Thoughtful Thursday: The Commercialization of the Easter Bunny

Thoughtful Thursday

(There should probably be a photo of Muffin with the Easter Bunny here, but that didn’t quite happen as intended.)

Yesterday, we (Josh, Muffin, and me) went to Pierre Bossier Mall (a Rouse Property) to let Muffin visit with the Easter Bunny.  For twenty-four hours (as far in advance as I would tell him because I knew this would happen), that was all he could talk about…going to see and talk to the Easter Bunny.  Not to have a photo taken with the Easter Bunny.

Not to be guilted into buying a poor-quality over-priced photo package where part of the proceeds were going to “charity.”  (and not a charity I support, if you’ve read my anti-vax Thoughtful Thursday post, you will understand why)  The charity is Autism Speaks.  Autism Speaks, until the recent measles outbreak, was very anti-vax.

I support several charities.  In cases like this, forced charity support would turn me away from supporting a charity that I would normally enthusiastically support.  I’m tired of being constantly barraged by requests for money, for fund-raiser purchases, for donations, for purchases made, to “support a charity.”  What if it’s a charity that someone doesn’t support?  Or, what if it’s a charity where most of the donations go to support the overhead (the highly inflated salaries of their employees)?  Then, you are placed in the awkward situation of looking like a bad person simply because you don’t support that charity.  That level of social pressure is something I abhor.

I should have known that the situation wasn’t going to go well when we approached the Easter Bunny gazebo, and there was a not-so-politely-or-subtly worded message reminding you not to take your own (better quality) photos with your phones or cameras unless you meet the “minimum purchase requirement” (2 5×7’s for $20).  Yes, the zero after the two was not a typo.

They try to force you to make a decision about a picture purchase upfront (before the pictures are taken and before you see the–over-exposed–results) and make a great show of holding up your child’s “visit” with the Easter Bunny until you make that decision.  I get the idea that the whole process is to make money.  I don’t agree with it, but I get it.  In the old days, it didn’t seem to be such a hard sell.

Muffin was oh so excited to show the Easter Bunny the plastic eggs that he recently acquired.  Instead of getting to visit with the Easter Bunny, he was forced and molded into a series of poses.  I was very disappointed on his behalf, to have something that he had looked forward to so much become such a sordid money maker.  They soiled what should have been a cherished memory.

Then, after the forced multi-shot photo shoot, we were exposed to a forceful sale of horrific photography (to call it over-exposed was an understatement).  “Don’t you like this one?”  “I like this one?”  “Why don’t you like this one?”  “I really like his smile in that one.” Those statements became tinged with annoyance at my desire to NOT buy–“Well, do you think you would like one if we had him take more pictures?”  This said after a new set of children had started to pose.  So, we were supposed to supplant them and ruin their memory as well in favor of the almighty dollar?  Um.  Gee.  No.

I tried to be polite.  I didn’t tell them the full honest truth that I, who am not the world’s greatest photographer by any means, could have taken a better shot with both hands tied behind my back and my eyes shut.  But I got really close as the pushy person continued her forced sales pitch.  Instead, I gave the response, “We will probably come back,” hinting non-verbally that my son, dressed in jeans shorts and a Saints Super Bowl tee-shirt didn’t quite come up to scratch the way the children in their Easter best did.

I don’t think she believed me.  I don’t care.  I’m past caring about the feelings of people who are pushy and trying to force something unwanted down my throat.

The sad thing is (for Rouse Properties and Pierre Bossier Mall) that I was planning on making a few purchases there yesterday.  I will definitely be taking my business elsewhere from now on.

Have you been the victim of a forced sell recently?

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