Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Time Warp

So I was in the dollar store the other day (don't judge me - I KNOW you shop there, too! Besides, this was Dollarama which is the Marks & Spencer of dollar stores, so that makes it ok). I was nonchalantly browsing for items to vastly improve my karma when all of a sudden I was confronted with three vibrant columns of bright orange, with some black and purple accents. Spider, pumpkin and cobweb shapes danced in front of my wondering eyes. It took me a moment to process as I did not recall ever seeing such a thing before.

Because, of course, orange and black and cobwebs can only mean one thing...fruit that's been sitting on the counter waaaaay too long?! NO! HALLOWEEN!!  Yes, that's right, Halloween merchandise is now on the shelves...IN JULY!

Ummm, hello Dollarama-merchies-on-high?! Halloween is in OCTOBER, in case you forgot.

I mean I realize the people that make the decisions for a store chain like Dollarama probably aren't the sharpest tools in the shed (all the more proof that you don't have to be smart to become a freakin millionaire). I also realize that stores get shipped holiday merch months ahead of time so that they can have any chance of selling it off, and that sometimes they have empty space that they need to fill (especially during the slow hump time of mid-summer...hm, slow hump, that conjures quite the image). I have worked in retail and I currently work for a retail company - I understand how businesses work. I also understand shopping quite well since I do so much of it, and as such I realize that just because this stuff is IN stores doesn't mean I have to buy it, or even look at it, and I completely see the value of shopping early to avoid the rush and sifting through picked over crap.

However, it's the principle of the thing that bothers me. I think there's such a thing as TOO early. I mean, seriously, Halloween in July?! What the eff?!

Seeing this crap in the middle of summer reminds me of the darker, colder days to come and that's one reminder I just don't need. Summer is a time I especially like to enjoy the here and now - since I live in a country where winter is bloody cold and lasts most of the year and I am a huge sun-worshipper but can't afford to move somewhere that's warm all the time without a sugar daddy. I very much look forward to the four-or-so months that it's sunny and warm. I love going to the beach, wearing sandals and cute summer dresses, eating popsicles, laying in the sun and soaking up Vitamin D, and other such enjoyable warm-weather activities. And I've got news for you California - unlike you we only get to do this for a very short time before we have to start layering and shivering again. Four months goes by in the blink of an eye (especially when you spend most of it inside an office). Hey, it's already almost August and I feel like summer just started last week!

Given this reality, I wish to make the most of summer while we have it. And that means I DON'T WANT TO BE REMINDED OF THE SEASONS THAT AREN'T HOT AND SUNNY (that is to say the entire rest of the year) IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER!!

I've also noticed Fall clothing popping up in stores, school supplies in WalMart (yes, I shop at WM too! That's right, keepin it classy since '84), not to mention bloggers and tweeters et al talking about how they can't wait to get into Fall knits and tweeds! Speak for yourself, people - I'd be quite happy to wear shorts and sandals all year 'round and I'd appreciate it if you didn't ruin my summer lovin' with thoughts of heavy sweaters and jackets.

I feel this is a phenomenon that permeates our entire society, and one that completely baffles me. It's always about the NEXT season, the NEXT holiday; never about the here and now and savouring that. It seems like every year the NEXT thing comes out earlier and earlier. Christmas merch used to be out just after Halloween ended - now we are seeing it out as early as September or October. Easter candy is now coming out before Valentine's Day. It's like we live in this strange time continuum where every year time speeds up and months seem to completely disappear from the calendar.

This phenom can't even reasonably be blamed completely on retailers - they are just giving us what we want to buy - which means that this time warp is happening because we, the people, are making it happen (well not ME, but all you crazies who are actually thinking about Christmas at the cottage). And WHY are we demanding this? Do we just want to get things done earlier and earlier to avoid stress and effort later? I can sympathize with that, but think about it: is your life really going to be that much easier if you buy your Christmas lights on Labour Day weekend? Are you really getting better Halloween candy if you buy it on Natal Day as opposed to, say, a month ahead?

The answer is NO. Chances are you are still going to be stressed and rushing to get all your shopping and wrapping and baking done in time for Dec 24th because (in keeping with another human phenomenon - that, in a strange irony that only human beings could live up to, is the exact reverse to the one I'm discussing while also operating hand-in-hand with it) you will likely STILL leave many things until the last minute. And, chances are you are buying the EXACT same lights and decorations and food three months ahead that you would be buying one month ahead (though obviously prices could vary). The only difference is you have to find space to store all of this stuff until the holiday actually comes, which means you don't get to enjoy it right away and (if you are anything like my mother) will most likely forget you ever bought it in the first place.

Holidays have become FAR too commercialized anyway, but that's another blog post and this one's already long enough.

Let me be clear: I'm certainly not advocating that we never plan ahead and just let life come to us as it will. TRUST ME, I'm one of the biggest planners out there - ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you that I'm always looking ahead and anticipating. I'm also not advocating against buying holiday merchandise - I for one LOVE holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas, and really enjoy decorating for them. All I'm saying is that we don't need to cross that bridge until we come to it, as my mom often says. Let's plan ahead, but not so far that our present is forgotten and wasted.

So, I have an idea: lets enjoy summer while we have it. Lets enjoy the sunshine and the flowers and the green grass and the ice cream, and lets wait another month or two before thinking about Fall and Winter. Or think about Fall and Winter if you want to, but keep it to yourself and let me enjoy what's left of my summer, thanks.

5 comments:

Allison said...

I totally agree. it's 29 degrees here now and I don't want to even begin to think about a knit sweater.

I do disagree with you on one point - it is totally the retailers that caused this. Us humans just followed them. "Oh, Christmas stuff is out, we'd better check it out."

For Christmas I'm actually okay with it dragging out. i tend to enjoy the build up to Christmas rather than Christmas Day itself. All the parties and gatherings and I actually really enjoy christmas shopping.

Do I want to be thinking about this now? Absolutely not. I hate thinking about the future now because I'm stuck in such a rut right now I don't even want to think about where I'll be in December.

Kim Humes said...

Ya Al, I see what you're saying - retailers are certainly not blameless in this situation. I love Christmas too and the build up to it - it's really fun and magical - but I just don't want to hear about it like three months in advance. I love Halloween too but I don't want to think about it in summer!

Kim said...

I finished reading this and was all, "AMEN SISTA FRIEND!!". I hate that when summer is in full swing (August) and it's still hot, it starts getting really hard to find cute summer clothing and shoes. And you're right, we spend our lives in a perpetual state of "Next, please!" and rarely take time to enjoy or appreciate the present.

Kim said...

I finished reading this and was all, "AMEN SISTA FRIEND!!". I hate that when summer is in full swing (August) and it's still hot, it starts getting really hard to find cute summer clothing and shoes. And you're right, we spend our lives in a perpetual state of "Next, please!" and rarely take time to enjoy or appreciate the present.

Allison said...

I totally agree. it's 29 degrees here now and I don't want to even begin to think about a knit sweater.

I do disagree with you on one point - it is totally the retailers that caused this. Us humans just followed them. "Oh, Christmas stuff is out, we'd better check it out."

For Christmas I'm actually okay with it dragging out. i tend to enjoy the build up to Christmas rather than Christmas Day itself. All the parties and gatherings and I actually really enjoy christmas shopping.

Do I want to be thinking about this now? Absolutely not. I hate thinking about the future now because I'm stuck in such a rut right now I don't even want to think about where I'll be in December.

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