Grand Opening Lucky Bags

[Regent Street grand opening attendees -- take note!]

In Japan, retailers participate in a traditional custom called Fukubukuro, in which they prepare small bags of merchandise, and sell them as "Mystery Bags" or "Lucky Bags" in connection with the New Year's celebrations. The buyer doesn't know the contents of the bag until they pay for it and open it up. The value of the bags is usually rather small, and the surprise is not only what's in the bag, but an occasional extra item the store includes to bump up the value of the bag.

For the New Year's day 2004, Apple prepared Fukubukuro bags and sold them at their Ginza (Tokyo) retail store. According to Sr. V-P Retail Ron Johnson, the event was so successful that Apple decided to make it a tradition when opening flagship stores, and promoted them as "Lucky Bags."

The first Lucky Bag event was the San Francisco grand opening Feb. 28, 2004, and mirrored the bag and contents Apple had sold at the Ginza store a month earlier. The Ginza lucky bag was black vinyl, 18"x24" with a zippered top and long handles that double as shoulder strap. It included an iSight, Keynote, .Mac, discount card, Bluetooth adapter and wireless mouse.

The San Francisco Lucky Bag was identical, and had a black, folded paper sticker around the handles with the Apple logo and the words "Do You Feel Lucky?" on one side, and "Apple Store, San Francisco" on the other. Inside the bag were the various items, and attached to each was a round greenish sticker attached with the wording, "Not For Resale." The contents of the SF bag were:

  • Airport Extreme base station
  • Keynote
  • .Mac account
  • wireless keyboard behind it,
  • wireless mouse
  • D-Link Bluetooth adapter
  • iLife '04
  • 10%-off card

In addition, every sixth Luck Bag contained an iPod Mini or 40 Gb iPod. Note that only one of the seven products was from a third-party supplier.

The bag sold for $249, while the total value of the items in the bag was $674.90, although the 10%-off gift card will allow you to obtain an unlimited amount of additional value--depending upon the depth of your wallet or credit card account! The gift card was a simple plastic card with an Apple logo on the front, and on the back is printed:

10% Off

This Apple Gift Card entitles the holder to a one-time ten percent (10%) discount on the purchase of any product(s) sold at any retail Apple Store in the United States. Discount will be applied at the time of purchase. This card can only be used once, and cannot be exchanged or redeemed for cash. This offer is not valid with the purchase of Gift Cards, cannot be combined with other offers, and is void where prohibited or restricted by law. Other terms and conditions apply. Visit a retail Apple Store in the United States for details. Apple reserves the right to change the terms and conditions or end the offer at any time without notice.

The first lucky bags appeared on eBay about noon on the same day as the grand opening, and the first auctions closed Sunday night-- two for $400 and a third for $420. Later Lucky Bag sales on eBay ranged from $300 to the upper $400s.

The Shinsaibashi (Osaka) Lucky Bag sold for ¥30,000, or at the time about $271. The bag was black vinyl, but was shaped more like a square gym bag. It contained:

  • AirMac Express device
  • AirMac Express Stereo Connection Kit with Monster Cables
  • Griffin iTalk
  • Griffin iTrip
  • Apple wireless mouse
  • Apple wireless keyboard
  • D-Link USB Bluetooth adapter
  • Altec-Lansing InMotion portable speakers
  • Keynote
  • iLife '04
  • .Mac account
  • 10%-off discount card

The first two items use the "AirMac" name in Japan because of trademark restrictions. You can do the math on the items, but it comes out to be slightly more a bargain.

The potential contents of the Regent Street (London) Lucky Bag was revealed on Apple's "Terms and Conditions" Web page, and reads:

"...may contain a selection of the following items in any combination: Airport Express, Wireless Mouse, Wireless Keyboard, D-Link, Keynote, .Mac, iLife, iSight Camera, 20GB iPod, Silver iPod Mini, JBL on Tour, GarageBand Jam Pack, Limited Edition iPod Case, Limited Edition iPod Mini Case, ProCare, 10% off coupon, Insider’s Guide to London DVD or a World Book Encyclopedia."

The key items, of course, are either the silver iPod Mini or 20 Gb iPod, either of which could be inside the bag. The value of the bag is at least £705, according to Apple, or about US$1,310. The bag retails for US$463.