A little late for Christmas in July

They’re putting out the Christmas things at my local Stuff-Mart, and I confess this makes me cranky. Not just because the Back-to-School items are barely on the clearance aisle, and no one has even thought about their Halloween costumes yet (tho’ I suppose I do know what’s on the menu for Thanksgiving), but because now I am pitted against my fellow consumers in a battle I had hoped to delay.

It’s a true fact—as they say—that there is only a certain quantity of stock that will be set out for Christmas. “Shop early for best selection!” Cheery words if we’re all feeling the holiday spirit, but in September?! In September the only spirit that can possibly motivate serious Christmas shopping is fear and greed:  somebody else will get the good stuff for cheap if I don’t get busy.

I’ve always hated being put in this sort of relationship unnecessarily. We’re all getting along quite nicely, thank you, when someone decides to turn it into a competition. Like the cook for the pizza buffet who, after 45 minutes, when it’s clear that no one in the dining room is interested in the dried-out spinach and pineapple pizza puts out a single pepperoni pie. Everyone rushes to the buffet—but how many pieces should you take? Should you let the little kids go first? And who is this cook who has turned my lunch hour into a moral dilemma?

I understand “creating demand.” I’ve lived through Power Rangers and Pokemon, and I’m not opposed to profit or the desire to sell everything you have out on the floor. Just don’t expect me to cut people off at the knees in response to some faux desperation you’re forcing on me for your economic convenience. I only do that for that last Red Ranger on Christmas Eve.

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