Santa brought a gift for retailers, but not what you think


An interviewer asked a small child – a little girl of about 7 or 8 – how Santa managed to get all the presents delivered in one night.


Without a second thought, she lisped through her missing teeth ‘he useth hith magic powerth to time travel’.

As an adult, you realise that is ridiculous of course – and you can laugh at her answer. To her though, it is completely real.

She encountered a problem of logic. Her young mind is astute enough to realise that the world is a big place and getting around on one night was going to be difficult.

So, she rationalised. Maybe a parent helped her along by giving her the ‘solution’. Maybe she connected the dots by watching too many cartoons.

But she needed a reason and she manufactured one.

Retailers do the same thing. (We all do of course, it is human.)

  • We believe (in) certain things and then we seek justification for those beliefs.
  • We believe things about how customer s behave
  • We believe things about how employees should be treated
  • We believe things about the type of promotions that work and why they work.
  • We believe things about how products should be priced
  • We believe things about how the future will play out
  • We believe that people are a certain way
  • We believe retail success is achieved a certain way.

And we have reasons for these beliefs. And they are rational and make sense to us.

We forget that we have actively filtered out any contradicting evidence and only internalised the evidence that was congruent with our beliefs.

Just like the little girl who believes in Santa.

But we think because we are adults, we don’t believe things that are wrong. Obviously that would be irrational. We forget though that we only use selected facts to substantiate what we believe.

We all want to believe in Christmas - or whatever it is that you want to believe. And we have the facts to back it up.

Somewhere I can just hear God laughing.