Bringing Out the Grinch in Me: Early Holiday Promotions

How soon is too soon for pushing the seasonal items? This article is about the retail workers who, day in and day out must subject themselves to pushing the holiday promotions even before other holidays have not yet approached. Written by Juliet Rocco

What season am I in? It was a few days after Halloween and I was browsing through the mall during one of my breaks between classes. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but I smelled something very holiday-esque and had to see where it was coming from for myself.

As I got closer, it became very clear where the aroma was coming from. Bath & Body Works was decked out for the holidays just two days after Halloween! There were ornaments hanging from the ceiling along with other seasonal decor, and holiday music playing energetically in the background.

“Buy 3, get the 4th one free!” A sales associate walked up to me as I was in my own little world smelling soaps and began firing off all of their store promotions (of course, she’s dressed as a walking holiday while I’m listening to her spiel).

Now, I worked in retail for a few years and have a natural tendency to tune out all of these promotional pitches so I just stared up at the ceiling and made a quick comment, “You guys sure are ready for the holidays, huh?” The woman responded very cheerfully but in an almost creepy way, “Yep! We are SO ready for the holidays! Isn’t it great?” My first thought was, “She will not be this happy within the next few weeks. Just wait.”

Needless to say, I was annoyed with how fast they ditched the pumpkins and fall theme, so I left in a New York minute. Of course, when I came home for Thanksgiving and did some Black Friday shopping, my mom was adamant about going in there.

Alright, now let’s fast forward to the beginning of December and see how those sales associates are doing. Forced smiles, tired expressions, and hearing the same holiday jingles on repeat all day will get the last of anyone’s sanity. I can empathize with them.

The earlier, the better? I know that there are pro’s and con’s to getting a head start in seasonal sales promotions, however, regular shoppers such as myself are not amused by how early the holiday decorations come up. This can potentially turn off a lot of customers if they see you’re not respecting the other holidays.

Takeaway: Marketers need to realize that consumers will still respond to a good sale promotion even if it doesn’t have the words “holiday special” attached. Granted, it is fine to start promotions early, but when you completely shun a turkey during Thanksgiving, I see a major problem! Also, take into account how the workers and managers are feeling. You can bet they’ll be burnt out and stressed after a while. Making them promote specials way in advance seems unreasonable to me.

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