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Posted: January 11, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Have a big heart, retailers

Just three days after Christmas, I ventured into a store and was greeted by a massive display of pulmonary confectionery: Valentine’s Day candy in heart-shaped boxes, as it’s known on the streets. I marvel at the power of capitalism and its never-ending push for the next source of revenue, but seeing Valentine’s candy while the Christmas tree is still glowing is just too much!

I’m not fond of the retail world begging me to buy, buy, buy, but I’ll play along and make some recommendations for new ways to ply the consumer with celebration-driven commerce.

Consider Arbor Day. Arbor Day is a quiet little holiday centered on trees, but I’ve not seen anyone exploit the real potential of the day. What if grocery stores had Arbor Day sales? Couldn’t you imagine row after row of maple syrup on display as you walked in the store? And stores could sell apple juice and nuts. Lots of things grow on trees. And you could sell lots of toilet paper too. That’s a tree-related item and a lot less perishable than fresh chestnuts.

And why don’t we celebrate more of our presidents? We make a big deal about Washington and Lincoln, but what about old Millard Fillmore? Have you ever heard of a better presidential name for a shopping spree? "FILL MORE shopping carts on Millard Fillmore’s birthday!"

Maybe some retailer has already tried this, but I’ve never seen it, and think it would make for a wild day of shopping. Or consider Franklin Pierce. Is that name a gift to the earring business, or what? "Get pierced on Franklin Pierce day!" And I’m not even going to go into what Ford and Hoover could do with their namesake presidents. It does make you feel sorry for Grover Cleveland though. His advertising reach wouldn’t extend outside Ohio.

Marketers could give us holidays around the clock so we’d never run out of reasons to buy candy or coffee or collard greens or any of the things that we need to live in this fine country of ours. I’d really love to see a national holiday devoted to newspaper columnists. I’m pretty sure retailers could unload a lot of aspirin and antacid on that holiday, especially to my loyal readers! Well, have a box of Valentine’s Day candy as you take down the Christmas tree, but don’t fill up. You’ll need to save room for next week’s shipment of Easter candy!

David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington. He can be reached at davmccoy@bellsouth.net.

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