Monday, November 7, 2011

Santa Competes with Halloween

 No recession at the Apple Store

I braved the crowds and went to the mall this weekend. Recession, what recession? I’m beginning to think that the recession is an elaborate hoax perpetrated by the media. First I had to park in the small lot far from the mall. It’s a little slice of parking that is hidden by foliage and driving lanes. It’s hiding in the corner of a major department store. There were a lot of people driving around looking for a place to park and streams of people walking to and from the parking lot. I remember when I was in college; the university I attended had a parking problem, more students than parking spaces. When you left class as soon as you hit the edge of the parking lot someone would ask you if you were leaving, they would then follow you to your space. Parking lot stalkers, this was the mall on Sunday.

Most interesting other the huge crowds was the Christmas decorations. Santa was in attendance and seeing kids and taking pictures. Just a few years back Santa would not be seen until the Friday after Thanksgiving. There was a big production made and signs would be put up so shoppers could anticipate his arrival. Not anymore, today he comes out before the Halloween 50% off signs go up. My local mall began putting Happy Holiday decorations up in October. Granted they didn’t go all out, but really, October? There was a pattern to Holidays and one could not start without the ending of the other. Halloween was in October, Thanksgiving was the fourth Thursday of November, and Christmas began after Thanksgiving and ended on New Years. Now the holidays are all mashed together and Santa is out and about the first week of November.

 Visit Santa at the mall on November 6th!

This is bizarre. I know that retailers are trying to get a jump on the holiday shopping season because this is when most of their revenue is generated. They are trying to lure shoppers to their stores in order to get people reinvigorated about spending. If people have a feeling that they need to purchase now, they are more likely to go ahead and spend. The only problem I have with this scenario is how much effort is made to get Christmas shopping on people’s minds. Retailers need to treat customers as an opportunity to spend all year round, not just for one special day. This was how it was before the recession. Customers need birthday gifts, anniversary gifts and other presents throughout the year. Additionally, customers purchase to replace or improve, this goes for our homes as well as our persons. Helping customers to make the right purchasing decision should be an ongoing endeavor, not a onetime quick shot.

I try and remind customers of special order times, shipping time and availability of an item. This is done all year round because I genuinely care about my customers and want them to find what they are looking for, any time of the year. So I am hoping that retailers place the emphasis back on the actual holiday and stop trying to get customers for Christmas during Halloween, it makes them look mercenary. Americans need to revamp the image that we are a capitalistic and consumer based society without any other redeeming features. The best way of doing this is to place more emphasis on customer service and less on shopping based on holidays. So maybe next year we should wait for Thanksgiving to be over before we bring out Santa, after all, there shouldn’t be a rush. In a meantime, you can get pictures of your kids in their Halloween costumes.

 A lot of shoppers already, there is still 47 days to shop!

1 comment:

  1. Christmas music was playing in the mall on the 1st of November! I think that is a bit too early. I also agree, what recession? People are spending more than I have ever seen. Electronics are flying off the shelves.