I had a cold. A MONSTER of a cold and as a result, I was standing in line at a local drug store stocking up on cold medications. To say I felt miserable would be the understatement of the season. This was one of those just kill me now colds. But while I was in line, I ended up with a big smile on my face. Why? Because toy makers know how to get to me.
There was a line of stuffed toys, all Christmas themed. They all had hugely exaggerated eyes, fuzzy cute little bodies, adorable smiles and were, well adorable. I nearly stepped out of line to buy one.
Even in my foggy-brain condition, I realized I was being manipulated. Cute sells. It really sells. Even to someone with a temperature, sore throat and the sniffles. With that realization, I stuffily gathered up my cold medication and hacked and sniffed my way home, budget intact.
This is yet another reason for buyers to beware during the holiday season. Companies are extremely adept at creating and selling stuff that you will impulse buy. Don’t. One of the surest ways you can avoid this is of course, to stay out of the stores during the holidays. I buy 90 percent of gifts on line for just this reason. I get a list from my daughter for her family and the rest I generally know what I want to get. Even with a list, I tend to buy things that I know they will love but don’t even know they want. For example, my oldest grand-daughter is somewhat of a genius, all bragging aside. She has perfect recall, and even taught herself to read before she was two years old. She was correcting fifth grade math problems at school by the tender age of four. She told me she wanted a career in astrophysics by age five and then went on to explain to me the fundamentals of gravity as the reason she would not land a rocket ship on the gas planet Neptune.
You get the idea.
So, you can imagine how frustrating the game of Jeopardy would be to someone that young and that smart but who simply hasn’t studied ancient Greek architecture or Shakespeare yet. Her ability to answer any given question is still very subject-dependent. She knows a bit about literature such as Harry Potter but she’s too young to have read the likes of Lady Chatterley’s Lover or the Godfather. She isn’t even allowed to cross the street by herself yet much less watch an R-rated movie. Because of this, I was inspired to gift her the junior version of the game of Jeopardy where she at least has a strong chance of knowing the answers. I know she is going to love that gift. The youngest grand-daughter, our tender-hearted rose, is currently obsessed with all things Baby Yoda. My daughter swears she found one that is the real deal but I remain skeptical. Lots of overpriced knock-offs out there. I know this because I survived the Cabbage Patch craze when my daughter was a child so I know a little something about crazes and outrageous price hikes in toys. I managed to buy the real thing back in the day (without paying a premium) and I can do the same thing now. Research, research and more research. That is the key. That and being REALLY nice to people when you are actually at a store or on the phone and dealing with real people.
But mostly, stay out of the stores, they are carefully constructed budget traps all festooned in holiday décor while seeking to seduce you into overspending with their adorable doe-eyed toys and brightly colored decorations. Stick to your list and do your research on line before plunking down your credit or cash card.
Your budget and bank account, come January, will thank you.