Saturday, August 31, 2013

You Have To Buy Your Christmas Stuff Now, October Probably Too Late, Retailers Say

It's Labor Day weekend folks! Time to get your Christmas shopping done!

Yep, the nation's retailers, as they do every year, want you to buy all your Christmas stuff months before you need it. And if there's stuff you need now, like sunscreen, barbecue supplies, too bad! You should have thought to buy that in February, you moron!
Better get your Christmas shopping done now
if not sooner, say retailers  

The retailers decreed long ago that we are not to buy stuff when we need them.  That's why winter clothing appears in stores in July at the latest, Halloween candy appeared in June, and all the Christmas stuff is out now.

I keep seeing these vague explanations of why retailers give us all this "Christmas creep." where goods appropriate for the holidays appear on store shelves now, instead of November or December when you actually need it.

Retailing is supposed a rough and tumble business, and to get your dollars, the thinking goes, they have to be the first with seasonal stuff. Which is why we're awash in Christmas decorations here in August at the same time half the nation is baking in a heat wave and people want to buy nonexistent beach towels and swimwear.

Or, they say, people love holidays like Christmas and retailers are obliging them by offering them holiday stuff now. Of course I haven't seen any polling that proves this.

Really. I only know a few people who are that enthusiastic about Christmas, and there are specialty stores that cater to them.

My theory is retailers are trying to make us buy stuff months before we need them because they hate us. Or, more politely, they just want our money.

The basic fact that they want our money is fine. They have to make a profit. But the business model I like is long gone. It used to be stores sold us quality stuff at a time of year we wanted it. We'd get what we want, the stores would get our money and both the store and us were happy that everyone was happy.

What they're doing is training us to panic. We now know we can't buy things we need when we need them, so we have to rush to buy them six months before they do us any good. They triggers our hoarding instincts. If we perceive things are going to be scarce when we need them, we panic and get more than what we need now.

So we end up stuck with the 12 Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer figurines we never needed but decided we had to buy because there will be no Christmas gifts available for purchase around Thanksgiving.

Plus we're out the $9.99 (plus shipping!) for each of these useless Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer figurines we, and nobody else really wants.

It's hot and sunny outside in Vermont today. I need sunscreen. But I'm out. Should have bought more in February. Thanks, nation's retailers. Only you forgot if I die of skin cancer, I can't buy any more of your useless goods. So maybe you won't get rich off me any more.

In any event, I've got a business proposal out there for anyone who is interested. You'll make billions out of the idea and you'll make the Waltons Family of Walmart look like paupers.

The deal is, if you go with this idea, you have to give me just one percent of the profits. I'll be a billionaire, too, under this scenario.

This is the plan: We open a national chain of department stores that sell things only when people need them. Imagine the joy of finding ample supplies of Halloween candy in mid-October, plentiful back to school clothes in August, beachwear in June and tons of Christmas decorations in early and mid December.

I bet our stores would constantly be mobbed with happy customers. It'll be the most successful store in the history of the nation.

Trust me.

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