Saturday, November 5, 2011

Think About Marketing

Each year, Christmas comes too early.

It's supposed to be a joyful holiday, a celebration of Jesus's birth; but, instead, marketers create a depressing collage of commercialism. And like pawns in a board game, people fall for it, going to malls and superstores and spending money they don't have for things they don't need (and, often, don't even want). I avoid superstores, and I've been to a mall about twice in the last two years. I avoid shopping at all (except for groceries and other necessities), although I will support local/independent stores--if I have a need to buy anything, that is.

The day after Thanksgiving is the day I do the opposite of what many people do. Instead of buying anything, I give stuff away. I'm currently in the process of sorting through my clothes, books, and other items. While I clean out my closets and shelves a few times each year, November is when I do my major "Spring cleaning" (I know...wrong time of year). Donating to a good cause (I usually take my items to the American Cancer Society's local Discovery [resale] shop) feels to be more in the "spirit" of the season than buying things. It's my mini-protest against the commercialism of Christmas.

The marketing department at the company I work for sends out an e-newsletter every two weeks with what they deem note-worthy or interesting information. A couple of weeks ago one of these items was about retail giant Nordstrom and how it "will not be decorating its stores for this holiday season until the very end of November..." in order "to give its customers a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families first." The newsletter blurb continues: "Whether this is truly the spirit of Thanksgiving in action or simply a genius marketing tactic is up for you to decide." (Note: I have not confirmed that this information is actually true. If I knew where a Nordstrom was, I might be curious enough to actually visit; but I'd rather hear from my readers. That way I don't have to go near a mall or shopping center--I break out in hives if I get too close....)

The cynic in me wonders why Nordstrom customers can't celebrate Thanksgiving with their families anyway, regardless of how the store is decorated. How would a store's decor affect that?

Is it a marketing ploy? Is it a tactic to get customers in the store to see if it's decorated or not? If so, I don't want to fall for it.

Even without shopping (at Nordstrom or anywhere else), I'm bombarded with Christmas everywhere I turn. Instead of putting me in a joyous spirit, it depresses me. I don't want to hear Christmas music yet. I don't want to see Christmas trees or festive decor. I'll be sick of it by the time Christmas actually arrives.

Call me Scrooge, but it's marketers who have ruined this holiday for me.

Bah-hum-bug. Pass the eggnog.

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