Now that the first page of the calendar has been flipped over to February, I decided to glance at the selections of Valentine's Day cards, gifts and candies. To my chagrin, the shelves had been effectively ransacked.
In a way, however, it made sense. After all, the Valentine's stuff had been on the shelves since the day after Christmas. It came as no surprise to me that there was a large expanse of empty shelving next to the bright red fancy heart shaped boxes of candy. I am no rocket scientist, but I didn't need to be to figure out that the space was being cleared to make way for the Easter displays. There will also be at least one part of a shelf set aside for some obligatory St. Patrick's Day paraphenalia.
Even as we start filling the Easter baskets for the kids, the shipment of Mothers and Fathers Days treasures are being prepared for their days in the limelight. Alas, those displays will be short-lived also. They have be removed right away in lieu of the red, white and blue of America's birthday - the Fourth of July.
Before you can say Yankee Doodle Dandy, the shelves are brimming with notebooks, pens and pencils, book covers, etc., because in September the kids are returning to school. You'd best start stocking up on those school supplies right away, otherwise you'll discover on the same shelves Halloween goodies in time for that day over two months away.
He who hesitates is lost, because before you know it, witches and hobgoglins will yield to snowmen and Santa Claus. That's right, we need three months to prepare for Christmas. You probably blinked and missed the few days that Thanksgiving was honored with a display, usually sharing time with Halloween.
We are opening our Christmas gifts with out loved ones; meanwhile somewhere, a stock person is replacing the snowmen and Santas with heart-shaped boxes of candy....
The cycle repeats itself and we are caught in the loop ....
Aha!! Yesterday was Groundhog Day! Is everyday being repeated, Bill Murray? I thought it was only a movie ... Only a movie .... I'm looking at Valentine's Day stuff .... Right? Is it today that I'm looking at hearts? Was it last year? Maybe it's next year?
To quote Vinnie Barbarino, "I'm so confused!"
Just for which "holiday" am I shopping ? Oh, yes. So I settle on the gorilla with boxer shorts that sings "Cupid draw back your bow ..," a box of candy, and a romantic card. The line is long and they have only one register open. When I reach the counter, the lady at the register says, "I'm sorry, sir, but you cannot purchase these items today." Stunned, I reply with, "Why not?" She points at the calendar on the wall and says, "Today is February the second. We cannot sell Valentine's Day merchandise after January 31." I looked at her in disbelief and said, "But Valentine's Day is still twelve days away! I came in here to buy for Valentine's Day." Her smug demeanor didn't waver, "If you want Valentine merchandise, you can come back on February the 15th when we sell it at 50%clearance. But if you wish, feel free to browse the shelves for Easter gifts." I was beginning to get testy, "I don't want Easter stuff! Besides the shelves are chock full of Valentine's Day goods. There is no Easter stuff out." She was still smug and pointed behind me. To my horror, as far as I could see up the aisle I'd been in earlier was a plethora of pastel bunnies, chocolate rabbits and jelly beans. The Valentine stuff was gone.
I walked out of the store with a yellow gingham bunny rabbit with red polka dots, two chocolate bunnies and several bags of jelly beans. I thought aloud, "I hope she liked the Valentine gifts." What the heck I reasoned, at least I beat the rush for Easter.
I gulped down the last drops of tepid coffee as I looked at the calendar. I shook my head, wondering "What was I thinking?" I wasn't about to shop for Easter stuff, not on the second of February! My mind was made up, I'd better get my butt to the store and get some Valentine gifts and cards. In the driveway I met the mailman who was wearing green suspenders and a pin that said, "Kiss me, I'm Irish." He smiled and said, "Good morning. Happy Groundhog Day!" I looked at him blankly as I got into my truck and answered, "Merry Christmas."