The Holiday Shopping Experience…more pathetic than ever

Cutting right to the chase I am not a Grinch, actually I love the holiday season like most, but as of late it’s hard to be anything but annoyed when you go to any store recently. One of the most glaring things both my wife and I notice on a disturbingly frequent basis is how messy stores have become. At some of the more famed holiday retailers who are synonymous for putting on the holiday cheer it’s not only pathetic, it’s down right disgusting.

Retailing has been an art form since the dawn of time. Put your merchandise in the best possible spot, and if there is a theme to be exploited, exploit it, pure and simple. That formula has worked brilliantly, but now…not so-much. The main culprit? Bottom line  numbers only mentality, no more empathy for the season. Playing Christmas music over the store speakers while allowing the atmosphere within the store to seem like Bastille day is not what the holiday season is all about.

Here are just a few particulars that I see with glaring regularity that are not only obvious to all, but are darn right pathetic.

1. More than one seasonal decoration up at one time. Seriously, can you take down the witches and skeletons before you put up Ole Saint Nick?

2. Can I please find at least 1 item on a shelf that is priced?

3. If you’re going to send me coupons because you value my business, please don’t send me a 50% off any single item only to find that there is only 1 single item I can actually use the coupon for.

4. Does anyone go through the shelves any longer to straighten out the merchandise? I’ve seen more organization in a kids closet than in most stores.

5. If every transaction seemingly needs to be approved by a manager, can you either hire more managers, or allow staff to possibly make a decision?

6. If you’re going to decorate, then decorate. Putting up decorations that are left fallen down, or came unglued from the wall and are dangling like a rope, or even worse, look like you rummaged through the lost and found bin of holidays past, please stop. Nothing would be better than the something you have up. Trust me on that one.

7. Make it a punishable offense of maybe life imprisonment without the possibility of parole if a customer approaches an employee to ask a question, and they are either texting or talking on their phone only to say  ” Hold on I’ll be with you in a minute.”

8. Clean the store, clean the store, clean the damn store! I have never in my life seen such filth in so-called upscale retailers. The first thing to cut is the cleaning crew when trying to hit numbers, and it not only shows, it’s on full display.

9. Buy one get 2 free, only to see the next week buy 3 get 7 at half off, only to be replaced the next week with buy 1 at regular price and 50% off the next then 75% of the next 2 is really putting my math skills to a test. It also leaves me with the feeling every time I come back that I really didn’t get a bargain, as a matter of fact, I think I actually got hood-winked and payed more than not on sale prices. Just makes me feel cheery when that happens.

10. Why have this charade of ” Black Friday” only to see it offered before the date as a  “Pre-Black Friday” or some other foolish new stunt. I’m needing a day planner just to keep up with the sales planner, and as far as I’m concerned, they can’t plan.

I could go on and on with this list, but you get the picture. The holiday shopping season has been morphing into some ugly monster for decades. It just seems to be so revealing lately that it’s too hard to gloss over any longer.

Maybe that’s why they leave the Halloween decorations up so long. To remind us of Christmas shopping past, because the holiday spirit of late is frightful.

Mark