Every year at this time, I imagine a bunch of other similarly inclined people sitting down with a glass of wine (or spiked eggnog…yum!) to flip through the Sunday paper in search of the new *in* thing (I just confirmed this exercise with my co-worker Maria whp did the same thing last weekend). What catches my attention every time is one item so ubiquitous (see flyer for any discount retailer), you couldn’t help but notice it; something that causes me to ask “what the?” and “why?”. Now I am not talking about the really cool stuff (like the Xbox this year…is that too self-serving? Sorry). I’ll admit that in 6th grade, I simply could not live without an Atari and a Rubik’s cube. Those were cool (and sadly, I was not). What I’m talking about is that one gadgety thingy that you simply cannot imagine someone else buying. Or you aren’t really sure you want to know the person that does buy it (granted, many are for kids and there aren’t any kids in my household, but I have seen adults buy these things for themselves).
The problem seems to be that the means to market said thingy exceeds the brainpower to develop a thingy worth marketing. And many of the hot ideas of the past may have looked like real losers on the development table (witness: Pet Rock) and ended up making the company some major bank. So I suspect that companies are willing to roll the dice every so often in hopes that their thingy could be THE thingy this year (witness: George Forman’s “Lean, mean, fat-reducing, grilling machine”…hello, naming committee?).
I am sure we will see if this is the thingy this year, and I am sure someone out there is going to tell me they hope they are getting one of these for the holidays (bring it over to my house, but just once, and then let me know in a year of you are keeping it in the garage). But is it really necessary for me to see a flowing stream of chocolate in every single advertisement I look at this season?