November in a Nutshell, Continued

You can tell when Christmas (and the other religious holidays — I’m not knocking Jews or Africans) is coming up. That is because as soon as the blush on the Halloween pumpkin starts to pale, everyone comes out of the woodwork trying to sell you something.

(I should insert here what I did for Halloween. “Nothing.” We had tickets to the symphony where we heard Leon Fleisher play with TWO hands. Our box seat performance thus freed me from the obligation of buying candy and giving it to mostly drunken teenagers who drove into my neighborhood just for the occasion. Fleisher was wonderful, of course.)

Business is slow, and we are in the type of business where you don’t actually run after your customers and lay the heavy sales pitch on them. They call us asking for information, and then we are friendly and hopefully they will choose us. As of November 1st, however, the calls coming into the office from telemarketers has increased ten fold. They’re selling everything from health insurance to office products. The really annoying ones are those who claim to call from schools wanting us to put “advertising” into their sports flyers. We have the word “school” as part of the business name, so these people want to get chummy with what little money I have left.

Now, I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday. I have kids, and they remarkably came out of the high school experience relatively unscathed. Both were part of the athletic department in some form or another. I know that in all my years as a parent, I’ve never seen the promotional materials these telemarketers mention that I can buy. Which is strange, because the kids’ school was one of the champ-een raisers of money that I’ve ever seen. You’d think that if they could make money with flyers, they would have tried it by now.

No, really these shills are telemarketers, calling me from beautiful southern states that are basking in sunlit ecstacy. They are not calling from the school on the other side of the state that is already experiencing lake effect snow. (No snow here yet, thank the Lord.) How can I tell? Well, it could be that sugary southern drawl that gives it away. Or the noise of 50 other people calling other schmucks in the same room.

I also love the telemarketers who are obviously calling from India, and the first thing out of their mouth is “Hi, my name is Steve…” (or Mary or Susan or Anthony) in an accent so thick that I can barely make out what is being said. The best way around telemarketers is to ask if they would like to leave a message. Of course, they don’t want to leave a message. If I ask for a copy of one of these flyers, they take my name and address. I have yet to see a sample, and I’ve been sitting here for years.

Another sign of impending holidays is the rapid accumulation of catalogs in my mail. I receive six or seven inches worth every day. Why, I don’t know, because I rarely buy anything these days, and I’m certainly not going to buy anything for Christmas, I’ve already warned my family. I’ve tried to have them stopped, but the last time I called, I received double the amount from the same store. I think they are multiplying like rabbits. My husband accuses me of the deforestation of the planet and the thinning of the ozone, but what can I do?

Ditto with the email barrage. Instead of personal messages, I get a hundred or so emails from stores that want my business. In fact, it’s so hot and heavy, these email are crowding out my usual messages about enlarging my penis and helping some Nigerian in London get his 50 million dollars. I sort of miss those stupid mailings.

I’m not a religious person, per se, but I feel like I’m a spiritual one anyway. I’m a fallen Catholic, so I’m not supposed to have the sacraments, which is kind of odd. How does the church know if I’ve fallen or not? Anyway, the entire Christmas experience has morphed into a consumer free-for-all, and it’s worse now than it’s ever been. Doesn’t anyone want my love???

So we made a decision. We aren’t going to participate anymore. At least not the indiscriminate spending. Besides, we can’t afford to.

Because of this, Christmas chaos has not come to the Demonic Family, thus insuring a stress free November and December.

10 Responses

  1. No Christmas chaos here either. I suppose that it will help if I do a little decorating which I should do for the girls sake.

  2. No Christmas here, either … but that’s been the case for several years, and wow, I sure as heck don’t miss it.

    You saw Fleisher???? *jealous*

  3. Do your kids know that no gifts are forthcoming?

  4. B, your girls are still young. I guess I wouldn’t scrooge them just yet.

    And David, Fleisher was awesome! My son saw him the summer he went to Tanglewood, but he was only playing with one hand then. I guess he was awesome then too.

    Jackie. The youngest is getting a plane ticket home. That’s it. The older one is getting the value of a plane ticket instead of a ticket, because he’d rather have the money.

  5. Can you register yourself on the email, phone and junk mail opt-out list? I’m not sure if you have one in the US, but in the UK everyone sending mass mailings etc has to run their list of target phone numbers, email addresses and postal addresses through the opt-out list first and delete any that match. It doesn’t stop it completely, but it sure as heck cuts it down. I also have a notice on my mailbox which says ‘No Junk Mail or Advertising Material”, which helps. I still have to recycle a fair amount of flyers for local yoga teachers and thai restaurants though…

    Because its so sunny here in Australia (its our Summer), and because my family are so far away in the UK, I’m able to ignore the impending Christmas holidays.

  6. I gave away our Christmas tree last year, and have yet to open (in two years) the replacement tree I bought. We haven’t scrooged, but I’m not going nuts either. I don’t believe in stressing over Christmas, it screws it up.

  7. This will be a very low key Christmas. The focus will be on getting Tony and Susie up here so we can at least be together and feeding everyone.

    I’ll get a tree. I know that. I think though, that this year I will opt for the living tree that gets planted in the outdoors after Christmas. Plus they deliver and they cost the same as going to the store to get one that will be thrown out after the holiday.

  8. We’re keeping it simple this year. The kids won’t be here, and are getting gift cards. We will enjoy a quiet dinner and swap a few little gifts. Of course the critters will get their usual stockings of treats. 🙂

  9. I might go to church on Christmas, if I can find one where there’s not a lot of singing. After all, that’s what the holiday was for, right?

  10. Check out a Baptist church. You might get four songs and a solo. The rest will be good old fashion preaching. Wish you were closer; you could go with me.

    Doesn’t anyone want my love???
    *can’t resist, must say it* I know someone who does.

    BTW If you let a Baptist preacher know you’re a lapsed Catholic, you will hear the best sermon he’s ever preached. 🙂

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