6Sep/110

Only 109 Shopping Days Until Christmas

OMG! So, I’m reading an article on anxious retailers and predictions of the ever-encroaching blast of pre-Halloween and earlier Christmas messages expected this year.  Man, I haven’t even bagged my white-tails yet, and they’re already thinking about pitching Christmas to me!

It is still in the 100’s in our state, and the mere thought of a jacket send beads of sweat running everywhere. No doubt we are all concerned about the economy, our very reactionary and shaky stock market, and what is likely to happen in the forthcoming Presidential election.

But, is delivering a very early Christmas buying message going to change consumer behavior and turn us into crazed early purchasers, or will some (like myself) revolt at the idea of such non – seasonal nonsense?

I know many smart shoppers buy for the holidays all year long, and in so doing, manage some really great bargains. But, most of us need a little external coaching – like a couple of blasts of fresh northern cold air – and a timetable that puts the end-of-the-year holiday within a simmering eggnog’s whiff of being at least around the corner.

The 109 days til Christmas is a long way off to get me excited about rushing into shopping madness.

And, if it is the promise of greatly discounted merchandise that retailers are counting on..."forget about it.” I already expect low discounted prices everywhere I shop. After all, I have been well trained to wait only 30 days following new merchandise introductions in department stores for the discounting to begin. Not to mention the outlet malls! Who buys retail like we used to anymore?

So, I’m confused. Will the consumer see a great advantage in shopping early? Do retailers imagine that, by some miracle, the average consumer has been hoarding a big stash of money waiting for the economy to stabilize and government to right itself? Don’t think so – that would be large corporations or other lenders that are neither hiring nor lending, for the most part. The pie will only slice so many ways and it just isn’t any larger than it has been. August was a better retail month. Not a windfall month. And there is no sign of sudden economic improvement on the horizon.

Please, everyone, just take a break. Let’s celebrate the holidays as they occur. Trying to force consumers into perking up sales this early in the season, in this economy, is at best a risky stretch as a solution. If it doesn’t work, advertisers have spent money they either don’t have or eroded normal holiday advertising budgets.

Retailers, please let me get out of my Halloween costume before you start ringing Christmas bells! (Because I know you won’t wait until after Thanksgiving!)

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Posted by Terry

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