Wow! Did Hallowe’en ever sneak up on me this year or what? I was down at the local Costco a couple of days ago on Saturday, July 30 buying a dufflebag-sized container of peanuts, a megaliter of coffee cream, and a palette of cigarettes when I noticed that they have already started stocking Hallowe’en candies and stuff!
Don’t get me wrong, aside from being a huge fan of Hallowe’en I absolutely love shopping at Costco. It’s my number one favourite one-stop shop for just about everything I need.
One of my younger brothers who also shops there regularly will drop by for a coffee and notice something new around my house. “New piano! Costco?”, he’ll ask. I’ll respond, “Yup. On special, too.” Or I’ll try a new recipe to bring over to his place for a pot-luck dinner. As he samples a shrimp he’ll reflexively ask “Costco?”, and I’ll say, “Yup. I bought the big ones for a change.”
Even acquaintances know about my shopping habits. I went to my dentist and told him that I thought I had an abscess. The first thing he asked was, “Costco?”
Anyway, back to the Hallowe’en stuff… one of the very few things I don’t like about Costco is their scheduling of seasonal items’ display dates. I mean, we’re three months away from Hallowe’en and having a record-breaking hot and muggy summer here. What’s going to happen to the chocolates and candies between now and the end of October? If they sold spooky skull chocolates a little melting might make them a bit scarier, but any normal chocolate bar’s appearance is going to be degraded by all this heat, won’t it? Any hard candies will have ninety days to absorb the atmospheric humidity and by the time Hallowe’en rolls around, they are bound to have become gooey smudges.
A couple of years ago my lawnmower died quietly in its sleep so I had to replace it. My first thought was to go to Costco where I had seen some pretty nice machines at a good price the previous week. When I got down there, all the mowers were gone. I asked an employee if they had been moved to another area of the store and was told that the season had ended, and it was only July! There was still another two or three months of grass cutting left in the year.
And then there’s Christmas. If memory serves, Costco starts putting out the Christmas stock out in mid-September, giving this major-spending holiday over one hundred days of consumer exposure. And the first day they’re open after Christmas, every last speck of Christmas stock, except possibly for edibles, is gone — no buying greeting cards on Boxing Day. The chocolate Easter bunnies make their first appearance before New Year’s Day.
I don’t know about you but I have to be in the moment in order to do my best Christmas shopping. The weather has to be a bit Christmasy. I find it hard to sustain my enthusiasm for more than a couple of weeks for any event. In that way, Christmas shopping is a lot like sex. Here’s an imaginary scenario to illustrate what I mean:
If a wife caught her husband looking at internet pictures of a woman in very revealing lingerie she has three possible options:
- She could freak out and accuse her husband of not being satisfied with how she looks and grill me to no end about his desire to cheat on her, or…
- She could run out and buy the exact same skanky outfit worn by the woman her husband was electronically ogling, dangle it in front of his face every couple of days but never put it on, and tell him that she has a “very special” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) birthday celebration planned for me a hundred days down the road, or…
- She could run out and buy the exact same skanky outfit he was electronically ogling and surprise him on my birthday.
Option #3 is, naturally, her best course of action. It would surprise the heck out of him and you can rest assured I’d get into the moment pretty darned quick!
Option #2 is the stupid choice. The husband will either a.) be worked into a tizzy that will last more than three months, or b.) become blasé over the whole idea. On his birthday, the husband will either jump the gun because he’s been teased for three months or will have long since been prematurely depleted of all the enhanced interest the naughty garment in question was supposed to produce. Either way, the whole thing will be pretty anticlimactic.
Option #1, unfortunately, is by far the most likely outcome.
So, Costco, how about waiting a little longer to display seasonal items and keep them available until a later date? November is just around the corner so if you do not care to heed my plea, at least stock some naughty Valentine’s Day lingerie for the wife in my hypothetical scenario.
UPDATE, August 8, 2011: Today I saw those Christmas gift label tags for sale at Costco.