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As Halloween decorations go down, Christmas trees start popping up

12/01/2010
By:

Monica Szakacs

Staff Writer

Jolly music playing from a shop’s open doors, green and red decorations hanging from a front store display and Christmas trees lit up at night, bring out the holiday spirit in many shoppers, according to Gabrielle Stella, junior education major.

“I enjoy two months of Christmas decorations,” said Stella. “I mean it’s only one day that Christmas is, so it’s nice to have the whole winter season of Christmas music and spirit.”

Stella said it depends whether she will shop early for Christmas. She said her decision is based on what merchandise is on display and how the storefront is set up in decorations.

“It gets you in the spirit when stores set up Christmas,” said Stella.

According to Stella, corporations are skipping Thanksgiving: It is all about marketing. She said it is about what holiday will generate more money and appeal more to consumers.

“Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday for shopping at all,” said Stella. “It’s not gift giving; Christmas is.”

Stella said it is part of department stores’ business plan to set up early for each holiday, because that is what gets the customers hyped up to buy certain products.

“Without Christmas decorations up,” said Stella, “it would be like, ‘Oh should I start buying now? When should I start buying?’”

Matthew Irizarry, junior art major, does not shop for Christmas and said people can admire and take in the holiday spirit without spending. He said he enjoys stores’ Christmas decorations and music.

“I’m starting to lose my childhood and I get excited, like I’m a little kid all over again,” said Irizarry.

He said people do not forget about Thanksgiving, rather they become more materialistic. People are more concentrated on getting the best prices, he said, rather than the joy that the holiday season should bring.

“People are totally oblivious to the fact that there is a tree in the middle of the shopping center, or decorations hanging up,” said Irizarry. “People tend to see it as a time to splurge on money, leading to their own debt.”

Sylvia Morales, junior social work major and Wal-Mart employee, said she does not think Wal-Mart sets up too early for Christmas because after Halloween when they pack away the merchandise, she said it leaves an empty space in the seasonal section. Sales for Christmas started right after Halloween, according to Morales.

“I think starting the sales early is a good strategy,” said Morales. “Actually, it made me do all my Christmas shopping. I only have a couple people left to shop for.”

Karen P. Burke, associate professor of media studies, said the goal of advertising is to have someone stop to look, or touch, or smell, or taste a product.
“The purpose of advertising is to engage someone’s five senses, it’s not to sell. That’s the manufacturers’ job,” said Burke.

Burke said in the long run it is not the consumer that makes out, but rather the corporations. Burke presented an example: If Wal-Mart advertises a camera for Black Friday, a consumer will maybe save $40. The corporation will not lose the $40 because it is built into the price. She said the day before, consumers were willing to pay $100 more and on Black Friday they are willing to pay $60 more. In actuality, Burke said if Wal-Mart bought the camera for $20 they mark it up 200 percent to sell it for $60.

“They are going to anticipate the sale, so they mark it up another 10-15 percent,” said Burke. “Many people will buy it at that price, but all of a sudden they put it on sale to the original price of the 200 percent mark up. They are still making money.”

The purpose of the example, said Burke, is to question consumers’ humanity. According to the Associated Press, on Black Friday in 2008 at a Long Island Wal-Mart, a mob of shoppers trampled and killed 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour, who was an employee at the time. Crazed shoppers even pushed first responders as they performed CPR on Damour, according to Long Island police officers.

“How can you be running over a worker? Hundreds of people to save $40,” said Burke. “It’s a capitalistic society, and we are taught from day one to consume. In the 2008 case, it was at the price of someone’s life. It’s scary.”

Morales said she has never shopped or worked on Black Friday before, but she said this year she will be working from 11 p.m. Thanksgiving to 11 a.m. Black Friday. Employees working for the Dixwell Avenue Wal-Mart have been trained for the event, according to Morales. She said her managers told her it will get packed to the point where no one will be able to move, according to previous years.

Irizarry said he never shopped on Black Friday, unlike his parents. It is a tradition to some people, he said, that can actually be dangerous.

“I think it’s good that they have the sales, but what happened in the past with people actually getting hurt is ridiculous,” said Irizarry. “They are risking their lives for a TV, or a camera that’s only going to last for so long until the next best thing comes out.”

Stella said she keeps her distance because she would not risk her life for material objects. She said she would rather pay a few extra dollars and avoid chaos.

“Honestly, it’s for amateur shoppers that think they are getting good deals when really they aren’t getting any good deals,” said Stella. “It’s just this crazed day that America set up for businesses.”

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