Scrooging the Holiday

I got my first ‘Uh Oh’ when the JCrew outlet store I was grazing last week shoved advance Black Friday coupons in my bag. “Look at the deals you can get! Do you want to have our holiday coupons too? “It’s one thing when conventional retailers are 50%ing their fall inventory when the leaves haven’t turned. It’s another when off-priced centers are predicting they will have to bribe you back to save even more. Cheryl and Co, an online retailer sent me an email, saying how sorry they felt that finances were bad all around, so they’d help me with a discount on their cookies. Feeling a kind of Tiny Tim depression coming on, I wondered if retailer’s lack of confidence in the economy and the coming season wasn’t low enough. 

This advance notice of doom and gloom is making me wonder: 

— Just how long women will wait this year to shop? Over the last few years, women have adopted men’s last minute shopping procrastination as a strategy to catch the best bargains. Now that we feel assured that prices will continue to nosedive through December, will we just wait till Dec 26th to snare the best deals and just celebrate New Years instead?  

–Will the extra gimme’s and super price-cuts be what we brag about? “Hey Honey, you should really love that sweater because I got a triple point discount on it by shopping after midnight–and the matching socks were free!!” Will holiday memories run like this? “Instead of caroling, we just walked the mall and kept track of who was selling the cheapest flat screen!”

–Will we engage in a new kind of Holiday Haggling by sharing stories of diminished 401K’s or using pink slips as bargaining chips? Of course, with retail jobs being slashed, maybe customer pleas for sympathy will fall on deaf ears.

–And perhaps Re-gifting, that staple of the desperate shopper, will come into its own as the ultimate Green Gesture under the tree.

More likely, this year, women, the keeper of holidays, will take on the practical and rewarding role of bringing back the Ghost of Seasons Past…where cookies are baked with whatever’s in the pantry and presents are wrapped in newsprint to save on escalating fancy paper costs and the best gifts are either made by hand or promises of experiences where families can hunker down, wait it out and come out the other side, un-scrooged.

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May 23, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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