An Early Start …

I saw a news segment earlier this week about the supply chain issues on the west coast and how it may impact toys at Christmas. The ‘Toy Industry Expert’ went out of his way to ensure everyone there would be plenty of toys from Santa Claus, but the news person did her best to try to create holiday hysteria anyway.

I fell for it. Within a half-hour, I was on Amazon ordering LEGO sets for our grand-nephews (my wife shops for our grand-niece). I don’t think I’ve ever bought Christmas gifts before Halloween before. What a sucker.

I was partly motivated by selection. In our extended family, all of the kids know me as “Uncle LEGO” for my love of the plastic bricks. They know that they will all get LEGO sets every Christmas or birthday. I don’t think most of them even know my real name. The last few years, I’ve put off shopping to the week before Christmas and had to hit quite a few stores to find the sets I wanted for them.

Now, selection is at its peak, and I quickly found some cool sets supply chain crisis or not. How early do you typically start your holiday shopping?

10 thoughts on “An Early Start …

  1. I can see the Los Angeles Bay from my home and two weeks ago we could see a large number of cargo ships just waiting. Yesterday, there were very few, so the problem probably is reducing. Problems getting better don’t make good news.

    There have been issues with toys for decades. My sons used to go to special website that listed items on allocation including newly released video game consoles, specific video games and the craziest of all, Power Rangers.

    I walked into Toys ‘R Us twenty to thirty years ago thinking I would just walk in and buy a couple Power Rangers for Christmas. After not finding them anywhere, I asked the Store Manager which aisle were they located.

    She told me that the store runs the same day they receive a shipment. Apparently parents were camping outside overnight in front of the store when a shipment was coming in the next day. I asked her, “What is a Power Ranger exactly?” They turned out to be some sort of stupid rubber figurines.

    You find people scalping them, or whatever else is hot and on allocation way back when in the Recycler and later on after Al Gore invented the internet, on Ebay.

    This is a teaching event for your children. What kind of message are parents sending their children by sleeping outside Toys ‘R Us to get a silly rubber doll. For Christmas I would tell them I ordered the whatever, but since it is hard to get right now, it will get here in a couple days. It did typically turn up a couple days late, well within the twelve days of Christmas window.

    Getting ahead financially in life and becoming FIRE requires having the ability to delay gratification.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So I take it that you don’t camp out at Best Buy or Fry’s (now closed) the day before Thanksgiving to be in line for the Black Friday deals?

      I’m the prince of delayed gratification thanks to the teaching of my late father the King of delayed gratification. He saved string including lobster pot warp found on the beach, he used it for a rope fence around the garden as a deer repellent

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      1. Nope – we’ve never camped out on a Black Friday. My Dad was a JCPenney Store Manager for 36 years, so we were a bit inoculated from the hysteria. The JCP Christmas Catalog came in August and my Mom put orders in early.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wonder what people were making on an hourly basis by camping outside two and a half days?

        I despise crowds and waiting in long lines and try to avoid them as much as I can.


    2. Yeah – there is something unique about toys that make them unpredictable. A few toys – Tickle Me Elmo, Nintendo Wii, or whatever – become intensely popular for a single Christmas. We never really got caught up in that thankfully.

      The Christmas toy mania is common enough, it became the basic plot for the movie “Jingle All The Way” – starring your old Governor! My MegaCorp once had the license for Power Rangers fruit snacks and we sold more of that SKU than almost all the other SKUs combined. A couple years later, you couldn’t give them away. Crazy how it works!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My family goes to a gym that has Target next door. We go for a workout the day before Thanksgiving. You used to see people camping out three days before Black Friday to get the loss leader deals. I always wondered what the people were making on an hourly basis by camping out.

        Crazy story about Power Rangers fruit snacks.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Years in advance! Wow, that’s being proactive for sure. I keep a list of gift ideas on my phone, but generally don’t get serious about shopping until selection starts waning. 😦


  2. I’d normally start around Q2/early Q3 for holiday shopping. It seems silly, but since I’m in e-commerce and have full exposure to both the supply chain issues and the Q4 chaos, I know that Q4 generally has extreme demand and so a lot of merchants can increase prices drastically in order to curb the demand (so they can fulfill it with their supply).

    Thus, I’d start shopping a quarter or so earlier not just because of the supply chain issues where you might not be able to buy what you want, but you’d also be able to save money.

    Liked by 1 person

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