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August 10, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Desperate times. So totally clueless.

It’s curtain time. Final staging going on now. Total fails on the horizon.

There’s one in every crowd. You know them: either too daydreamy, too clueless, too desperate – so far out of touch there is no way to ever reach the inner circle of the popular kids.

First impression train wrecks right on track with school starting shortly.

Two sad women.1917. Pickford in The Little American:Artcraft

Oh, the misery when trendy is just too far out there. (USPD/

She’s trying to be a standout: an ahead of the curve trend setter.

Would she even listen if someone kindly tried to stop her?

Probably not.

Once an idea is firmly planted, any attempt to persuade is interpreted as:

  • Jealousy (She thought of it first and deserves the acclaim.) or
  • Over protectiveness (You don’t know. You are too old to see it.) or
  • Foolishly overly concerned with budget cost vs real impact at the right time. (You are so cheap! It’s a must have item! Why don’t you want me to be popular?)

It’s been Tax Free Back to School Sale Weekend here. The Christmas frenzy pales in comparison.

The major players are out there causally monitoring the offerings and what is being snatched up and by whom:

Walmart, Target, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, HEB, Aldi, Fiesta, Whole Foods, Apple Tree, and even the desperate little step child, Randalls.

All the grocery stores are stuffed with backpacks, t-shirts in school colors, notebooks, and crayons, as well as baking potatoes.

Worried their parking lots are too empty, the supermarkets prominently showcase their back to school items in front of their lunch box staples.

Did Randalls, eager to show her fall style, hire a marketing consultant to slingshot her ahead of the crowd?

She may realize it’s better to offer the seasonally expected than being first kid on block.

Collection of metal Halloween pumpkins for holiday decorating. (All rights reserved. copy righted. no permissions granted

People alway say smiles make the best first impression. These little guys are trying – even given the circumstances they are in through no fault of their own. They look a little stressed, don’t they?©

Pumpkins. Halloween pumpkins.

Piled to greet shoppers at the door.

With more fashionable Halloween decorations lavishly displayed right next to the back to school apples. (Just didn’t have the heart to show that. Too ghoulish.)


Maybe not exact response the store had desired.

Will laughter do?

Nervous laughter.


 Poor Randalls: like clueless teen outsider all over again.

Much too soon to pumpkin.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

odd pink cloud in blue sky ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. No permissions granted

Although, this is the sky from last week with the Saharan dust. It looks oddly…uh..No. Couldn’t be a witch on a broom. Could it?©







  1. Kate Crimmins / Aug 10 2015 1:25 pm

    Bad idea! Early pumpkins never last. They rot before Halloween week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth / Aug 10 2015 1:26 pm

    I knew I shouldn’t have been discussing my Halloween plans in front of the Randall’s buyer recently. I’ll take the blame for the pumpkins. It’s just that… well, I thought I needed to get those plans squared away. There are only 11-ish more weeks – the pressure was clearly on for me to firm up my plans. 🙂 (I may not be one of those “spontaneous” sorts.) I’ll try to hold off on speaking about Christmas around the Michael’s folks this one year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 10 2015 2:53 pm

      Oh, so you’re the catalyst? Serious Halloween party people do start planning…maybe Randalls thought they said “planting”? It’s about time for Hobby Lobby to have their “Half Price” Christmas ornament/decoration sale”. Not even going to risk heading that way…supposed to be 103 F for the next few days. (Totally nuts for HS football players and band practices)
      Thanks for braving the seasonal heat to leave a seasoned comment

      Liked by 1 person

  3. easyweimaraner / Aug 10 2015 1:40 pm

    maybe that pumpkins will end like the early worm… in the tummy of the birds :o) I was shocked as I saw the first gingerbread in our stores this year… it’s august… bet next week they start to play silent night in an endless loop …ugh :o(

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 10 2015 2:59 pm

      Maybe some civic minded creature will gobble up all early gingerbread to spare the rest of us….perhaps that Hansel and Gretel. Thanks for crumbling up a comment to leave

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paul / Aug 11 2015 3:42 pm

        Ha! There’s an episode of Frasier where they are talking about the gingerbread cookies that his Mom used to make each anniversary of her marriage to Frasier’s Dad, Martin. Apparently the cookies had the heads twisted to one side and the legs and arms bent. Frasier said he just thought his Mom couldn’t bake gingerbread very well. Martin explained that he and their Mom had met at a murder scene over the chalk outline of the body and the bent gingerbread commemorated that each year. Ha!


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 3:49 pm

          Oh, classic Frasier. Going to look that one up for sure. Thanks for hauling it out of cold storage!


  4. Satin Sheet Diva / Aug 10 2015 2:26 pm

    A trip past the Hallmark store at the end of July (this state’s tax free weekend 7/31-8/1) – there were ornaments (I can’t even bring myself to type the name of the holiday before the 1st of December) on display in one window, and assorted scary themed, orange and black decorations in the other. I would have wept had I not been in public.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 10 2015 3:03 pm

      The time has come for calendar re-education for merchants? Life’s short enough, retail – we don’t want to rush it just so you can make a few extra coins.(and it’s much too hot to tolerate those heavy cinnamon/spice scented candles right now!) Thanks for adding a seasonal comment

      Liked by 1 person

    • Erik / Aug 10 2015 7:27 pm

      I purposefully avoid retail stores that push seasonal displays. I seriously order online to avoid it and save my holiday cheer for the right season. In my book, I devote a chapter to why time seems to move faster as we get older. And I have found through experience that it is just such things as this retail practice. When we don’t live in the now (as we did when we were those tree-house-loving kids in the endless summers), but rather begin to always be marking life by what is coming (e.g., the next holiday, time until my vacation, days left until taxes are due, etc.), we form a sort of vacuum that sucks us ever forward rather than being able to simply enjoy right now. Since I’ve safeguarded myself, physically and mentally, from such a mindset, time seems to be moving at the childhood speed again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 1:46 am

        The older relatives used to tell us kids who were whining about being bored or wishing they were old enough to drive or do this or that, “Don’t be foolish. That’s just wishing your life away. Days a-passin’ and will be gone”. Here and now. Make choices or they will be made for you. (Although true at some parts of life, you have to compromise for priorities)
        Actually I think people are much more affected by seasons, length of day and night, seas, moon, and tides than some realize.That 12+ years of school certainly conditions people (Open humans are so easy to train…part of the problem). OF course the school calendar was based on the agricultural/fishing/harvesting society…which was based on weather, growing season, length of day and night, moon, tides….
        Enter electricity, lights and boxed rooms without windows and people get disoriented and lose that natural connection with the world…so they are easily persuaded to reorganize their time as required by others…so the natural rhythm is buried even deeper. Maria Montessori was one of the first to recognize kids who got 20-40 minutes of outdoor sunshine each day performed better, were happier, better socially adjusted, and healthier. She constructed her school yards to make sure that happened.
        Time can and does uncoil. If you’ve ever been in a disaster area such as a hurricane, tornado, flood, snowstorm where power is lost for a long time. You’ve witness the unwinding. What’s important changes.
        Always choices. Make them or they will be made for you. Simple, but it isn’t. Possible, it is. Be here, really – completely. Worth a try. Thanks for the timely comments

        Liked by 2 people

      • Satin Sheet Diva / Aug 11 2015 1:48 pm

        Wow – your take on that really resonated with me. Thanks!

        Liked by 2 people

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 3:33 pm

          Glad you got a giggle. It seems humans, being given a brain and complex thought processes, sometimes over think – easier than facing/accepting simple facts and simple truth.
          Surfers pay attention, learn to gauge the set, roll with the waves, float with the currents, and pick the crests to ride – most of them seem pretty stress free…
          Gotta be the sun. Yep, everyone into the surf…:)

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Paul / Aug 10 2015 3:32 pm

    Ha! I like pumpkins – they are cute. I used to work in retailing for a large chain – in transportation – and they were very “event” oriented. That is defined as an organization that merchandises around cultural holidays or common activities, like back to school (BTS). Some retailers are product oriented – say for instance artists supply stores or flooring stores – and do minimal seasonal advertising. Anyway, easily reproduced items like those pumpkins would have been ordered from China at vendor shows 6 months to a year ago. They are ordered early and in bulk to get the best price. Although there are rough delivery times – planning that far in advance is often more a guessing game than a plan. Which means that containers of product often arrive at the warehouse early – and cannot be turned away or demurrage charges are incurred. Once landed, it is much more efficient to just distribute to the stores than to pile up storage costs. And, believe it or not – it has been proven that it is not possible to be too early in merchandising for an event. There is no lost business and, in fact, the earlier the merchandising, the better the sales. The one and only reason that Christmas items are not on display in July is because shelf space is precious. If the product – like those pumpkins – can be displayed outside on the concrete then it is a perfect way to increase sales and reduce warehouse costs – after all the store overhead is fixed and already accounted for.

    Anyway, sorry about the lecture – Happy Halloween! O_o

    Liked by 3 people

    • Erik / Aug 10 2015 7:21 pm

      Always fascinating to me to get an insider view on anything. Life learning at its best (and free!).

      Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 10 2015 11:29 pm

      Yep. Worked as a display artist in a major for a few years back when an elegant shopping experience was the style rather than more rounders and mass marketing. Few customers realized we started building Christmas in July with fully decorated 8-10 foot trees stashed in stairwells and every nook and cranny until the day after Thanksgiving when the doors would swing open revealing a magical Christmas wonderland. (We feared unexpected fire marshal visits) Every last snowflake had to be in place before opening. It was fun to hide and watch the amazed faces as shoppers entered and took it all in. Here’s a post about that coolest ever job. ( And of course it all had to be back in the box and cleared out before the after Christmas sales. Merchants live with a whole different calendar.
      Thanks for boxing up and shipping in a decorative comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paul / Aug 11 2015 5:19 am

        I went back and read the Xmas post Phil – too cool. In transportation we used to do something similar. We would organize the Xmas distribution at the warehouse and send it all in one rush the day after Halloween. At least the first wave and it was the largest as it had to fill all the shelves that were vacated with Halloween sales. The deliveries would be done overnight starting at store closing and when the store reopened the next day most of it would be displayed. Our stores were much smaller than your department store – the biggest would be about 35,000 sq ft whereas I imagine yours was closer to 150-200 thousand sq ft.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 3:11 pm

          It was a world of giant spaces that were always changing faces to amazing and amuse. Great fun, but being there puts you at such odd angles with everyone else’s seasons and the lack of sleep sometimes – you definitely were in the middle of that wacky realm.Accounts for the sense of humor. Thanks for delivering another great comment

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Carrie Rubin / Aug 10 2015 4:11 pm

    “too soon to pumpkin”—Love that! Should be a new slogan.

    I made the mistake of going to Staples yesterday. We had already purchased school supplies in July, but we forgot a few things. It was not pretty in the crowded store. Not pretty at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 10 2015 11:31 pm

      (Shiver…talk about ghoulish). So hard to feel harvest-ish when it’s 103 outside. We’ll let that bake a while before sampling. Thanks for packing up a comment for this crate.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. sustainabilitea / Aug 10 2015 4:42 pm

    All seasons are rushed in the retail world. Then when they actually arrive, I pity the fool who needs something in season. Everything’s been sold out weeks/months ago. Our second, and last, child is in her senior year of college, so in another year, we’ll get a huge pay raise! In the meantime, “back to school” at that level makes all others appear benign. 😉


    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 10 2015 11:39 pm

      We had a really hard time finding a plastic kiddie wading pool for the dogs the week after July 4th – who knew those were like bathing suits? Gone before you even get brave enough to try them out. Parents of college students are probably in shock right now…so much required and it continues once school starts for seniors in high school or university level. (Much sympathy sent..but enjoy the entire wild year!) Thanks for carting a comment this way


  8. Brenda Davis Harsham / Aug 10 2015 6:02 pm

    Looks like a witch on a broom to me. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Erik / Aug 10 2015 7:30 pm

    I left a few pertinent comments as Replies to others. But I have to say, the use of “The Silent Sufferers” header image was spot on and priceless. Got a nice guffaw out of me.

    To this day, I still feel excitement when summer vacation begins and a sense of loss when it ends and school begins, even though nothing in my actual life changes too much (other than traffic in the morning). Part of me will forever be a kid, I guess.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. pegoleg / Aug 10 2015 8:03 pm

    You and I might think it’s too early to pumpkin, but compared to Hobby Lobby, which already has aisles and aisles of CHRISTMAS stuff out…Randall’s is way behind the times if they’re only into the fall.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 12:16 am

      Randalls is such a Cinderella. Once a lovely local grocery store chain, that keeps getting bought and sold, bought and sold to national companies who think it totally needs to be redone. Over and over. It’s not going well. It would help if Corporate would stock the store with what customers want, not what corp.thinks they want.
      Sadly the pumpkins (which can be used as those little outdoor fireplaces, I think…great for the current 103 F temps here) now sit next to a whole pile of imported from MX planters that arrived in Spring…which are readily available everywhere for less money….maybe hire a local buyer/marketing person?
      Hobby Lobby is probably about ready to unpack Valentines – hey – red is red! Multi-purpose holiday color!
      Thanks for coloring outside the calendar page lines!


      • shoreacres / Aug 11 2015 1:53 am

        But don’t forget that for the crafty sorts (I have a couple of friends who are) it’s time to start making those homemade Christmas cards, gifts, and so on. In fact, it’s nearly past time. Mom always started making her needlepoint ornaments in March or April. Of all the people I don’t begrudge an early start, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and the yarn shops are right up there.

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 1:57 am

          Hobby Lobby is totally free of scorn. Different goals. Many of us made presents (“thought is what’s important, not the price”…there’s an archaic philosophy…) and tried to have them all done, wrapped, shipped, and all paid for before Halloween. (Still the fancy costly readymade ornament half price in July is pushing it for me…but budget-wise, a smart idea…if you can only remember where you hide them in Dec…) Thanks for adding a jingle here


        • pegoleg / Aug 11 2015 7:03 pm

          That’s a good point. The problem with Hobby Lobby is they sell the crafting supplies to make the ornament for $25 in aisle 1 in July, then the finished product which was made in China for $10 in aisle 3, also in July.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 9:35 pm

          Making a hobby totally nuts…they say crafting is good for the nerves, but the pocket book wonders


  11. heretherebespiders / Aug 10 2015 8:18 pm

    I am so glad we don’t do that sort of thing here.

    Ow! I think I bit my tongue – what was it doing in my cheek???

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 12:18 am

      Now that’s really spooky…the horror of blood flowing already. Now worried they are right on schedule. Thanks for carving up a comment…(Have some candy corn? Chomp carefully)


  12. EllaDee / Aug 10 2015 9:00 pm

    You have the coolest clouds over Texas! 🙂
    I’m sure there’ll be Christmas stuff in the shops here soon… only 135 days to make the most of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 12:19 am

      That week we had smoke from marsh burns as well as the Saharan dust cloud and extreme weather. Spectacular sunsets, but terrible breathing. Thanks for floating along with a comment


  13. marthaschaefer / Aug 10 2015 9:10 pm

    Next up, back to school and Easter Bunnies. Let’s just skip the whole retail holiday crush. Living in Tax Free (Live Free or Die) NH, we don’t celebrate that one but the folks next door in Taxachusettes do!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erik / Aug 10 2015 10:25 pm

      I am from “Taxachusetts,” and I’ll never understand why Tax Free days are such a big deal. If you got a coupon in the mail or saw an ad that said “SAVE 6% NOW!” would you rush down to the store, thinking this was an incredible deal? Very strange.

      Liked by 1 person

      • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 12:32 am

        If you have a bunch of kids, maybe it’s worth the crush. The sale only applies to items under $100.00 here and store do mark things down. Shoppers save a bit more here depending on location and sale tax level. A whole bunch easier to shop on line and get the same deals with free shipping from most sources.
        For kids, it’s a social event. (Now how sad it that? Priorities skewed.) As it’s 103 outside, moms are probably willing to go anywhere for entertainment…cabin fever seriously sets in during August.
        Thanks for rolling by and tossing a shop worthy comment into this cart.

        Liked by 1 person

      • marthaschaefer / Aug 12 2015 12:23 am

        Thanks Eric, fortunately for Taxachusetts no one does the math as you do! Bravo!!

        Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 12:27 am

      The first year, you could actually get bargains. Malls stayed open 24 hours. Then the stores started hauling in all sorts of extra merchandise just for the tax sale – often lower quality. Many schools have uniforms/set dress codes, so the clothing isn’t as much purchased for school wear. So now it’s a yawn. Who know what the kids really need for supplies until school starts anyway? On line offerings with no tax and free shipping are not too bad, though. No parking. No crowds.The whole thing is just a merchant event. Good day to go to the beach…if it weren’t so darn hot! Thanks for skipping along with the shopping frenzy

      Liked by 1 person

  14. shoreacres / Aug 11 2015 1:57 am

    I confess: those pumpkins made me smile when I saw them. I can’t help it. If I go all curmudgeonly in this heat, it’ll be over. I has to keep me my positive attitude — and I love the witch cloud!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 2:03 am

      If they would just move the animal/bird planters they brought in for Spring that are still there! The little jackO’Lantern faces did give me a smile…I started to listen in on their conversations.
      That odd cloud had a twin on the high prairie at almost the same time – really eerie (on Hot Rod Cowgirl’s post – only ours was pink. Twilight Zone…..) Maybe the pink gal is getting in place for Wed’s meteor shower? That ought to give you some sparkle. Thanks for pumping up the pumpkins!


  15. Littlesundog / Aug 11 2015 2:24 am

    You just keep that witch on a broom cloud down there in South Texas! At least it’s in pleasing pink and not scary black!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 3:08 pm

      Strange – without any brews! Nothing like nature’s whimsy, right. Takes for sauntering by to chat ( too hot to run by…hope the temps have moderated there…and the giant summer flies are all grounded or elsewhere)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Littlesundog / Aug 11 2015 9:14 pm

        I am afraid the pestilence continues! FD and I were attempting to enjoy Sunday afternoon in the pool and the horseflies got after us. Before I knew it, one had bit my armpit, then my shoulder, and finally my back! Bee’s and wasps are in full force too. What is going on?? Frogs are hatching out everywhere too… what peril on the zero-turn mower. I try to avoid them but they seem to be everywhere this past week.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 9:34 pm

          And I’m rescuing earthworms who have the bad judgement to crawl out to enjoy the sprinkler. Ant attackers. We’ve shooed/unhomed some red wasps this year – better than the yellow jackets in the bush last year. Frogs and lizards of all varieties welcomed as mosquito hunters…so far they have managed to elude Molly on the hunt.
          A pool sound just wonderful (106 F today)…although I have the image of you under water breathing through long tubes to avoid the flying attackers. That first fall breeze will really be welcomed. Meanwhile, splash on


  16. jmmcdowell / Aug 11 2015 7:55 pm

    Ah yes, we have the Halloween candy out in the grocery stores, too. I guess all the artificial ingredients don’t mind the long shelf life! At least our favorite grocery also has prepackaged bags of school supplies at various denominations that we can purchase and have donated for kids whose parents might not be able to afford them easily.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 9:45 pm

      I don’t dare go down the candy corn aisle. That is a fall smell, isn’t it: candy corn?…Avoidance strategy necessary – those little candy pumpkins jump into the cart.
      There are no less than 9 agencies in the metro area this year gathering donated backpacks filled with supplies for needy kids and school. Last year each agency collected between 4-10 thousand backpacks each. Brings out the point how much need there is. Last weekend was the annual free pediatric checkups, vaccinations, eye testing, dental care for all school age kids who show up – it’s held in one of the malls.The shoe giveaway is coming up soon. Take care of the kids so they have a chance. Good thing so many people are willing to give time and money to help others. (Someone said a parent spends an average of $400-$500 per child for school in the fall. Shoes are pretty expensive, but something is way out of kilter.)
      Thanks for filling up the comment cart!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Erik / Aug 15 2015 3:16 pm

        Just thinking about candy corn hurts my teeth! (But that doesn’t stop me from biting off the yellow ends of two and pressing them onto my two front teeth for the “unbrushed Bubba” look when the season comes around.)


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 17 2015 4:01 pm

          Gopher teeth! Or Kukla, Fran, and Ollie for the vintage inclined. (We will not mention the Ipana brusha-brusha- brusha Bucky Beaver) Go fangs!


  17. Kev / Aug 15 2015 1:28 pm

    I thought it was a dragon tap-dancing on a puff of smoke. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 15 2015 1:49 pm

      That’s it – the reason why it’s suddenly so darn hot: a fire breathing dragon is hanging around the lake.Thanks for sharing that comment of discovery

      Liked by 2 people

      • Kev / Aug 16 2015 7:10 pm

        I like it when folks see reason and anomalies are explained to reveal the mysteries that surround us. 🙂


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 17 2015 4:12 pm

          We saw you cross the street and walk quickly and quietly past ASAP….we noticed….hear those footsteps you following in tandem (thanks for the giggles)

          Liked by 1 person

        • Kev / Aug 17 2015 6:47 pm

          Anytime! 😀


    • Kourtney Heintz / Aug 16 2015 3:52 am

      I totally see that actually. How cool!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Margaret Lynette Sharp / Sep 3 2015 4:38 am

    Just tweeted this interesting post… 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 3 2015 2:37 pm

      It’s almost time to pump up the neighborhood. Glad you got a giggle. Thanks for the tweet.


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