You can tell it’s a tough economy—the marketing folks are trying extra hard to make sure you feel like you need to buy stuff, keep the retail flow going.
My favorite is the idea that wrist watches are a necessity. There is a clock on every computer, cell phone, clock- and car radios, iPod, microwave, stove, cable box and DVD player. We are surrounded by time. In a few years, no one will wear a watch anymore.
Maybe a few people like me, who need an analog watch to know what time it isn’t, which is more important than what time it is. One glance at the hands of a watch, and I know it’s not time to leave for the client, not time to sit down and wait for the call.
This holiday season, the retailer are pushing watches as if they are the solution to bring back your 401(k) and will simultaneoulsy squeeze the money back out of Bernie Madoff.
Huge, full pages of watches are advertised in the “A” section of the New York Times, Washington Post and other major papers. None of them are cheap. In the black-and-white ad, the cheapest watch is just under $1,000. The ad in red is a double-truck–covers two full pages in the New York Times. That size ad costs close to $50,000– a lot of cash for making you want a watch.
So the $1,000 for the watch is a “necessity” — will help you keep your job–and it’s a
bargain, so reach for that wallet.
The other ad that puzzles me is the 3-wick candle. I have never known a man to purchase a chande that wasn’t meant to use on a camping trip. But here is this one, expensive and elegant, being sold in the men’s department. Why do you suppose they did that? My answer is that a woman, wandering in the
men’s department, will snatch up that candle in great confidence, knowing that it’s perfect in her mind, and she found it in the men’s department, so it must be for men.
And just to reassure women that it really is a manly candle, you can buy it in one of several types–each one representing one of the seven deadly sins. I don’t know what envy smells like, and I’m pretty sure that if you give “gluttony” there are going to be hurt feelings. And I have no interest in what “lust” smells like.
Sigh. I love the holidays, I just hate being treated as if I don’t know what I need or want.
—Quinn McDonald is a writer and life- and creativity coach who helps people discover what they really want. (c) 2008 All rights reserved.