Christmas in July
Horrors of Hallmark, part 5:
Yes, Virginia, there IS such a thing as Christmas in July.
This weekend, Hallmark rolled out their 2010 Keepsake Ornaments, with much fanfare. What it meant for me was an 8-1/2 hour shift because, as anticipated, the store was mobbed with people who don’t know any better than to spend $15 and up on corporate-branded plastic crap. It wasn’t the crap that got me so much, or even the people who don’t know better than to buy it; it was the 8-1/2 hour shift – not fun for old people, or even those who are no longer young such as yours truly. Fortunately I got off early enough in the day to come home, put my feet up on the couch, and watch them swell.
As for the crap, well, it is what it is. Just more stuff for people to spend money on, and as noted, most of it a merchandising tie-in to some other company’s trademarks. There are some that you’d expect: Rudolph, Polar Express, etc. But then there are the Disney ornaments, Barbie ornaments, Star Wars ornaments – you name it, and if Hallmark can turn a buck on it, they’ll make it into an ornament. But just to give you an idea as to the insanity of those who “collect” these things: our store did about $10,000 in business in these by the time I left yesterday. At an average of $15 a pop, that’s over 650 of them that went out the door in 10 hours, most of them reserved or pre-paid by people who had submitted “wish lists” weeks earlier. I won’t go so far as to say all collectors are insane but…I really can’t see the point in collecting plastic marketing tools that don’t DO anything other than hang on a tree.
All that having been said, there were some lighter moments to the day, beginning when someone broke one of the Star Trek ornaments and we brought it up to the front. Since it was a “magic” ornament that played music when you pressed the button, I spent the rest of the day pressing the button…over, and over, and over again. The ornament depicted the famous Star Trek “Kirk and Spock Fight” theme:
Which of course reminded me of this scene from The Cable Guy:
I and one of the other girls working kept doing the Jim Carrey sing-along with the tune. Horribly annoying, I’m sure, but then again, so is working an 8-1/2 hour shift waiting on people who don’t know better than to spend hundreds of dollars on corporate marketing crap.
The other thing that really got me was that I kept hearing this banjo music wafting up from the ornament display. Finally I asked someone, “WTF, did Hallmark make a Deliverance Keepsake Ornament? Why didn’t they do one with Ned Beatty squealing like a pig?” Turns out it was all much more upbeat than that; the banjo music went along with the “Jingle Jamboree” ornament, which you can hear here.
I really should lighten up on some of this stuff; I mean, even I’m tempted by the things that push my buttons. I’m a sucker for anything Suess – right now the calendar hanging on the wall behind my computer shows an illustration from If I Ran the Circus. I also have a weakness for anything related to Where the Wild Things Are, which made this ornament somewhat hard to resist:
But resist it I did, even though with my discount I could have picked it up for quite a bit less than the retail price people were paying for the much-less-cool ornaments that were flying off the shelves.
What would be the point, after all, in buying an ornament when you never bother putting up a tree?
I will say this for our little Christmas in July hoedown: at least they didn’t make us listen to Christmas music. THAT would have been a deal-breaker.