Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Christmastime in October…

A photo posted by arthur_amerinz (@arthur_amerinz) on

I know I’m a bit old fashioned, but October 18 seems awfully early for Christmas decorations to be up. The worst part is, they were probably up well before today, but I didn’t see them. And there's just under nine weeks remaining until Christmas.

I’ve said many times that it’s a bit rough for New Zealand retailers because they have nothing to signal the start of the “Christmas shopping season”. In the USA, there’s Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then the actual Christmas shopping frenzy.

But here in New Zealand, we have the Labour Day holiday this coming Monday, then—well, Christmas. Nothing in between (though once every three years there’s an election for Parliament). So, there’s no particular date or occasion or whatever to mark the start of the “shopping season”.

I’ve also mentioned many times the rather haphazard and half-hearted attempts to make Halloween a thing in New Zealand. Retailers’ efforts ebb and flow, and some years there’s more effort than others. This year, The Warehouse store at the same mall as the photo above had a larger than usual Halloween display—I’d estimate around 12-16 square metres of floor space—with costumes, a few decorations, maybe a bit of candy. That's actually kind of a large display for a NZ retail store.

As I walked into one of the grocery stores in the lower level of the mall, a worker was putting up that fake cobweb-like decoration near the entrance. Their display, just inside the turnstyle sort of entrance, and in the produce section, was nothing special—so “nothing”, in fact, that I could easily have missed seeing it.

Halloween offers nothing to department stores like Farmer’s (in the photo above), stores that make big money thanks to Christmas. So, it’s natural that they’d try and get Christmas shopping to start as early as possible. It’s also logical that discount stores like The Warehouse and grocery stores would focus on Halloween: It offers a seasonal promotion on the kinds of stuff they sell normally, anyway. But Halloween means nothing to most Kiwis, and the early start to Christmas—well, it’s just too damn early.

I wish retailers would at least wait until November before they started this Christmas promotion stuff. I understand why they don’t, but I really wish they would. I guess that’s one Christmas wish I won’t see Santa fulfil.

Related: My friend Jason’s local Home Depot has switched to Christmas promotion, too, and Jason also thinks it’s a bit early. However, their Halloween display was up in early September, which he thought was too early, too.

The photo above is crooked and not well framed because I was in a bit of a hurry: The mall has signs at every entrance forbidding photographs, and I was only willing to take my rebellion just so far and no farther…

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