Friday, December 10, 2004

Chanukah frustration

I love Chanukah! Well, I did until this past week when I had to do some last minute shopping. Lillianna and I flew home from our vacation on Tuesday, the first night of Chanukah. I didn't plan ahead so I had to go looking for some Chanukah supplies yesterday. I went into CVS and immediately found their wrapping paper selection.There were three large boxes filled with Christmas paper. I poked through them all to find the Chanukah paper and I was surprised when I couldn't find a single roll. I flagged down an employee and asked where the Chanukah paper was. He took me on a journey to the other side of the store where four rolls of Chanukah paper were jammed in the middle of their Chanukah card display. I was horrified to find that this paper cost $4.99 while the Christmas paper was $1.99.Why did it need to be separated? I would've thought that all holiday wrapping paper would be in one place.

I suddenly got a very bad feeling. I hesitantly asked where the Chanukah candles were and I was told they didn't carry any. I looked around and saw hundreds of red,white and green candles of all sizes and shapes displayed all around the store.
I didn't want to over-react but the word anti-semitism popped into my head.I know it was probably more ignorance than anything but come on! It's 2004. Chanukah is not a new holiday. I bought the wrapping paper but I left feeling very frustrated.

This past year when I went looking for Rosh Hashanah cards this same store had Passover cards in the same display under the heading, Rosh Hashanah. I pointed it out to the woman who was putting out the cards and she showed me her list of instructions and that's what it said to do. Rosh Hashanah is in September. Passover is in April. Even if they wanted to get ahead of the game, why were they under the wrong heading?

Today I was out doing errands and found myself in CVS in another town. I went in looking for something and I happened to walk down the wrapping paper aisle. I was overjoyed to find all the holiday paper happily mingling in the same boxes. This time the Chanukah paper was $2.99. Interesting! I decided to buy a roll there and return the other one when I went to pick up my film. I went to the check-out and put the paper on the counter. A saleswoman in her 60s approached me and asked,

"Dear,you do know that this is Chanukah paper, right?"

"Yes, I do," I answered. I wanted to say,"Ya well the menorahs,dreidels and Jewish stars were a complete tip off," but I held back.

"Ok, as long as you know it's Chanukah paper," she continued.

"Yes, I know," I said smiling through my clenched teeth.

"Because last night a woman came in and was about to buy it and I asked her if she knew that it was Chanukah paper and she said, Chanukah paper? Oh my god! I don't want Chanukah paper!! She was so glad I told her."

"Ya, well this is what I came in for," I snapped and turned to pay the cashier.

My good feeling of seeing all the wrapping paper together was destroyed with this woman's comments. It's not like I was unknowingly buying a cobra and had no idea of the ramifications of owning such a poisonous pet. It was wrapping paper!!
If I had bought blue Santa paper by mistake I wouldn't have had a fit over it. "Oh my god!!!! Santa!!!! UGH!!!!!!"

I went food shopping in my favorite supermarket today and lo and behold they had a Chanukah display with candles, Elite Israeli coin chocolate and other Chanukah items. This store is always right on top of things.
I think all stores that sell Christmas items should also sell Chanukah items. They can't use the fact that Chanukah came weeks earlier than Christmas this year because Christmas decorations went into the stores right after Halloween!

Are Chanukah supplies easy to find where you live?

{Please check out Gary's post about this same subject. He said it better than I did.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's 2009, and I've just read your 2004 article on Chanukah shopping frustrations, and had to tell you how much it resonated with my experience here in Florida now, 5 years later! But my daughter in law in the Boston area had a totally positive CVS Chanukah-shopping experience. Guess it has to do with neighborhoods. Still hoping the world becomes saner.