[Editor’s note: This is a republished column from 2007.]
’Twas the night before Christmas … and all the stores were closed.
Why? They needed a few hours to get ready for the AFTER Christmas sale.
All of the retail elves were home with the rest of us, anticipating the festival of unwrapping and judging the value and likeability (return-ability) of presents received.
The holiday season is a make-it-or-break-it time for most retailers and many businesses.
Is it my imagination, or is the Christmas “season” expanding? Remember when there was the excitement that the shopping season officially began “the day after Thanksgiving” – unofficially known as “Black Friday.”
The day AFTER Thanksgiving, stores opening at 8 a.m. – then 7 a.m. – then 6 a.m. – then 5 a.m. – then midnight. Trying to lure customers with the size, discount, and sale of their “pre-Christmas” then, based on social pressures, changed it to a “pre holiday” extravaganza.
EARLY WARNING SIGNAL: I’m sure you’ve noticed, as I have, that there are now Christmas items among the Halloween candies. In the drug stores, the card shops, the grocery stores, even the department stores, merchants are trying to remind you, and to sell you, whatever they can before the competition does.
Even online, companies like amazon.com had their seasonal art on landing pages by Halloween. Boo. (That wasn’t to scare you! That was the Philadelphia boo: the voice of disapproval. The “what were you thinking?” boo. The angry boo. The greedy boo. The boo-hiss.)
I don’t know about you, but I believe business greed is stepping over the line introducing the spirit of the holiday season before candy is handed to little ghosts and goblins, or before families gather to give thanks for our freedom, and for each other.
Seems as though businesses are willing to risk ridicule and reputation for a chance to ring their cash register.
Now while none of this is really a big deal, be aware that when some retailer, wanting to jump the gun, tries to pull off Christmas in October – or earlier – it generates thoughts in the mind of the consumer – none of them positive. And those thoughts lead to perceptions and buying decisions.
If I’m put off or angry at your early entry into the Christmas season, I may not return to buy when the actual season starts.