Our list of holiday Grinches includes greedy mall Santas, online retailers who can’t deliver orders on time, people who are offended by pretty much everything, and many, many more.
Spirit Airlines & Frontier Airlines
The two discount carriers, known for combining cheap fares with loads of add-on charges for any service above basic transportation, are jacking up fees on checked luggage for flights during the busy holiday travel season. There’s been some attempt to explain that the purpose of the fee hike is to push passengers to pack less, thereby speeding along check-in, but most people see this for what it is: a straight-up cash grab.
We suppose Kohl’s decision to remain open for 170 hours in a row in the lead-up to Christmas is intended as a service to shoppers with hectic schedules and unusual work hours. But it sure seems like a disservice to employees stuck working the dreary overnight shifts. Bear in mind that some other stores have unnecessary 24/7 hours and late-night closing on Christmas Eve as well.
The holiday season has featured a sharp rise in online shopping purchases—and a corresponding rise in thefts of the packages after they’re delivered but before homeowners bring them inside. According to one estimate, 23 million Americans have had package deliveries stolen from their porches and front steps, with a disproportionately high number of thefts occurring during the weeks leading up to Christmas. One homeowner in Las Vegas, tired of getting his packages ripped off, recently sought sweet—or rather stinky—revenge on his local thieves: He left a package full of dog poop on his porch, and sure enough, it was stolen. That’s way worse than getting coal in your stocking, and certainly deserved.
What were they thinking? That’s the most common response to Bloomingdale’s decision to release a holiday season ad suggesting that it would be fun to “Spike Your Best Friend’s Eggnog When They’re Not Looking.” The accompanying photo showed a man deviously eyeing an attractive woman, like he’s plotting something underhanded. As fully expected, outrage ensued on social media, with people accusing the retailer of promoting drug rape. Target was also hit with a backlash this season, after some viewed an “O.C.D.” (Obsessive Christmas Disorder) sweater as offensive to people suffering from the real thing, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Nordstrom is yet another offender. It was forced to pull a “Chai Maintenance” sweater that included the acronym JAP (Jewish American Princess).
The ski vacation plans for pretty much everyone hoping to hit a resort in the Northeast over the holidays have been ruined by unseasonably warm weather. Not only has very little snow fallen thus far, but temperatures have rarely been cold enough for resorts to pump out artificial snow onto trails. Mountains in Vermont and New Hampshire have been forced to close during the weeks before Christmas, and many are delaying openings or will operate with few runs. On the other hand, ski resorts throughout the West, which have received good snowfalls thus far in the season, could benefit from the warm weather in New England, as more East Coast skiers and boarders will be inclined to book trips to Colorado, Utah, or the Lake Tahoe area.
Greedy Mall Santas
By now, no one should be surprised by the long lines and outrageous photo package upsells that come with sitting on Santa Claus’s knee at the mall. But $10 appointments and $87 photo packages? We’re disappointed in you, Santa.
Some customers have been forced to wait weeks, or even longer than a month, to get their personalized holiday cards and gift items processed and delivered by Snapfish, the online photo service. Snapfish promised to send some orders via free express delivery, but it’s too late for some customers who won’t be able to get holiday cards in the mail in time for Christmas delivery.
The upstart Amazon competitor has gotten attention for undercutting the prices founds almost anywhere else on the web, but like Snapfish, it’s been getting grief for delays on orders at a time of year when people need online purchases pronto. As early as Dec. 15, Jet.com—which normally offers two-day shipping—began telling customers that some orders would not be guaranteed for delivery by Dec. 24.
Easily Offended People
As more than one observer has noted, “‘Tis the season to be offended.” Taking offense where none whatsoever is intended isn’t limited to one end of the political spectrum, mind you. Some have been offended and called for boycotts of Starbucks for selling coffee in cups that aren’t Christmas-y enough, while others have forced a teacher in Maine to remove a pink “Hello Kitty” Christmas tree from her classroom so as not to offend people who don’t celebrate Christmas. Or perhaps it’s to protect the feelings of the anti-Hello Kitty faction.
“I feel that this is definitely a turning point in our society – when everything offends everyone all the time – it just sucks the joy out of everything,” the teacher, Catherine Gorden, wrote on Facebook. In a video posted at Bangor Daily News, Gordon also said, “It just seems that in our quest to be tolerant of everything, we’ve become intolerant to everything.”
Well said. And no offense or anything, but Merry Christmas!