Columnists

It’s a shame that it is now January

I’ve come to the conclusion that, if December is the season of Hope, then January must be the season of Shame. I base this conclusion primarily because advertisers tell us it is so.

No sooner do the last holiday fruitcakes make the annual transition from Christmas delicacy to New Year’s doorstop, advertisers start reminding us of how we overindulge at Christmastime. We are bombarded by advertising campaigns that play to our insecurities.

“Hey fatty! You did it again this year! You’d better buy our slimming product, so that when you do it again next year, you won’t feel as bad as we are going to make you feel this year.”

The reality is that The New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study that showed adults only gain on average thirty-seven kilograms (37 kg), or just under one pound of extra weight during the holidays. That’s nothing more than a brisk walk on your lunch hour, or replacing the knish with a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese for a few weeks.

The way advertisers assault us with slick commercials, you’d think the pounds that we added might just throw the earth off its axis. What a fraud!

We should have caught on to this deception by now. But we fall for it every year. Each January magazine publishers jettison the scantily dressed celebrity cover girl in favor of a nice bowl of fruit salad. Look at those sexy melons!

We are barraged by all the familiar guilt-mongers, plus a few newer ones.

Weight Watchers™ dropped a few pounds of their own, recently. The weight loss company now markets itself as the “WW,” shedding twelve letters. Jenny Craig™ has beefed up its delivery methods this year, and Nutrisystems™ markets a diet plan for couples. Let’s all feel guilty to-gether!

Noom™ is the newest high volume advertiser. I can’t find out what a “Noom” is, but I found ref-erence to a laboratory acronym that means “Number of Overindulging Methods”. Makes me wonder.

January is a great month for overweight celebrity spokespeople. Each year, they are trotted out of retirement to pitch everything from meals that come directly to your door in a box, to $4,000 electronic bicycles that tilt from side to side when you ride them. I get the same sensation from riding “Sandy,” the electronic horse at the grocery store, and it only costs me a dime!

I guess I shouldn’t pick on the weight loss industry for making us feel guilty about Christmas-time. January is also the traditional month for carpeting to go on sale. Were we a little embar-rassed by the red wine stain when Aunt Mildred stopped by?

Digital cameras go on sale in January, too. I’m guessing that you disappointed everyone by not capturing the moment that Uncle Fred thought the guacamole was just really bad-looking gravy.

In the end, I think the biggest sneers come from the textile industry. For as long as I can remem-ber, January has been the traditional month for linens, sheets, and pillows to be discounted. The marketing strategy called the White Sale, dates all the way back to 1878 when Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia coined the phrase.

I’m not sure why retailers pick January. Maybe they think we are especially hard on sheets in December. That would make sense if mattresses went on sale in January, too, but they don’t.

The seasonal sale month for mattresses is August. August, according to the CDC is the month that most babies are born.

Uh-oh. August, July, June, May, April … Yep. Nine months before August is December.

Shame. Shame.

John O. Marlowe is an award-winning columnist for Sagamore News Media.