Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Holiday Hysteria and Christmas Catastrophe: Holiday Marketing Schemes and the Anxious Consumer

This past Sunday, the Fam and I decided to go for a little trip down the toy aisles at Target to get a few ideas of what The Babes may want for Christmas. I anticipated the fun kind of trip where we talk about making a Christmas list and get all dreamy for The Big Morning.

What I did not anticipate was a store FILLED with people as if it were the last two weeks before Christmas. It was packed, people! Toys were MISSING from the shelves! MISSING!!

The one thing we really want to get Thomas – GONE!

When I asked a clerk to look in the back, they said there were no more. NO MORE!! And then I went into over share mode:

Me: Really? They are all gone?

Clerk: Yes, but we get shipment almost every day now.

Me: I just can’t believe that they are all gone.

Clerk: I know.

Me: I mean, the marketing scheme of getting the consumer to worry about Christmas and actively shop well before Thanksgiving is working. Here I am, FREAKING out that the one toy I really, really need is not on the shelf because I waited a whole week after Halloween to start Christmas shopping. Really, what kind of mom am I to have waited so long?

Clerk: You know, you can call us to see if we got the shipment in.

Me: Well, I may call everyday and be “that parent” who stalks the store until it comes.

Clerk: (nervous laugh) That’s OK. It happens all the time.

Me: Alright, talk to you tomorrow.

Well, I missed my call on Monday, and when I called today on Tuesday, the shop clerk actually asked if I called yesterday since “that is our shipment date.” No pressure, lady! I got it - I’m a bad mom because I didn’t call on one of your official shipment dates.

I know I’ve been writing a lot about how I am working to make stronger personal boundaries and find more peace in my life. And I think that I’ve been doing OK, but if there is a trigger for my anxiety besides hormones it is Christmas shopping. It’s like a damn cyclone that sucks me right in.

It starts with the gifts and then it gets me thinking about the celebrating arrangements with whom and when and the outfits and the food and the decorations. (Which will be the topics of future posts, I’m sure)

So even though I think we will be doing some things differently this holiday, it is clear to me that I still need to work on that whole consumerism thing. Although it is fun to buy presents, it’s not fun to stress out about it. And I have to say, “Hey Marketing Geniuses, you may have gotten me with that Fisher Price Stand n’Play Rampway and Just Dance for Kids, but I am in control from here on out.”

I hope, right?

I mean I do plan non-consumerism projects that help me teach the true meaning of Christmas, like baking cookies, looking at Christmas lights, doing crafts, stuff like that. But man, kicking that instinct to go into panic shopping mode is hard.

So there is a happy ending to all this: I did find the Fisher Price toy at another Target and Just Dance for Kids will be shipped to my house, thank you very much Amazon.

So, Friends, are you getting sucked into all the Holiday Hysteria? If not, how do you stay away from the cyclone.


Anonymous said...

Amazon. I was going to suggest it but you were ahead of me. I mostly shop online now. I love Christmas but I hate shopping near people at Christmas. And I hate shopping too soon. I saw Christmas decorations for sale in August! I like my holidays, but I like them one at a time.

Aunt Diane

La Mere Joie said...

Online shopping only. I try never to go to a store between Halloween and Passover. It's madness. I wish you the best of luck. And sanity!

Mommy on the Spot said...

Good advice, ladies. Maybe I need to step up my online shopping game!

Amy said...

Our Super Target is always out of EVERYTHING. I got the last...THE LAST...loaf of wheat bread the other day. WTF??

Anyway, I order all my gifts online. Most of the sites I go to offer free shipping this time of year (landofnod.com for example) and even if I do have to pay shipping, it saves me the stress of having to deal with others.

"others" annoy me.

Mommy on the Spot said...

Sounds like that Target needs to step up it's game in being "super" (although I would LOVE to have a super Target by me)!

I'll have to check out landofnod.com - thanks for the tip!

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

ummm ya. I have my lists but I haven't bought a single things yet. I have been waiting to *enjoy* it instead of rushing through it, but it seems like I will be rushing.

And yes, I have given out IOU's in boxes before when an item that was wanted was out of stock. My kids have learned young that mommy won't pay double for a sold out toy :-)

Mommy on the Spot said...

The Girl, you ROCK!!

LC Hunt said...

Yes, it's really not easy to stay clear of the hype, though give our children the Christmas they expect because of all of the commercialism. I'm a new follower to your blog. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

Mommy on the Spot said...

LC Hunt, thanks so much for reading! I totally agree with you - it's a tough balance to strike.

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