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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 08/02/11

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

TOP 10 INDUSTRIES THAT THRIVE ON HOLIDAYS!

   Attach a notion of “specialness” to something, and people will find a way to throw money at it. This is a principal true of every consumer product with an advertising campaign (“If [such and such a celebrity] drinks it, then it must be pretty special”). But what’s bigger than anything any advertising agency could possibly dream up? A commercial holiday, “commercial” being a term used to discern from any possible religious significance. A commercial holiday is like an all-purpose ad campaign, wherein consumers are expected to buy and subscribe to a variety of pertinent rituals in order to fit in properly. Didn’t get Mom a card for Mother’s Day? Expect borderline excommunication. These beliefs are embedded deep in the fabric of our culture, to where tradition becomes more powerful than any fact or biblical preaching. There’s a lot of money to be made at the exact point where “personal” becomes strictly business; here are ten businesses and industries that are keenly aware of this fact.



10.  Infomercials
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    Infomercials do a great service: they provide a last-minute option for procrastinating shoppers who can’t think of or hand-make anything thoughtful in time, and need something “gift-like”, stat. Many Christmases could end in tragic, empty-armed disappointment if it weren’t for the bombardment of suggestions that come on the tube after about 3 A.M. Christmas, birthday and graduation gifts can henceforth, and effortlessly, be any assortment of a Snuggy, ShakeWeight or underwater electric razor. Best gifts are the ones that lack gender-specificity; just get 8 of those and Christmas shopping is done. (Warning: people you actually care about won’t appreciate the obvious lack of thought that goes into any one of these gifts, but by all means indulge a coworker).



9.  Professional Photography Studios
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   Every family is required to put out a Christmas card every year, or else the neighbors will be baited. A Christmas card captures just how “perfect” a family is, or at least the image of, whereafter they can go back to being terrible and volatile, on the way back from Sears. Only truly gifted artists could make such a fallacy an apparent truth, which is why they get paid the big bucks, and why families are so tickled by the notion of spreading this masterful concoction to everyone in their address book.



8.  Fireworks
Fireworks


   Not legal everywhere, these self-contained spectacles are the toast of every Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and patriotic other occasion. After all, nothing spells U.S.A. like Chinese imports. Every fair concludes with them, the mighty “Grand Finale,” and every drunken Summer night spent away from work deserves, and belligerently demands, their presence. Explosions in the sky never disappoint, feeding that animalistic desire for consequence-free fire and destruction, which is why border-runs are so frequent and unstoppable.




7.  Airlines
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   The one industry that rarely shuts an eye, hence the red-eye, is the airline industry. More than any other means of travel, it is the most efficient and practical way to travel great distances in a timely, scheduled manner (in spite of how much waiting and security checkpoints must be endured). Every holiday season, seats get booked to maximum capacity, to where the cheapest seat last minute is usually in the thousands (even as sites like Expedia and Travelocity do their best to alleviate this fact). Seeing family and friends is a component of virtually every holiday or festive occasion, and to do so, transportation is a vital, if mundane, consideration in every case. A business built around the essential motions and functions of life will always do unspeakably well for itself, just ask the healthcare or fast food industry.



6.  Video Games
Video-Games


   Every holiday season, without fail, stores like Game Stop, Electronics Boutique and Best Buy sell out of every major console, especially right after the latest and greatest one has been released just in time for such a time of the year. Right around November, appeasing mothers cram into malls to snatch up that fancy “game-box” junior’s been talking about, just so the kid can rip it open Christmas morning without a scintilla of surprise or doubt. Wii’s, XBox 360′s, and PS3′s have sold out religiously in mostly every Christmas past, but as no kid seems to be without one these days, it seems right about time Wii 2, Xbox 720, and PS4 make their parking lot-congesting debuts.



5.  Restaurants
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   The number one go-to or last resort gift is a visit, or gift card, to some classy-looking restaurant, but usually just the Olive Garden or T.G.I. Fridays. It’s a preferable escape from slaving over a hot stove, a dad-favorite on Mother’s Day, and an ideal date all at about twenty or thirty bucks a plate. It’s just the price that says “I’m not entirely cheap, but I’m not very original either.” Restaurants do very well on special occasions, seasonally that is, and given that there’s always some kind of commercial holiday every few weeks or so, it’s not a bad investment in any case. The food doesn’t have to be great, but dim lights and faint, vaguely romantic music overhead spells Valentine’s Day hot spot.



4.  Hollywood
Hollywood



   Tim Allen alone has lined his pockets with a lion’s share of Christmas tinsel, appearing in three progressively terrible Santa Claus movies, as well as a terribly over-acted Christmas with the Cranks (based on a novel?!). Every holiday seems to require a sludge pile of opportunistic films that ride a cheap gimmick with a plot centering around a holiday, and an unceasingly unfunny series of disasters (Four Christmases, Surviving Christmas, Deck the Halls, Fred Claus…you get it).
   Christmas is the obvious cash-in, but even lesser holidays are finding distasteful exploitation: Valentine’s Day (the movie of the same name), Halloween (every 3D slasher movie that comes out conveniently on Halloween weekend, not to mention the movie of the same name and every time it is rebooted), Easter (Hop), etc. That’s not to say there’s no such thing as a good holiday movie (It’s a Wonderful Life, Nightmare Before Christmas, Christmas Vacation, Christmas Story, etc.), but Hollywood rarely seems concerned with generating memorable instant classics so much as greasing its own sprockets with transient rubbish and easy money.



3.  Candy


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   How many times do we binge on marshmallow Peeps and swear to never touch them again, that is until they hit the shelves again in the shape of a Christmas tree or pumpkin rather than a bunny? And when we swear out candy for good, we can never resist that 80% off sale in the center aisle of the local pharmacy. Between candy corn, Peeps, boxes of chocolate, and various other fun-sized sugar-and-carnauba wax-covered sweets, our love for cloistering substances and suckered obligation to incorporate them into our every celebration means only big money for the Willy Wonkas of the world.



2.  Greeting Cards

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   What a great enterprise: paying someone else to preconceive the ideal sentiment for any given occasion. What better way to tell someone you care about them than to pay four dollars to let someone say just how so. Somehow they’ve worked their way into every holiday/birthday/ form of congratulations and are somehow considered a “thoughtful” gesture. What would be thoughtful would be to type a personal letter, or get a BLANK card and write in something heartfelt and original. Nevertheless, a trip to the drug store counts just the same.



1.  Liquor Stores and Bars
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   What’s a holiday without the booze. In fact there are holidays devoted exclusively to the substance (St. Paddy’s Day, with or without green beer), but all usually end in drunken foolishness. While kids look forward to cake, pie, and trick-or-treating, adults look forward to the swift elevation of their B.A.C. levels. Liquor stores and bars thrive more than anyone else on universally-designated “special” days, more so than the unsynchronized birthday or situational cause for celebration. When these big days approach, extra efforts are made to ensure a cornucopia surplus of cases and handles, or else dire consequences be wrought (in the form of bleeding cash registers).

THE NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL FROM LONDON, ENGLAND!

   The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event which since 1964 has taken place on the streets of Notting Hill, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea , London, UK each August, over two days (the August bank holiday Monday and the day beforehand).   It is led by members of the West Indian community, particularly the Trinidadian and      Tobagonian British population or 'Trinis', many of whom have lived in the area since the 1950s. The carnival has attracted up to 2 million people in the past, making it the second largest street festival in the world after the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival held in that country.   

History

   The roots of the Notting Hill Carnival come from two separate but connected strands. The Carnival began in January 1959 in St Pancras Town Hall as a response to the depressing state of race relations at the time; the UK's first widespread racial attacks (the Notting Hill race riots) had occurred the previous year. This carnival organised by Claudia Jones (a "Trini") who is widely recognised as 'the Mother of the Notting Hill Carnival', was a huge success, despite being held indoors. The other important strand was the "hippie" London Free School inspired festival that became the first organised outside event in August 1966. The prime mover was Rhaune




Laslett, who was not aware of the indoor events when she first raised the idea. This was a more diverse Notting Hill event to promote cultural unity. A street party for neighbourhood children turned into a carnival procession when Russell Henderson's steel band (who had played at the earlier Claudia Jones events) went on a walkabout.

The carnival's traditional starting point has been Emslie Horniman's Pleasance in nearby Ladbroke Grove.
By 1976, the event had become definitely Caribbean in flavour, with around 150,000 people attending. However, in that year and several subsequent years, the carnival
was marred by riots, in which predominantly Caribbean youths fought with police — a target due to the continuous harassment the population felt they were under.      During this period, there was considerable coverage of the disorder in the press, which some felt took an unfairly negative and one-sided view of the carnival. For a while it looked as if the event would be banned. Prince Charles was one of the few establishment figures who supported the event.


   In recent years, the event has been much freer from serious trouble and is generally viewed very positively by the authorities as a dynamic celebration of London's multi-cultural diversity, though dominated by the Caribbean culture in the best traditions of Rio. However, there has been controversy over the public safety aspects of holding such a well-attended event in narrow streets in a small area of London.
   Concerns about the size of the event resulted in London's former Mayor, Ken Livingstone, setting up a Carnival Review Group to look into "formulating

 
guidelines to safeguard the future of the Carnival".   An interim report by the review resulted in a change to the route in 2002. When the full report was published in 2004, it recommended that Hyde Park be used as a "savannah"; though this move has attracted some concern that the Hyde Park event may overshadow the original street carnival.
   In 2003, the Notting Hill Carnival was run by a limited company, the Notting Hill Carnival Trust Ltd. A report by the London Development Agency on the 2002 Carnival estimated that the event contributes around £93 million to the London and UK economy.
   In 2005, entrants from the Notting Hill Carnival participated in the Bridgwater, Somerset, carnival - Europe's largest lighted carnival and part of the West Country Carnival circuit.
Attendance Figures

2010 - 1,000,000


2009 - 720,000







2008 - 850,000


2007 - 850,000 (250,000 Sunday | 600,000 Monday)

2006- 1,000,000 (500,000 Sunday | 500,000 Monday) organizers / 800,000 (300,000 Sun | 500,000 Mon) authorities

2005 - 750,000

2004 - 750,000

2003 - 600,000

2002 - 1,400,000

2001 - 1,250,000







2000 - 1,500,000

1999 - 1,400,000

1998 - 1,150,000

1997 - 1,300,000

1996 - 1,000,000





Public Order
   Since the carnival did not have local authority permission, initial police involvement was aimed at preventing it taking place at all, which resulted in regular confrontation and riots. A change of policy came after a confrontation in 1987, which saw a change to allowing the Carnival to take place with police taking a more conciliatory approach. During the 2000 Carnival, two men were murdered and future policing, whilst conciliatory, has led to police deployment in large numbers - upwards of 11,000. Some of the crime associated has been displaced to the periphery. In 2007, two teenagers were shot just outside the Carnival area. The Review in 2000 by participants (but not local residents) resisted calls from the Mayor of London to resite the event in Hyde Park but led to the parades taking a circular rather than linear route.

   The 2008 Carnival was marred by rioting right at the very end of the weekend, involving large numbers of youths and injuries to police. Some media outlets captured footage of the violence -  approximately 500 youths were arrested. The carnival has come under criticism for its cost to the London taxpayer as the cost for policing the event totalled over £6,000,000, however, it is argued that this should be put into context as the carnival is estimated to bring in approximately £93,000,000 into the local economy.
Five murders have taken place since 1987:
30 August 1987 - Michael Augustine Galvin, 23, stallholder - stabbed.
26 August 1991 - Dr. Nicholas John Hanscomb, 38, bled to death after being stabbed in the thigh.
28 August 2000 - Greg Fitzgerald Watson, 21, stabbed to death after an argument over food.
28 August 2000 - Abdul Munam Bhatti, 28, beaten to death in a racially motivated attack by a group of 40-50 youths.
30 August 2004 - Lee Christopher Surbaran, 27, shot by a gang using a machine pistol for "showing disrespect".