Sunday, September 03, 2006

Of Seasons and Marketing

This last week Kvetch, over at Kvetch Blog, wrote a piece called A Fond Adieu to the White Shoe and got me thinking about the seasons as a state of mind. As she puts it, seasons can be "meteorological or theoretical." For some, the seasons definitely tie in nicely with reality. For the rest of us? It's all in the head.

Having grown up in the deserts of Arizona and now living in Southern California, I have no reason to expect traditional seasonality. Here is what I SHOULD expect:

  • the not-hot-but-might-get-hot-any-minute-OR-might-rain season

  • the not-hot-and-probably-won't-get-hot-everything's-blooming-allergy season

  • the hot-hotter-than-hell-aren't-we-in-hell-smog-and-fire season

  • the hotter-than-hell-but-everyone-wants-to-pretend-it's-cool-and-crispy season

  • That's MY reality. If you need a translation, talk to an Angeleno.

    OK, now that we've got Southern California seasonal expectations all sorted out, let's talk about marketing. Listen up you department store people. Do you really think we don't notice that the weather here rarely gets below 50 degrees fahrenheit?? What is with the bulky sweaters, three-layer look, and parkas rated for 30 below zero? A few stores that specialize in these cold weather items would be nice since some of us travel out of state or go to the mountains and play in the snow when it is available ... but ENTIRE MALLS FULL OF THIS STUFF??? We've got your number. You are $$banking$$ on our ancestral memories of actual seasons. And for those who don't have the ancestral-memory-thingy going on, there is always media reinforcement. Gorgeously photographed catalog depictions of laughing people wearing turtleneck sweaters as they frolic among multi-colored leaves and pumpkins. Or Scandinavian models hanging out in forests full of snow in their fur-trimmed snow boots and parkas. OR indoor shots of huggy couples in front of blazing fireplaces wearing heavy flannel, wool booties, and holding steaming mugs of, well ... something hot.

    Since I don't live in any of the places depicted in these photographs, I'm lucky if I get to pull out some fall or winter wear for ... oh ... about a week before waking up one December morning to the radio telling me it will be a sunny 95 degrees out. If I was S-T-O-O-P-I-D enough to actually pack away my warm weather clothing, I will spend a frantic morning trying to find something to wear that won't send me into heat stroke the moment I walk out the front door.

    Well, it is September ... and as I hear from friends that live in more traditionally seasoned areas of the country about the "nip in the air," I laugh while the Fall catalogs pour into my Southern California mailbox trying to tempt me into buying for the season. It is 103 degrees out. Can you hear me laughing?


    1. I live in the midwest and still balk at the winter clothes coming out in July! I did live in Tucson for a few years - and yes i know that even there you can't find shorts in October or even September when you desperately need them. Hey it's when you REALLy need them because June-August everyone stays inside because it's too damn hot. You are so right on all counts. Great post.

    2. The red trees do look very pretty, though!

    3. Kvetch, I'm glad you enjoyed the post! And I didn't even touch on the area of buying clothing a season ahead. I think I've only known one person my entire life that followed this practice. I'm too "live in the moment" (read lazy procrastinator) to buy my clothing a season ahead.

      Mary, Aren't those trees great? Sure would like to live near those. Our trees are pretty boring (green to brown) in comparison.