The National Shopping Confederation has announced a new campaign to turn the Tuesday after Labor Day into the first day of the Christmas shopping season.
Calling the campaign "Operation Grab," the organization said a longer holiday shopping season would give consumers more time to do some comparison-shopping for appropriate and affordable gifts. It denied charges that the campaign's true aim is to give retailers more time to extract money from weary customers. Instead, as a spokesman proclaimed, "The confederation wants all shoppers to ring in New Year's Day with empty credit card balances." Fine Print Credit and Astronomical Rate Card, the nation's largest credit card issuers, made statements backing the campaign.
It's never too early!
For many, the Christmas shopping season now begins, unofficially, on the day after Thanksgiving. On Black Friday, millions of consumers crawl out of bed and line up outside stores before dawn in hopes of getting a once-a-year bargain on expensive gifts.
But the confederation spokesman said shoppers may be better equipped to attack early sales after Labor Day instead of following Thanksgiving.
"Studies show that pumpkin pie enhances the sedative effect of tryptophan in turkey, causing shoppers to remain groggy for at least 24 hours after Thanksgiving dinner," the spokesman said. "A recent clinical trial showed most consumers recover more quickly from the hangovers associated with Labor Day barbecues."
Consumers United, however, argues that the early start could only worsen the December scramble for the season's most popular gifts, because store shelves would be stripped bare sooner than usual. "This will only cause more incidents of shopping-cart rage in major malls and discount stores," Consumers United chief economist Jim Moneyman said. "Those incidents already cause hundreds of lawsuits every year."
Polls show that shoppers wait longer each year to finish buying gifts for their families. In a contrary trend, shoppers purchase gifts for their dog walkers, manicurists, and car washers earlier every year. Some critics have used that statistic to show that the nation has lost touch with the true meaning of the holidays -- it seems to mean that people are picking out unaffordable gifts for family and working until summer to pay them off.
The same polls show that only 0.01% of shoppers have completed their Christmas shopping by Labor Day. According to the National Shopping Confederation, that measly number proves that consumers obviously need someone to light a fire under their backsides and get the shopping season off to a profitable start.
Perhaps it would make the confederation happy to know that about 0.001% of holiday shoppers have already wrapped and tagged their gifts and placed them under a fully decorated tree in the basement, which will be moved into the living room on Black Thursday, when everyone else is standing in line outside the mall.
A spokeswoman for Martha Stewart declined to comment on the procrastination among the other 99.999% of consumers, but she did note that there are only 110 more shopping days left until Christmas.
Hmm. She's right. So why not get started early?
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