Holiday Happenings in Retail


Photo courtesy of In the Know Mom

Holiday stress is not something new. Recently, though, the time which this anxiety begins has started even sooner.

I work at Walmart, which isn’t a horrible job all-in-all, but when my supervisors pull me from my actual job as a cashier and have me put up easter decorations on Feb. 15, I become upset. This job is not in the description that I got hired for, let alone the time left between then and Easter: 65 days.

This holiday is not the only one being prematurely announced, though. Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, New Years, Thanksgiving and even Superbowl Sunday are all days that decorations are set out months in advance. According to a Heritage Herald article, this phenomenon is now being called “Christmas Creep.”

Stores engage in this trend so that they can beat out their competition in getting more product sold. The hassle of getting every single thing out one or two weeks before the holiday is one that stores don’t like to participate in. Since the 80’s, stores, like Walmart, have been participating in “Creeping.” Apparently, it makes the season easier on stores and shoppers alike. Most of the time, holidays are supposed to be filled with love, laughter and family or friends. Having to shop at the last minute takes away from these festivities and often leads to more stress. Whether this stress is connected to wanting the reaction from a gift, setting up decor perfectly, or having the right treats on the table, it more often than not is better to have more time to prepare.

The last part of “Creeping” is the lowered prices. In the days, weeks, even months following a holiday, retail stores will continuously markdown leftover items. This benefits the store to be able to sell more merchandise and the consumer by being able to prepare for the season ahead with items at more reasonable prices.
At my job, we keep all discounted items in the seasonal isles, but items for the next holiday begin to appear on adjoining shelfs. This helps the customer and the employee by being able to spot the items that are marked down and directs the customer toward the new holiday’s product.

To me, this sensation is still not one that should happen so early. A month before-hand seems more reasonable than two plus months. This still provides time to reduce stress while enabling stores to sell more items. Because this trend is a part of my job now, I think it pulls away valuable workers from their workstations, or gives lazier workers the chance to slack off without being constantly monitored like they are in their designated areas.