Saturday, July 27, 2019

Still LIfe with Robin: Back to School Already?!

by Peggy Robin

Back-to-School Sale - image by m01229
via Creative Commons
Complaint of the Month (July edition):

Retailers of America,

It’s still July, dammit! Why are the shelves full of back-to-school items and specials? Can’t you at least hold off until August 1st?

Yes, I know that most of the schools now start the week BEFORE Labor Day. And lots of them get going mid-month. The long, lazy summer break is a thing of the misty past.

It’s all part of "calendar creep." Or call it “calendar surge.” You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see those Halloween things start to materialize on September 1st. And then a week or two after that – not even October yet – the Thanksgiving stuff will appear. At more and more stores, the Christmas selling season comes in full-bore at the same time, not even a day’s grace between them.

With the start of the New Year, the Christmas stuff sticks around a while for some extreme post-Christmas markdowns, and when it finally goes away, it’s replaced by red hearts and candy boxes and other Valentine’s merch. As soon we hit the midway point of February, the red turns to green for St. Patrick’s Day – although I’ve always wondered, who sends St. Patrick’s Day cards anyway? Is that really a thing?

No matter, because in the time it takes to ponder the question, the Easter and Passover supplies have taken over. And now we’re even finding a bit of diversity with Holi and Nowruz getting a foot in the door (or shelf space in the aisle) of the burgeoning spring festival retail world.

The minute we’re past that, it’s on to graduation season, and before you know it, the Fourth of July. And then, the day after the firecrackers and red-white-and-blue themed decorations have come down, those back-to-school signs are up, and we’re back to where we began.

I suppose it all shows us The Circle of Life....but then that leads me straight to another, perennial complaint of our age, The Disneyfication of Everything….and don’t get me started on that!

Still Life with Robin is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.


  1. I, for one, send St Patrick’s Day cards to my Irish family and friends — also throw in some shamrock stickers. But have noticed that there are slim pickings these days. By the way, thanks for all of your work on the Listserv.

  2. Don't laugh, I don't send St. Patrick's cards, but for the last few years I've skipped Christmas cards and sent President's Day cards instead. Barbed? You be the judge: