Tuesday, January 8

After Christmas Sales

Don’t think that just because Christmas has come and gone, we’ll be getting any bargains in the new year. First, there are those pre-announced (and pronounced) price hikes which, these days seem to be a daily occurrence. Turns out this year we'll be spending about 1000 euro more on groceries and about 750 more on gas for our cars. But, looking at the things that really matter, you’d be hard-pressed to find even find a broken santa statue on sale come January. To this capitalist, it was one of the most striking things to discover about life in Italy.

After Christmas, I thought maybe I’d be able to get some holiday decorations on sale at rock bottom prices. Niente da fare e Niente Affari! I didn’t see 2007 calendars even go on sale until about October when the 2008 ones were put on display. Aside from a slight discount on panettone ‘round about February when they’re too stale to eat for the Italian palate (but are then shipped over to America, where nobody knows the difference), you won’t find any posters screaming dopo-natale saldi!!!

I think it’s because the Italians, always looking for a way around things, would most likely have simply and surreptitiously postponed Christmas until after January, without saying a word to one another. It would have just sort of happened on a mass consciousness level. I could just see the headlines: Christmas retailers, worst year ever. And then, suddenly, their stocks depleted on December 27th, before retailers could triple the prices on unsuspecting shoppers.

The following year, we would find prices increased five-fold: and so Christmas would be postponed til Easter, and perhaps skipped altogether. It would set off a vicious circle that would have no end in sight.

And so, you have to call friends in the U.S. and the U.K. to pick up those santa mugs and xmas cards to recycle next year. But, how come their retail sector hasn’t ground to a halt as a result?

No comments: