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Retailers Are Crying 'Wolf' Too Soon; Public Isn't in the Mood Yet for Christmas Shopping

November 18, 1990

Your story, "Shoppers Curtail Buying: Christmas Sales May Fizzle" (Nov. 9), is flagrantly premature.

Each year, retailers annoyingly push Christmas earlier. It isn't even Thanksgiving yet, for heaven's sake! Already stores are festooned with Christmas decorations--the potted fake poinsettias and holly wreaths will be limp and dusty by the time Christmas arrives.

Retailers cannot expect the festive and giving spirit of Christmas to last for weeks on end--anticipation has a limited attention span. Instead of the fun of either well-planned or spur-of-the-moment gift buying, shoppers are encouraged to buy early (and long!), which presents a problem of storage and loss of enthusiasm.

Then the last few weeks before Christmas are dismal, with continuous sales and markdowns that remind the shopper he should have waited. Maybe that is what is happening now. Disgusted with the greed of retailers stretching holiday buying into a two- or even three-month affair, shoppers are simply holding back until the inevitable sales, and until the spirit moves them. And, I do mean the Christmas spirit, by the way.

LOUISE HAUTER

La Canada

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