Retail starts the festive season early. Ridiculously early. So early in fact, that last weekend I spent the entire time implementing phase 1 of Xmas. In the middle of august. We now have loose cards on the racks, boxed cards taking up a significant space, multibuy xmas bags and money wallets out. And believe it or not, people are already buying.
Why you may ask yourself. Well, that’s a fine question. Some people like to be organised, whilst others just want to get in early before the madness that descends upon the shop as December rapidly approaches. Last year, we were solid with customers during December all day from 8.30am – 6pm 6 days a week and all day Sunday. There were times when I started on the tills at 8.30 and sometime later, I was wondering why I was hungry – because it was 2.30pm and I hadn’t moved for 6 hours, barely had a sip of water, let alone food or time to go to the loo!
We will have 5 phases of Xmas moves to do in total over the next few months, which will involve condensing existing cards down to make way for Xmas though not forgetting that people do still get married, have babies, die, pass driving tests, move home, have anniversaries and birthdays over the festive months. Gradually every day gift bags will be replaced with festive bags, boxes and boxes of Xmas wrapping paper will swamp our small stock room, eventually overflowing into the bathroom and I will come home every day with a glitter moustache that I’ll be utterly unaware of until I look in the mirror
The moves will involve much running up and down stairs carrying heavy boxes, up and down ladders on the shop floor putting up shelves, hanging things off hooks, getting things down off shelves for customers and reaching over the till to hand over bags of purchases. There will be over excited children, bored children, too many prams causing traffic chaos, exasperated parents and dithering old dears who count out every penny onto the counter slowly and deliberately. And all the while I will be smiling at everyone until my face hurts.
I am sure when I was a little girl (oh so many decades ago ) that retail didn’t begin to acknowledge Xmas until late September. The problem with starting so early is that shoppers get festive fatigue, let alone retail staff becoming fatigued, so fatigued in fact that by the time Xmas does arrive, it’s a case of “whatever, thank goodness it’s done for another year”.
So think of me dear readers, in my shop, standing looking at an expanding sea of red for the next few months that won’t stop when Xmas is done because by January 3rd, Valentine cards will be out on the racks. It’s red all the way for the next 6 months or thereabouts .
I love the yellow of Easter.