My Thoughts, Exactly » Jim Chase

Posted by on Nov 17th, 2011 and filed under Viewpoints. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Discounts for Dessert

So are you ready for the big day? Can you believe it’s only one week away? Are you feeling the excitement? Made all your preparations? Ready to consume as much as you possibly can?

If you think I’m writing about the Thanksgiving feast, you are so-o-o-o-o old school. No, I’m referring to the official kickoff of the annual shop-a-palooza extravaganza known as the retail holiday shopping season.

That’s really the point of the season, isn’t it? I mean, it’s bad enough that we no longer blink at the sight of Christmas decorations on sale across the aisle from Halloween displays. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as restraint at the altar of commerce. I did see one notable exception, however. One of my Facebook friends posted a photo recently of a sign posted in the window at an unnamed Nordstrom location. The sign said, “We won’t be decking our halls until Friday, Nov. 27. Why? Because we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time.” Now, how refreshing is that? I hope Nordstrom is swamped with cash-carrying customers. If I had any, I’d definitely support them.

Few people know better than I do that this economy has devastated businesses across the country. But this relentless push to lengthen the end-of-year retail ritual has gotten out of hand. For years, as Halloween has grown in popularity and profitability and as Christmas has been turned into little more than a secular spending spree, I’ve wondered how long it would take the combined worlds of media and commerce to figure out a way to make something more lucrative out of Thanksgiving. New Year’s is big business. Valentine’s Day makes retailers swoon. Easter and Fourth of July make cash registers ring-a-ding-ding. But Thanksgiving has been relatively untouched by commerce, with the exception of the shopper stampede to grocery stores and the availability of some lame greeting cards that nobody ever actually buys.

But this year it’s finally happened. They’ve figured out what to do with Thanksgiving. The answer? Ignore it. Rather than tolerate the spending speed bump that this holiday has been, this year Thanksgiving Day itself has officially become a starting gate for the Christmas season – oops, sorry – for the Happy Holidays season of super sales. More than ever before, the overwhelming, non-stop message is: Why wait until the Black Friday or Cyber Monday to begin racking up more credit card debt? Drop that drumstick and get out there and shop, people!

Last year the big news was that some stores would open their doors at 4 a.m. on Black Friday. This year, many stores have already announced that they’ll open at midnight on Thursday hoping to draw shoppers in like moths to a deeply discounted flame. Wal Mart has even announced they will open up for business on Thanksgiving night itself at 10 p.m. I’m sure others will follow. What a shame.

Even if you don’t succumb to the incessant push to buy, buy, BUY! – one can’t escape the onslaught of “holiday” mania.

I’ve written before how I steadfastly refuse to listen to our family’s extensive collection of Christmas music until the Friday after Thanksgiving. The season is so special to me in both meaning and tradition I don’t want to lessen its significance by rushing things.

And yet, more than a week before Thanksgiving, my wife and I ended an evening walk at a local Starbucks and found ourselves listening to – you guessed it – Christmas (dang!) holiday music. Good old Lou Rawls was singing of glad tidings as the baristas merrily went about decking the halls with trappings of politically correct comfort and joy. Sigh.

Ever one to put a positive spin on things (stop snickering), I suppose the dearth of folks around Thanksgiving tables this year could ultimately be a good thing. After all, it means more leftover pumpkin pie for yours truly.

I’ll see you ’round town.

© 2011 WordChaser, Inc. Jim Chase is an award- winning advertising copywriter and native of Southern California. Readers are invited to “friend” his My Thoughts Exactly page on Facebook. Also visit Jim’s new blog with past columns and additional thoughts at: http://

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