12

I Want to Meet the Person Who…

Came up with the Starbuck’s drink that uses chocolate, caramel, whipped cream, and milk. Oh yeah, and coffee. I read somewhere that the large size has around 1200 calories. Do people really want to use up two-thirds of their recommended daily calorie allotment before they even look at food? I guess you could ask for low fat milk.

Decided that Christmas should start the day after Halloween. Do stores really want to advertise that the chocolate Santas will be two months old before they make it into someone’s stocking?

Designed women’s suede boots to be worn outside. How chic is it to arrive at a party and have to immediately excuse yourself to clean your boots before the salt permanently stains them? Or walk around with stained boots?

Thought up carrying a small dog as an accessory. I’m not convinced the dog really enjoys the crowds and the noise. And I have never seen one allowed to pick out his own food or toys. Not even a Halloween costume.

Decided that women weren’t injuring their feet and calves enough in 3” heels and introduced 4” and 5” shoes. And then thought up the ad campaigns to get young women to wear them.

Introduced the idea of “No Poo.” (Which, thankfully, has fallen out of favor.) And convinced a lot of women that not washing their hair for six weeks would be good for it. Hair is dead. Not shampooing every day to allow the natural oils to do their work? Good. Looking like a refugee from a ‘60s commune? Not so good.

Has convinced some people that a giant inflatable Santa looks good next to a Nativity scene on their front lawn. Two different concepts of Christmas. At least separate them by a sidewalk. Santa blowing over onto Jesus is not festive.

Decided not to commercialize Thanksgiving. You’ve missed untold opportunities for people to hang turkey ornaments on their outside trees, buy chocolate turkeys, and exchange tacky cards. Would you please talk to whoever is in charge of Christmas and Easter?

Sold people on the idea that they need a separate set of dishes for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. Not serving dishes or candy dishes. Full soup-to-nuts sets. (Does anyone know that phrase anymore?) I know there are people with enough room to store all that stuff. Do they really shop at Walmart?

Designed some parking lots so all the handicapped spots are down one lane rather than across two or three lanes in front of the store. Are you hoping to catch scammers that way? Or do you hate your mother and decided it would be a better outlet than becoming a serial killer? (Too many episodes of Criminal Minds?)

Decided to put “ethnic” vegetables in stores in “non-ethnic” neighborhoods without educating us. I wouldn’t mind trying the yellow, oblong, spiky thing or the green thing that looks like a mace with the long handle and round ball at the end. But there are no pictures (or there are 12 pictures, none of which look like what I have in my hand) and no description of its taste or use. Google is not helpful when you type in “yellow spiky vegetable.” And I don’t want to buy something that is going to make my chicken taste like dirty socks because it’s supposed to be eaten raw.

Designed my car radio with six buttons, but forces me to have two FM, one AM, and three Sirius stations. I don’t have Sirius; I don’t drive enough to justify the cost. With my husband, my son, and me driving the car, it’s easier for me to just listen to whatever is on. I never know whether I’m going to get Tom Petty or The Congos when I turn the key. At least I know I won’t get opera or bluegrass.

Designed the website for our Secretary of State. It wouldn’t let me use the location finder because I wouldn’t let its tracker know where I was. But when I backed up the screen, it gave me the closest office.

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2

Nothing Says Last Day of Summer Like Trim-a-Tree

According to my calculations (which should be double-checked), there are 95 days until Christmas. It’s almost time to start nagging my family for suggestions, so I get them by December15th if I’m lucky. Otherwise, it’s fall to me. Our burning bushes have just begun to burn, the weather’s getting cooler, and we have less roadkill because the genetic pool of the animal world has finally been downsized to those who understand why their parents told them not to play in the road.

Not so in the retail world. A point of pride at Ralph’s is that we are always the first with new merchandise for the season. I’m not sure how it’s tallied, so I’m guessing that’s like being the most famous. Statistics can be used to prove anything, but should be limited to those who know how to use them safely. For example, last year summer got an early start. So we opened our garden center two weeks early. (I know this because it was part of a presentation later in the year.) It’s that kind of thinking makes Ralph rich. Of course, this year summer decided to visit us on it’s vacation from other spots, so we had an end-of-season sale like you wouldn’t believe.

Halloween candy has been out for weeks. Of course, everyone knows that’s just a cover for us to buy it for ourselves now and buy the “real” Halloween candy on October 30. It’s the beginning of “The Holidays” when we’re allowed to eat what we want because it’s only once a year. The Holidays used to be between Christmas and New Year’s, then we pushed the start back to Thanksgiving. Now we’re moving in on Halloween. Maybe we could do like the bears – eat everything in sight for a couple of months then sleep it off til spring. It would beat slogging around in the ice and snow. I bet I’m not the only one who wished they could lose a couple of pounds overnight.

But everything pales in comparison with Christmas. I know some of you still associate Christmas with the Nativity, but you probably still give thanks on Thanksgiving too. It was over 80 degrees and humid yesterday, but as I walked through the back end of the store on my way out, there it was… the first Trim-a-Tree box (artificial tree with its own decorations). I had been expecting something since the big toy sale a couple of weeks ago. By Monday, there will be more. Pretty soon it will be an invasion waiting for Halloween.

The small stuff will start sneaking in soon. Things like cards and ribbon. Sparklely sweaters and Santa boxers. On November 1, the big stuff will make its appearance. We’ll have trees, door decorations, fake greenery, blow-up Santas, tinsel, and all that other stuff the Whos put up in Whoville. Part-time Christmas music between Halloween and Thanksgiving then All Christmas All the Time. People will complain it’s too early, but they’ll start looking and slowly start buying. Those people who have everything up by the middle of November must have bought it somewhere.

The big sales were traditionally the day after Thanksgiving. It’s still a big day, but unless you want to stand in line and fight for the 5 HDTVs that will be available at 4a, you might as well sleep in. December has become one huge rotating sale. Best of all, the stuff that we convinced you was must-have at the beginning of November is on sale in the middle of December. By a couple of days before Christmas, almost everything has been marked down. (No, this does not give you permission to wait until December 23 to remember you have to give your wife a present without a cord.)

My advice? Eat as much Halloween candy as possible. With a little luck, you’ll hibernate until the whole thing is over.