My name is Flannery, and I’m a consumer. I’m the person your stores are supposed to be catering to; Jane Q. Public. I’m not happy with you right now, retail stores. Not one little bit. Let me explain why.
Autumn is my favorite time of year. We live in one of the hottest states in the country, and I really appreciate feeling a cool, crisp chill in the air (at 9pm each night, when it finally lowers from the 90s, all the way to the 70s – brrrrr!). I wait expectantly for some of the leaves on some of the trees to show beautiful fall colors. I get excited about the prospect of pulling out favorite, cozy sweaters and stylish boots. I simply love autumn. I love Halloween. Each year I look forward to shopping for spooky decorations and helping my son choose a costume for trick-or-treating.
These good feelings of mine should be ramping up right about now but, instead, they are already being crushed under the weight of glitzy Christmas junk. It’s only September, but somehow many major retailers feel empowered to skip over Halloween AND Thanksgiving, and bombard us with Christmas decorations. In September!
But put my paltry feelings aside, Mr. Giant Retailer. Let me tell you about my son. He’s autistic and has ADHD, and his sense of time is already very, very slow in developing. At 8 years old, we are STILL working on the concept of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Don’t even get me started on “last week” or “next week.”
So what did we find at Target yesterday?
Do you see what you guys have done? You’ve got an aisle with Halloween costumes, a leftover summer grill on the end cap, and the very next aisle you have a freakin’ Christmas display?!
If this completely jacks up my feelings of happy autumn joy, then what does it do to kids like mine? HOW DO I EXPLAIN THIS TO MY CHILD? “Gee son, it’s not even Halloween yet, but while we pick out your costume we can also get some new Christmas decorations for no good reason.”
I want to introduce you to the phenomenon known as perseveration. See, perseveration is when someone gets stuck on a particular thought or topic, and they can’t stop themselves from talking about it, ad nauseum. This means that there will be three-and-a-half months of discussing Christmas at my house. To put it in perspective, that means that I will spend 26.9% of 2013 talking about Christmas.
Now I want to be really, really clear here: this does NOT make me want to buy more Christmas junk. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It makes me feel bitter and angry about giving you one thin nickel toward this holiday crap. Don’t think I’m alone in this, either. With 1 in 88 children being diagnosed on the spectrum, there are plenty of families dealing with this same frustration. I’m even willing to go out on a limb and guess that many non-spectrum families don’t care for this nonsense either.
In short, major retailers, SUCK BALLS. Big, shiny, glittery balls.
And next year? Maybe you could let us actually enjoy one holiday at a time. Because I have no interest in wolfing down a hearty Thanksgiving dinner, loading everyone into the car to go watch fireworks, opening Christmas presents as we sing the national anthem, and then driving home to hunt for Easter eggs.
I don’t need that kind of pressure. We’ve already got enough, thanks.
Disgruntled Autism Mom