Have a rant – bah humbug: early Christmas takes its toll

I went on holiday last week to enjoy a bit of September sun. As I wandered through Gatwick, idly imagining my first pool-side cocktail, my reverie was rudely interrupted by the huge Christmas display in a shop window. Why would someone setting off for their summer break want to do Christmas shopping, even at duty-free prices?

After a week in 30-degree heat I’d forgotten all about it, but when I returned I saw the rot had already spread. Every supermarket now has an aisle dedicated to tinsel, greetings cards, and even boxes of festive chocs due to go out of date some time in early November. Restaurants and bars are urging customers – still dressed in flip-flops and shorts – to book their Christmas office parties.

This means the biggest threat of the festive shopping season is almost upon us – the in-store Christmas soundtrack loop, played all day, every day, for up to 10 weeks. I’m thinking less of the busy shopper, who is likely to be gone by the time Winter Wonderland comes round for a second time, than the poor shop assistants.

There must be a law against employees having to listen to Mistletoe and Wine – or indeed any of Sir Cliff’s oeuvre – more than once in any single working day. To subject them to festive tunes on repeat is surely cruel – they will know all the words to I Wish It Could Be A Wombling Merry Christmas Everyday for the rest of their lives.

HR has a duty to protect hapless workers from this saccharine aural torture. Think of the damage caused to your employer brand – never mind your consumer brand – by pretending it’s Christmas in late summer.

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