Whenever I walk into a pharmacy in October to buy seasonally appropriate Halloween candy, naturally there isn’t any, because for heaven’s sake, it’s October and — ha ha ha — they sold out of mini chocolate bars way back in August during the big Halloween retail push. Silly shopper.
And of course, there will be big Christmas displays everywhere by November, and the only moisturizers on store shelves will come in gingerbread or candy cane scents. Barf. Then suddenly I will hear “Jingle Bell Rock” or something equally annoying and festive for the hundredth time that day and will think to myself, “It’s still eight weeks until the actual holiday — what gives!” This might well be followed by “Gee, now seems like a great time to strip down to my foundation garments and run through the store tearing down all the inflatable Santas, laughing manically. You can have those Santas back when it’s actually Christmas, thank you very much, unnamed pharmacy.” (Not entirely sure why I strip down in my imaginary freak-out, but I do.)
Retail shopping seasons are a very specific kind of torment. They make sense to retailers, I suppose, but I’m tired of having every barista in town offer me a pumpkin latte the week after Labour Day. (Pumpkins do not belong in drinks. They are gourds, and gourds do not ever go into my coffee.)
What’s that you say? You went looking for Easter baskets in March, but you couldn’t find any? Did you just fall off the turnip truck? Those were all off the shelves the day after Valentine’s Day. Wait, you couldn’t find anything for Valentine’s Day by week 2 of January? You’re like a darling newborn baby wandering alone, looking for someone to help you in a Home Depot. Adorable. Feel free to shop for a swimsuit in March, but I challenge you to find one in July when, you know, you might actually want to go for a swim. Go ahead, I dare you. Hope you enjoy swimming in a T-shirt and shorts all summer! And nothing pierces the heart of children more than an urgent reminder to hurry and stock up on back-to-school binder sets the day after Canada Day. So painful.
Does telling people that they have to go shopping now actually make people shop more, or do they just shop for the regular amount of stuff a little earlier in a state of extreme annoyance? That is my guess. Or maybe it’s just a trick to get us to shop so early for things that we forget that we bought those things and we will panic and go and buy more things. Which I have done many times over. (It’s actually all starting to make sense to me now, from a retailer’s point of view. . . )
I think it’s time we wrestled our lives and our sanity back from the retailers. Yes, I’m a last-minute shopper, and I’m proud of my lack of organization. (Okay, if not proud, at least “accepting.”) I will shop in your stores, and I will buy the things I need to buy, but I want to do it in a seasonally appropriate way, thanks kindly. I want that frisson of Christmas glee when I buy a really special gift for someone; I just don’t want to buy it when it’s still 30 degrees out.
While I’m thinking about it, don’t make me pass out full-sized chocolate bars to the trick-or-treaters because I couldn’t get it together by Labour Day. That’s just mean. And don’t punish me for waiting till Christmas Eve to buy wrapping paper — my family will disown me if their gifts are wrapped in wedding-shower paper again. And for heaven’s sake, don’t make me run through your stores in my under jams. I mean, I’ll do it, if I have to — I’m nothing if not a sweeping-statement-maker — it’s just that I can’t imagine anyone wanting to see my underthings. They’re a little, shall we say, fatigued. I’ve been avoiding the shops until the holiday season is well and truly over. Whenever that is. ￼￼￼￼