I saw this display when I was at the store today. They’re Valentines Day cards. It’s December.
What, birthdays and anniversaries aren’t good enough any more? Babies being born, friends moving into a new house – these occasions aren’t enough to sustain us the 2 1/2 months without a retail occasion?
I’m repulsed. And perhaps I feel so strongly because this is not an isolated event.
I was helping out with a little last minute shopping on Christmas Eve at Myer. While we navigated our way through the throngs of shoppers I witnessed employees pulling down the Christmas promotions and replacing them with the red “Stocktake Sale!” signs for the sale starting on Boxing Day. It wasn’t even closing time. Employees were loudly punching out signs to replace and blocking walk ways with ladders. Christmas had not even occurred and they were already preparing for the next sale.
Now, I’ve done my time in retail. I know we all want to get home for Christmas. Make life as easy as possible for the craziness that is the Boxing Day rush. Myer is also one of my preferred stores. I’m there at least once a week and have a loyalty card that certainly gets a work out.
But at that moment on Christmas Eve I stopped and realised how truly terrible it all is. There is no Christmas “spirit”. There are only Christmas “promotions”. A reason for a sale. And before it’s even over they’re preparing for the next one. Buy buy buy – whatever the reason.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to shop as much as the next guy. I find it relaxing. Almost meditative. And I’m not going to boycott anyone caught up in the machine of consumerism. But I am going to take this moment to acknowledge that sometimes, like now, the whole thing feels cheap, dirty and more than a little degrading.