This is the time of year when we turn to one of the great pastimes of modern society – arguing about when Christmas lights and decorations and store displays should go up.
A couple of things bring this debate to the forefront of my cerebellum. First, as I mentioned, a neighbor has his Christmas lights (a single string along the gutters – pffft! – amateur!!) up and illuminated the day after Halloween.
Everyone active in social media has been bitching about “Christmas creep” for weeks as the first store displays started to rise. I saw reports of some being seen just after Labor Day. I don’t know about your neighborhoods, but here in the bee-YOU-tiful San Fernando Valley I saw my first of this year at Lowe’s, the day I was there for parts to fix the broken irrigation pipe. (Okay, to try to fix the pipe, followed by abject failure.) Then, a good number of places started to put up a little bit of Christmas material just before Halloween. After that? I don’t think the last trick-or-treater had gotten home and tucked into bed before legions of stock clerks descended on the stores to go maximum Christmas.
So is it Thanksgiving season? Christmas season? An all-inclusive, dodging-the-question-in-our-best-politician-style “holiday season?” Rabbit season! Duck season! Rabbit season! Duck season! Rabbit season! Rabbit season! Duck season! Duck season, shoot me, shoot me now! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
I would propose that you’re all wrong. It’s catalog season!
We’ve ordered gifts from a lot of online and mail order places over the years. Not only do we get multiple catalogs from each of them, but when they sell their lists to other companies, we get all of those catalogs also. Then from a third generation of places we’ve never heard of when that mailing list gets sold…
Monday, the flood gates opened at the Post Office.
We have a PO Box and most of the year we can go a week or even two without it filling up. But in November and December, even going to get the mail three and four days every week isn’t enough to keep it from being so crammed with catalogs that you can’t get the mail out of the box.
Here’s Tuesday’s haul:
Thirty-two catalogs weighing in at over seven pounds! Of the thirty-two, I only recognize four companies that we’ve ever done business with. And these are just the catalogs addressed to The Long-Suffering Wife! I had gone through the stack at the post office and tossed four or five more (airplane and photography stuff) that were addressed to me.
We’ll do this at least three times a week for the next nine weeks. That extrapolates out to just under a thousand catalogs weighing in at almost 200 pounds!
“Well, that’s the price of doing business!” you’ll say. “Bullshit!” I’ll say. After all of the trees killed, the production costs, the printing costs, and the mailing costs, how much business will they get from us?
Zero point zero dollars. Every single one of these catalogs went straight into the recycle bin within seconds, and 99.9% of the rest of that thousand catalogs will follow just as quickly.
In this age of Amazon Prime, internet shopping, and shopping from your freakin’ phone, why do companies continue to waste all of this money, time, effort, and trees on something that has such a pitiful rate of return?
Speaking of Amazon, how’s that deforestation thing going? If you’re missing a few acres of rain forest, I might have a clue about where it went.