Christmas Signs of the Goofy Consumer

December 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Money and Behavior

I spent a few hours in a number of different stores this past week. A couple of things registered in my brain as evidence that goofy Christmas consumerism is alive and well. 

First, is there any store in the U.S. place where you cannot purchase a Snuggie? I saw them piled high at Best Buy of all places. I even said something about it to the cashier – she just smiled sheepishly.

Why does it bother me so much that someone is making a gazillion dollars selling a cheesy product via cheesy commercials? I just hope that the actors who embarrass themselves in those terrible commercials are getting residuals of some kind.

The other ubiquitous Christmas product is the GPS receiver. Apparently, it is now against the law to own a retail store that does not sell GPS units. Granted, they have far more utility than does a Snuggie. But seriously, at the pace we are going as a car-based consumer society, street signs and having a memory of where things are located may become obsolete. Imagine having to reach into your glove box for a map – people may laugh out loud at you. Being able to navigate without directions (or at least pretending that you can) is an important masculine trait that will soon be lost. Sigh …..

Readers are probably already laughing at me for my complaints. Perhaps I just don’t get it. Point taken.

I need to stay out of the stores altogether during the Christmas shopping season. That is a consumer failure even worse than buying a Snuggie.

My final comment/question is marginally related to the topic of goofy Christmas consumerism:

Why are some celebrities so popular as hucksters of consumer products and services?

If I were a serious golfer, I could understand being influenced by a Tiger Woods endorsement. But watches, Buicks, and business consulting services – who gives a flip what Tiger thinks about any of them? I don’t. Apparently many others do because the providers of those products and services pay dearly for Tiger’s image.

Another example: Peyton Manning. I love this guy in commercials. He is laugh-out-loud funny stepping out of his competition comfort zone – much better than Tiger. I remember the humorous parts of a lot of Manning’s commercials. But with maybe one exception, I couldn’t tell you who sponsored any of them. That’s irrelevant to me.

I must have a very poor understanding of the typical consumer brain. Clearly, I have little respect for the logical decision-making power of that brain.


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5 Responses to “Christmas Signs of the Goofy Consumer”
  1. Evan says:

    “If I were a serious golfer, I could understand being influenced by a Tiger Woods endorsement. But watches, Buicks, and business consulting services – who gives a flip what Tiger thinks about any of them?”

    Want to know what I understand even less? When there is a celebrity voice over for a product that has nothing to do with the celebrity. Example: Queen Latifa is the voice of Pizza Hut – (1) As to your point? Why do I care what Pizza she endorses? and (2) Who brokered the deal where she doesn’t even have to show up for a taping?

  2. MasterPo says:

    Well, I hope the stores are in fact doing well.

    One of my ventures is an E-commerce website that sells outdoor sporting goods.

    This year has been the WORST holiday season in 10 years!!! Both in terms of the number of orders and size of the orders. Glad I didn’t stock up on inventory in anticipation. Funny thing too: this year I didn’t get any calls or emails from my suppliers *pushing* me to stock up! Maybe they knew it was futile?

    I take this as a bell-weather/leading indicator. Outdoor sports is definately a disposable income activity. If people don’t have (or feel they have) disposable income that doesn’t bode well for next year’s economy. :-(

  3. Lefty33 says:

    “Being able to navigate without directions (or at least pretending that you can) is an important masculine trait that will soon be lost. Sigh …”

    Thanks TML, this is the best line ever on your site.

  4. TMN says:

    I’ll agree you “just don’t get it” :-) Memorizing where you’re going and optimal route planning are skills that a GPS makes available to more people with less effort, saving everyone time in the long run.

    It’s still a ridiculous purchase, though, because they are rapidly being replaced by a subset of the functionality in new cell phones. Buying a completely separate unit JUST for navigation is a very bad idea unless you’re a person who routinely leaves your cell coverage areas. If you go camping every other weekend, you might need a GPS, otherwise it’s silly.

  5. cjbr549 says:

    We went to Wal Mart the day before thanksgiving and bought up what I thought would be enough supplies to keep us from going there till next week. Sadly, I did not calculate in the voraciousness of the birds for the outdoor cats’ food and I have had to go back to purchase more cat food for the cats and birds. Although it was pretty bad, it was not as bad as the go-go years, but I will have to make sure I consider that I am feeding every bird in a 10 mile radius next year.

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