Merry Christmas 2008

Christmas Ribbon

The news media continues to try and be relevent by telling people what they ought to do, ought to buy, and ought to spend (or not), based on what other anonymous people are doing, buying, and spending.

Of course, the mainstream are less relevent each day, though they will still do their best to scare and depress the dwindling numbers of remaining faithful.

So now that they’ve all but stripped Christmas out of Christmas, we hear that retailers are complaining that Christmas sales are down.



A few years ago, new management came to an area mall and anchor store.

Like many others we hear about, they made an executive decision to tone down the Christmas displays, turn off the outside lights, and put any reference to anything other than a ‘winter holiday season’ in a closet somewhere.

They don’t want to ‘offend’ anyone. They are marketing professionals.

Uhh… right.

I haven’t shopped there since. Apparently… just like many others.

And it’s not that I’m trying to make a statement… it’s just that their message doesn’t resonate with me at all. Nada.

I am not compelled to spend money at their store just because it’s December.

Remove the traditions, take away the warm and wonderful memories…

Yes, replace them with workers that don’t want to be there, and fellow shoppers who are tired, stressed, and self-centered… and then tell me again because I forgot… why am I giving you my money?

I can wake up at nine, browse the web ’till eleven, and be done shopping by eleven-twenty; all from the comfort of my own home… with Christmas displays and lights and music, if I want them.

A truly unique and tailored customer experience.


Advertising Black Friday deals that “won’t last long” doesn’t work for me. Telling me that your store opens at 5:30 a.m. makes me yawn.

The idea that I should feel any stress at all… that I should get up at four o’clock in the morning to fight traffic, and wait outside with hundreds… maybe thousands… of crazed bottom-feeders, just to save a few bucks on some ‘gotta have’ whatever… is meaningless to me for three reasons:

1) I live in Wisconsin, check the temps.

2) I don’t spend much time with people who might trample a store employee, or fight with a fellow shopper, to save a few bucks on a toaster or television.

3) Outside of food, there are very few products that I ‘gotta have’ this week.


Some day, big business may figure out what small business owners and marketers have known all along.

The power is in the relationship, not the transaction.

Don’t miss this.

When we try to do business with everyone… to not offend anyone… we end up with a weak message, compromised principles, and competition based only on price.

We end up with a mob… the same mob who will be back tomorrow to return the ‘gifts’ that someone else thought they ‘gotta have’.


It is my sincere desire that you have a wonderful day today, and I hope this entire Christmas season has been, and will continue to be, inspiring and deeply meaningful to you.

Above all, I hope that it is not defined by the deal you got… or who gave you what.



We all attract to us what we are… as defined by our message.

We do our best business, with our ideal customers.

Define who you are, and proclaim it boldly.


I look forward to hearing from you.


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