Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Opinion: Capitalism is Ruining Our Seasons

Adeline Tse

As we get closer to the start of the fall, I’ve got pumpkin spice on my mind. Mostly, I’m thinking about the day I saw Starbucks’ post on X (formerly known as Twitter), announcing that the beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte would return on Aug. 24. That day, temperatures in Naperville reached 94 degrees Fahrenheit.

Every year, it seems like the Pumpkin Spice Latte comes back earlier and earlier. What was once a nationally loved fall drink has become a horrible monstrosity. Gone are the days of the Pumpkin Spice Latte being the drink for sweater weather. Instead, you can go get it while sweating in the near-hundred degree heat.

This is a worrying trend that extends beyond pumpkin spice. I see Christmas items in stores before Halloween. Spirit Halloween opened Chicagoland stores as early as July this year. Black Friday lasts a whole week now!

The culprit in this disgusting trend is painfully obvious. It’s capitalistic greed.

Major corporations don’t care one bit about the seasonal value of a product or promotion. All they care about is maximizing profits. There’s no doubt that a longer Pumpkin Spice Latte season will bring more money to Starbucks. The longer that Walgreens sells Valentine’s Day chocolates, the more cash they rake in. It all comes down to basic principles of business, and it makes complete sense.

What the major corporations don’t understand is how important seasonal value is to consumers like me. What made the Pumpkin Spice Latte so special to me is that it used to be a strictly seasonal product. We used to have a limited time to enjoy these short-term things before they left us. Now, they linger around, way before the start and beyond the end of the appropriate season. While these products are available for a longer period of time, we as consumers lose interest because we see these products as losing their novelty.

Some companies do know how to do seasonal promotions really well. They set a stellar example for the rest of the American economy in how to run such a thing. Take McDonald’s for example. Last fall, McDonald’s announced the long-awaited return of the McRib for a “farewell tour” that would last for only three weeks at the beginning of November. This is the type of seasonal promotion that I like to see. McDonald’s made it clear that the McRib was available for an extremely short period of time. In addition to that, they advertised the campaign as the “farewell tour,” even though we all know it’s never really gone. This gave consumers a bigger sense of urgency to go get a McRib. It all comes down to making the product feel more special, and McDonalds has mastered that. Mega-corporations must look to McDonalds’ perfect execution of seasonal promotions as a model. Then, we can return to the good old days of novelty.

It’s time that corporate America looks at what makes the seasonal economy so powerful in this country. If we make seasonal promotions truly seasonal, then consumers will spend even more money.

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About the Contributors
Nolan Shen
Nolan Shen, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Nolan is a senior, entering his third year on staff. He is excited to be heading the Arts and Entertainment section this year. When not writing for CT, he can be found playing with the Marching Redhawks Drumline, performing in the Naperville Youth Symphony, eating too much McDonald’s, and watching bad sci-fi movies. Next year, he plans on going to college to study political science and hopefully not flunk out.
Adeline Tse
Adeline Tse, Staff Artist
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    Linda McShrawnSep 21, 2023 at 11:43 am

    Corporations couldn’t care less about your feelings, they care about money and how they can make more of it.