Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Seasonal Confusions

Living in Florida is confusing enough. Throughout the year Michael and I have to stop and remind ourselves of the current season, and occasionally, the current month. For example: "This commercial says no payments until January. What month is it now?" "Is summer over? I keep seeing back to school supplies on sale" When you can literally wear the same outfit from May 1 until October 31 (a tank top and cotton skirt with flipflops, in case you wondered) your brain is often confused. The change in seasons is virtually non-existent. But I knew that when I moved here and am OK with it. This 'what month are we in' confusion also tends to kick in when you are no longer in school but don't yet have children living an academically centric life. There is no school year with Halloween parties, final exams, winter concerts, spring breaks, etc. etc. We experienced it to a lesser degree while living in DC. I am wearing a coat to walk to work, therefore it is winter. I am sweating profusely during my walk to the metro. Must be summer. But God help me if I needed the exact month.

Well, as if all that wasn't bad enough, the retail establishments have TOTALLY LOST THEIR MINDS. I was in Lowe's today (wearing the aforementioned tank top and cotton skirt with flipflops, which gets you a lot of attention, let me tell you) and in the front of the store I saw all the Christmas decorations set up next to the patio furniture and outdoor grills. What the hell. Only in Florida would you see such a ridiculous store display before Halloween. True, you can buy and use patio furniture here year round. But do they have to set up the Christmas trees and singing snowmen next to it? And do they have to do it in October? Seriously, folks. Target is no better. The front of the store has Halloween candy on display, which is good news for those of us with a minor candy corn addiction. But then you walk back to 'seasonal' and the Halloween season is thinning out greatly, being pushed aside by green and red boxes. If your kids didn't buy costumes three weeks ago, they'll have to be a Christmas tree this year.

Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. You know the movie, Elf? It's semi-autobiographical; my sister calls me "Buddy" around the holidays. But I also happen to enjoy candy corn for Halloween and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. When was the last time you saw a Thanksgiving decoration or anything that alluded to the holiday in a retail establishment? If you did, it was not front and center, that's for sure.

I understand why stores do this- they want to sell as much Christmas stuff as possible, thinking with the less than stellar economy we'll spread our spending over a few months. And Christmas is, in general, a good revenue source. Yet this confusion puts me, the consumer, in an awkward position. Do I buy Christmas cards and wrapping paper now? If I wait a few weeks will the selection be poor? If I buy now do I perpetuate the cycle of pushing Christmas earlier and earlier? We are spending our first Christmas as 1) a married couple 2) in a house 3) with a full sized tree! Do I buy the tree trimmings now? Thus far, I have purchased no decorations or supplies. But I fear I might start after Halloween. At which point I really won't know what month we're in!

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