As someone who works in retail, I’m subjected to holiday shopping mayhem almost on a daily basis. This year, I’ve heard nothing but complaints from customers and retail employees alike about how retail has taken charge over the holidays and our enjoyment (or lack thereof) of them. It seems that consumers and employees no longer have a say in what holidays are important to us, when we want to start preparing for them or when and if we can even have the time to enjoy them. Here are just a few of the complaints that I’ve heard so far:
Complaint #1: Customers are wondering why Christmas merchandise is being thrown in their faces in July. Not only is it way too early to be shopping for that kind of stuff, but there’s something totally wrong about shopping for snowmen and reindeer when it’s 98 degrees outside.
Complaint #2: What happened to Halloween? It seems as though the Halloween section in most stores is shrinking and is being shoved aside to make room for Christmas merchandise almost immediately after it hits the sales floor. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is a lovely holiday, but can’t we have some time to enjoy Halloween first?
Complaint #3: What happened to Thanksgiving? It’s almost as if the retail gods have decided that since insanely large sums of money can’t be brought in through the sale of Thanksgiving merchandise, they are not going to sell any in their stores at all. Unless you’re looking for a turkey in a grocery store or a cheap looking ceramic version in a gift shop, you’re pretty much out of luck. Personally, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I love the fall season. I don’t think Thanksgiving gets the attention that it deserves. It’s been reduced to a nuisance of a dinner that gets in the way of our Christmas preparations. Also, retailers have made Thanksgiving even more insignificant by forcing their employees to work on the holiday as early as 8pm. Just enough time to choke down some turkey and get your butt to work. Nice.
Complaint #4: Christmas, Christmas, Christmas. As I said before, it’s a lovely holiday. But it’s not the only holiday. Believe it or not, there are some people, like me, who don’t celebrate it. My family is Jewish. We celebrate that other apparently insignificant holiday called Hanukkah. To all of the Jews out there, good luck finding nice Hanukkah merchandise, although I must say, Target had an entire aisle dedicated to the holiday last year. Gotta love Target. And what about Kwanzaa? I don’t know much about the holiday, but it exists and there are people out there who celebrate it. My point is that retailers should represent all holidays in some way. Personally, I think they would see an increase in sales figures if they had products that appealed to more people.
I could probably go on forever complaining about retailer’s take on the holidays, but I have to go to work at my retail job. Go figure. Besides, I think I’ve made you listen to my rant long enough. But this wasn’t just my rant. This was a rant from the masses. Maybe if we as consumers and retail employees rant a little louder, our voices will one day be heard. Probably not, but it’s worth a shot. And I know it’s only October, but Merry Christmas everyone.