Monday, September 27, 2010

From the Archive: Of Seasons and Marketing

Before I was a book blogger, I was a ... well ... I'm not sure what kind of blogger you would have called me; I wrote about what was on my mind mostly. Since most of you reading my blog now were not reading my blog back in the "whatever-I-feel-like-writing" days (circa 2006), I thought I'd pull this (still-very-relevant little bit that I wrote) from the archives. Apparently, things haven't changed weather wise here in So-Cal in the last 4 years. Yes, the original post was written during the month of September. And, yes, it is over 100 degrees here today. Hmmmph.

This last week Kvetch, 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. and, some say there is no global warming! stay cool Terri.

    2. Oh Terri--I love this post. Especially this bit: "the hot-hotter-than-hell-aren't-we-in-hell-smog-and-fire season" Sounds like our summer--minus the fire.

      Even though I complain about not having season in Dallas, we are relatively lucky. We do get a little bit of color--in late November. Sometimes snow, but mostly ice. But the summers...all the way into October...are atrocious. We were teased with a bit of a cold front last week but this week when I've gotten home from work it's still in the 90s.

      Scott and I traveled to New England two October's ago and I was in awe of the crisp air and gorgeous leaves. If it weren't for the pictures, I don't think I would have ever believed it could get so colorful.

      Wishing you cool thoughts!!

    3. Ha! The day I posted this (Monday) it was actually 113 degrees! That is just WRONG.