Rocks Off, like the rest of you, hasn't finished all of our holiday shopping. Every Christmas, we tell ourselves that we'll begin earlier next year, but it never quite pans out the way we want it to. Ain't that feeling all too familiar?
While we braved the crowds at the Galleria yesterday, we realized that not too many stores were playing Christmas music. No "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Jingle Bells," "Deck the Halls" or even A Beach Boys Christmas. We were amazed.
Don't get us wrong; it's not that we wanted to hear them - some people would even pay not to hear "The Little Drummer Boy" ever again - but Rocks Off was surprised to hear so few stores playing holiday music.
The GAP wasn't playing Christmas tunes, neither was Steve Madden, the Oakley store or Urban Outfitters - though we half expected to hear a reinterpretation of "Frosty the Snowman" by the Black Keys when we walked in. Which, now that we think about it, would be awesome.
One Steve Madden salesperson, who preferred we not use her name, told us the store only plays what corporate sends them.
"I assume it's because not everyone's religious," she said. "So, if we did play [Christmas music], we'd probably get a lot of complaints."
This was the same story at Urban Outfitters.
"We play a lot of Kanye," employee Brianna said with a laugh. "That's our Christmas."
Urban, too, only plays music sent to the store by corporate, and the mix didn't include any festive songs.
But some stores were playing new and old Christmas jingles, and many of the employees didn't seem to mind.
"It's sort of like in a horror movie," Fossil employee Joseph said. "If you turn off the music, it's not as scary anymore. It's a subconscious thing. I think most of the time, customers don't actually listen to it, and they don't actually mind it, but without them knowing it, it puts them in the mood to shop."
But when we asked the ladies at Baker's Shoes if they enjoyed the music, all three of them became wide-eyed and voiced a resounding 'No.'
"It seems like they play the same ten songs over and over again," said one, who asked to remain nameless. "By the time I get home, I can't get them out of my head."
Baker's usually plays a mixture of R&B, hip hop and rock, the women told us, so even its Christmas-y store songs are progressive, but the jingles were still as catchy as ever, and customers were feeling the holiday cheer.
"Some guy poked his head in here earlier, screamed, 'Merry Christmas!!' and ran out," one said," but no one else really says anything [about it]."
The music, they told us, plays through the store until after New Year's. Rocks Off has never worked retail, but God bless those who do. Their levels of patience are far superior to ours.
At ALDO, another store playing Christmas music, employee Meghan told us that while not every customer was receptive to the music, she was actually quite fond of it.
"Usually, the music we play is funky, but this doesn't bother me at all," she said. "I like it a lot, actually. It gets me in the spirit."
As we walked back to our car, we trekked through Nordstrom's, which seemed to be the only store with any traditional Christmas cheer: A piano player at the foot of the escalators was serenading the store with holiday jingles.
Rocks Off may have been the only one who noticed.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.