It’s a question most of us seem to have pondered at some point: When should stores start on the Christmas season?
For one Canadian drugstore chain, the first week in November is too soon, at least for the sounds of the season.
Shoppers Drug Mart pulled Christmas music from its almost 1,200 stores across Canada at midnight Friday after hearing complaints from customers that they weren’t quite ready for the season to be jolly.
“Hi everyone, due to recent complaints around the Christmas music being played in stores we want to advise you that as of midnight EST tonight, all Christmas music will be suspended until further notice. We do take customer feedback to heart, and it does lead to change,” the chain announced on its Facebook page.
The posting has drawn more than 7,300 “likes” and almost 6,000 comments as of Monday morning, the majority of them positive.
“I'm so pleased with Shoppers' decision,” writes Nathalie Prezeau. “I wanted time to digest my Halloween candies before starting to think about the plum pudding.”
Some customers said they’ll give Shoppers Drug Mart more of their business.
“This is awesome. Christmas has been rammed down consumer's throats earlier and earlier each year. I will be shopping at your store more often to avoid it!” wrote Lori Anne Stoute.
James MacFarlane said Christmas music in stores makes him fell “like being trapped in an endless jukebox.”
“Thank you!” MacFarlane wrote. “It turns me off of even going into stores over the holiday season knowing it's endless Christmas music everywhere. Having two months of it is insane.”
The sanity of the chain’s employees was on the minds of some who commented.
Wayne Gerand Martin said hearing the sounds of the season eight hours a day “would drive me nuts. It would take the Christmas spirit out of the employees.”
“Your employees probably are thanking you too - having to listen to Christmas music for 2 months is just too long,” wrote Janet Williams.
But not everyone is happy with the delay of the Christmas music.
“This is silly to stop Christmas music. The Christmas season is way too short and it stops immediately after Christmas. Play on,” wrote Kathryn Lawlor Haynes Gibson.
Another took her dissent a bit further.
“What a disappointment to take something so joyful and degrade it with negativity,” wrote Trisha Trudell. “Take the commercialism aside, Christmas is the most wonderful time of year to show love and equality and be giving and kind. What's so wrong with sharing in this early.”
So guess who won’t be getting Trudell's holiday business this year, or any year?
“Depending on how (S)hoppers handles this situation going forward will determine if I will ever continue to shop at shoppers drug mart again,” she wrote.
One customer said more power to Trudell and those like her.
“Go ahead and boycott the company, though. Shorter line ups AND not having to deal with Christmas music 7 freaking weeks before the day,.... BONUS!!!” Cassandra Nadeau wrote.
So when is the right time for Christmas music in stores?
Many of those commenting on Facebook said retailers should wait until after Remembrance Day, Canada’s equivalent of Veterans Day in the U.S., which Canada will mark on November 11 or 12, depending on the province.
“The Respect for those Veterans during Veteran's week and Remembrance day should not have to be in competition with Rudolph and Frosty,” wrote Tanya Murray.
While the chain is not giving a definitive date when Christmas music will return, it’s certainly not forsaking the season.
Check the chain’s website and the first thing you’ll see is an offer to sign up to win a $2,000 holiday shopping spree. Offer expires December 3. Plenty of time to shop before Christmas.