increase on Valentine’s Day?
Unlike roses, we’ve got NO price increase to report here. According to some retailers, teddy bears are sold for the same price on Valentine’s Day as on ordinary days. One online shop is selling their teddy bears (approximately 20cm in height) between RM97 – 121 and it’ll be the same on Valentine’s.
Why don’t teddy bear prices go up? “We cannot sell it at increased prices because of the arrangement we have with suppliers. Our teddy bears are from Hallmark so we have to follow the standardised prices,” the marketing person told us. But thinking that we were sincere customers (LOL!), they were willing to negotiate a 10% discount.
We thought the prices might have either increased coz of demand, or decreased to encourage people to buy… so turns out teddy bear prices are standard here. However, we wouldn’t be too surprised if some shops tweak their prices a little on this day.
OK, let’s compare chocolates now!
3. Box of chocolates
At first we were thought, “Chocolates sure super mahal on Valentine’s Day.” But…
Affordable range shop: We enquired whether their chocolate products will increase on Valentine’s Day. The staff rolled their eyes and sneered, “No!” OK thanks, cranky pants. This shop is widely available in Malaysia. There’s probably at least one outlet in every large shopping mall. They carry the usual chocolates like those Belgian ones and Ferrero Rocher. So since they were selling them between RM10 – 30 on the day that we asked, you can expect the same prices on V-Day.
Higher range chocolate speciality shop: This shop sells chocolates and candies of their own brand. Their Valentine’s assortment retails for RM130 on usual days, but the price on Valentine’s Day also remains at RM130 according to their outlet salesperson. Dang! We thought we had something here. But all the better for the customer then.
Seriously expensive chocolate shop: Their prices can range from RM65 – 199. We checked with their outlet in KL but we were disappointed when their staff told us, “No, miss. The prices will be the same on Valentine’s Day. There’s no discount either, sorry.” Then when we called up another outlet in Penang, the staff gave us the same answer. No increase, no decrease.
Well, based on what the staff from these shops have told us, it looks like chocolate (and teddy bear) prices are the most dependable….so far. Do you guys believe this is true?
If your relationship has reached a certain level, then maybe instead of chocolates you might be considering a gift that….sparkles more?
A recognisable local jeweller’s in Section 14, PJ: The staff told us that they were selling a pair of white gold earring hoops as their Valentine’s Day special at RM150. When we asked about buying them before or after 14 February, he told us that the price would INCREASE! Increase to how much, we asked? He said it could go up by 20%. So on V-Day the promotional price is definitely more value-for-money!
Retailer famous for their customisable charm jewellery: This shop however does not increase or decrease their prices for Valentine’s Day. They were pretty snooty about it too. They told us however that there is a special V-Day collection retailing between RM120 – 330.
Luxury jeweller (famous for their brand colour): So we asked this luxury jeweller about whether they will be having any promotions on the occasion. The staff informed that rain or shine, “Our jewellery is priced the same all year-round. For [the brand], we never have any promotions.” They were very sweet about it though. Itulah baru customer service!
Based on these price projections, we’d say go for it. If you go to one of those common jewellery shops in malls, you might be able to get a steal on Valentine’s Day since the prices go up by 20% after the occasion. As for the luxury brands, no cause for panic. Go any time you like.
Overall, Malaysia is the best place to buy jewellery, reported theSun. Prices here are 20-30% lower than other countries thanks to lower manufacturing cost and overhead expenses compared places like Singapore and Hong Kong, for example. But with GST coming in April, jewellers are bracing for sales drop. However, they are confident that the market will weather it out because they believe that gold and diamonds will always be sought-after assets.
5. Romantic dinner for 2
Aside from the gifts above, many couples are likely to have a romantic dinner together. If you’re planning to cook at home, then you only need to worry about buying groceries and we doubt anyone’s gonna hike up their prices for chops or potatoes on Valentine’s Day.
However if you are eating out, then here are the price differences for Valentine’s dinners:
A steak restaurant in Medan Damansara, KL
Valentine’s Day 5-course dinner: RM113++ per head
Normal days: The Valentine’s menu is not available a la carte on normal days, but here’s the breakdown of very similar items on the menu: RM43.90 – 47.90 (oyster appetiser) + RM8.90 (soup) + RM59.90++ (lobster) + RM7.90++ (dessert) + RM6.90 (coffee) = approximately RM131.50++ per person. So you actually save RM18.50++ per head.
An upscale French in KL
Valentine’s Day 4-course dinner: RM250++ per head
Normal days: The Valentine’s menu is also not available a la carte on normal days according to their staff and when we checked (and drooled) against the menu, some of the items were indeed not listed, like lobster for instance. So going for this Valentine’s dinner, you could actually be getting a good deal.
A resort hotel in PJ
Valentine’s Day buffet dinner: RM128++ per head
Normal days: RM120++ per head. Eh… it’s only RM8 more expensive on V-Day per head.
A 4-star luxury hotel in KL
Valentine’s Day buffet dinner: RM118++ per head
Normal days: RM98++ per head. So that’s RM20 more expensive on V-Day per head.
A 5-star luxury hotel in KL
Valentine’s Day 5-course dinner: RM336++ per couple
Normal days: RM138++ per head. OMG! That’s around RM60 more expensive.
So guys, it looks like a romantic dinner is a costly affair on Valentine’s Day. At least the price hike is not nearly as shocking as the flowers…
6. Hotel stay
Just coz you and your spouse have been together for dinosaur years, doesn’t mean you guys can’t be nakal and dump the kids with grandma and grandpa for one night while you steal away to some hotel for a break. We checked with hotels to see if their rates were any different on Valentine’s Day and here they are:
Budget hotel in Sunway, PJ
Valentine’s Day: RM75 for 1-night stay
Normal days: Same as above
Budget hotel in Section 17, PJ
Valentine’s Day: RM155 for 1-night stay
Normal days: Same as above
Mid-range hotel in Section 16, PJ
Valentine’s Day: RM250++ – 305++ for 1-night stay in Deluxe Room
Normal days: Same as above
Mid-range hotel in Shah Alam
Valentine’s Day: RM339 for 1-night stay in Deluxe Room
Normal days: Same as above
Luxury hotel in KL
Valentine’s Day: RM350 for Deluxe Rooms, RM456 – 840 for Suites, RM559 – 6,500 for Premier suites
Normal days: Same as above
Another luxury hotel in KL
Valentine’s Day: RM539 – 1,109 for Rooms, RM1,899 – 5,999 for Suites
Normal days: Same as above
All the hotels we called up said that their room rates for Valentine’s Day are the same at other times. How come? The different hotel staff all gave us the same answer: the Valentine’s promotions were for F&B only – restaurants, cafes, buffets; not room rates. By the way, they all still have rooms available on 14 February so it’s not too late to plan a special getaway!
Expensive la. Might as well buy something else!
Increase: So based on the prices we’ve gathered above, flowers can do some serious damage to your budget because of their increase of 100% and more, depending on the florist. The 2nd biggest price hike for the season is dinner for 2.
Steady: We were surprised to find that the prices for chocolates, teddy bears, and hotel accommodation rates don’t go up or down just because of this one over-commercialised day. And that’s a relief.
Decrease: Even awesomer are the prices of jewellery that probably go on discount during Valentine’s Day at your standard jewellery shops! If you’re an investor, you might consider buying something before the prices go back up by 20% on normal days.
Here’s something very interesting we discovered from Visa’s study. Malaysians are the biggest spenders of food on Valentine’s Day in Asia. We spend 78% more on food between 11-16 February, with an average bill of RM291. When it came to flowers, Malaysians only spent 68% more than on normal days. But the item Malaysians spend the least on for Valentine’s Day is chocolates. In fact, there was a decrease of 9% in sales during the period, indicating that Malaysians prefer food to flowers and chocolates.
If you’re tired of overspending on Valentine’s Day every year, then don’t! There are tonnes of cheap things you guys can do as a couple. Don’t malu, guys. At CILISOS, we’re also cheap. Just look at our bad Photoshop images (which you guys also voted for in CILISOS Awards 2014). So what unconventional things can you give for your loved one without straining the budget?…
1. Fold origami flowers. Or buy plastic flowers.
Coz bookshops are not likely to overcharge for coloured paper on Valentine’s Day…heh. Video tutorials are all over YouTube but here’s a link teaching you how to fold origami roses. If it’s not enough like the original, then spray on rose-scented perfume la. Or you could buy plastic flowers. They’re cheap, they don’t die…..like YOUR LOVE……
2. Eat Roti Valentine for dinner
What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to belanja your partner to the eponymous Roti Valentine. On the Malaysia Food & Travel Blog, Vkeong writes, “The Roti Valentine at RM5 is a somewhat improved version of Roti Sardin by adding cabbage, onions and chopped chives. With so many ingredients used, it was a well-rounded and filling enough roti that could be taken as a meal itself.” Think how much money you can save! “All the better to provide for our future together, dear…”
3. Give them something they really need
Instead of getting your loved one a teddy bear, maybe you could get something they use on a daily basis. For example, if you noticed a crack on your wife’s handphone screen, it’ll be much nicer to buy her a new phone. Or if your boyfriend is always wearing crappy old T-shirts, maybe you could buy him a nice suit. Or buy his/her favourite books? Or sign up for dancing classes together? Camp in the garden. Give him a massage. Run her a bubble bath. A kind word, etc.
These gifts show that you’ve spent a little more time thinking about what your loved one wants and needs. They’ll also appreciate that you know his/her tastes well enough.
At the end of the day, the amount you spend on Valentine’s does not equate to how much love you two share. Happy Valentine’s Day!!