clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The January Retail Season: Post-Holiday Self-Loathing Sales!

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for over two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.

Besties Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson were friends even before Weight Watchers. Look at them meeting for a sensible lunch!

Dear Slobs,

New Year, New You—right? Time to become perfect! Time to lose weight; look better; take better care of your skin; quit smoking; floss constantly; spend less; go green; exercise more; eliminate trans fats; reduce caffeine; reduce wine even more ? 2013 is your year. To change everything that is wrong about you. Which, apparently, is a lot.

Or haven't you noticed? Haven't you noticed that the retail machine has added a late-December/January Get-it-Together season to their roster of sales and promotions? Apparently post-holiday mark-downs and traditional white sales just aren't enough for retailers. Happy New Year.

I mean, this is not necessarily a new phenomenon, to be sure. But it's getting worse, right? It didn't used to be such a barrage of braying intimidation regarding things most of us are already intimidated by. It wasn't always so all-encompassing. For example: The email I just received from this LifeMart service my employer subscribes to offering discounts from New Balance, 24 Hour Fitness, Jillian Michaels, and Shape.

As if we aren't already fully aware of each and every one of our many faults and weaknesses. As if we're not already making new month and new week resolutions basically constantly. As if the gym wasn't insane-jam-packed the one time I've made it so far in 2013 (it's only the 4th, shut-up). Now we get heavy rotation general Weight Watchers ads featuring all their spokespeople at once—Jennifer Hudson wearing layers of Spanx talking about our "extra-large, extra cheese world;" Jessica Simpson standing in the bed of a pick-up wearing the heavyset uniform of the '80s: High-waisted jeans and a stretchy, supportive tank under an open woven shirt borrowed from Santa Claus.

And it's not just Weight Watchers. Nutrisystem is in overdrive, even going after men. Subway is running back-to-back commercials featuring all their spokes-athletes in quick succession. Lisa Kudrow praises Yoplait—now the only yogurt officially sanctioned by Weight Watchers. Special K won't shut the hell up about their new chocolate cereals. Really? And there's that commercial for that gym starring Fat Pants personified: A very round man in tight grey sweats and a "Fat Pants" sweatshirt that only covers the top 85 percent of his torso.

Of course, the Biggest Loser is back—for its 234th season. This time—alert your emotions and get inspired—it features families. Including obese, pre-diabetic children. It premiers Sunday on NBC: Get ready for a cavalcade of ads for water filters, healthy snacks, fitness chains, sugarless gum, and all the Jillian Michaels-branded fitness tools. Because she's back on the show and back in the fold.

If you manage to succeed with your watch-less-TV resolution and actually turn it off, you might go online and notice it's just as bad there. To wit: At noon today Gilt launched their "Rock the Resolution" sale. Saucony running sneakers, workout apparel, juicers, home gym necessities, skincare, bikes, "yoga essentials," even toy boxes to help keep the kiddies and their forced picking-up-after-themselves resolutions in check.

Meanwhile, on any number of Gilt City sites you'll find offers on cleanses, yoga classes, meal plans, exercise regimens—what have you. AmazonLocal Deals—at least in Brooklyn—has recently featured offers on frozen yogurt, teeth whitening, yoga seminars, and optical treatments. Same goes for Living Social and Zozi and the rest. Meanwhile, BluePrintCleanse—a brand recently featured on Fab and previously featured on Gilt—even offered discounts for groups looking to hop on the juice-cleanse bandwagon. Too bad that deal already ended; as did one beating everyone to the punch for cleanse discounts after Thanksgiving but before all the holiday parties (what a waste of a cleanse, frankly).

It's overwhelming and intimidating and I don't appreciate another call to retail action—let alone one rooted exclusively in my own insecurities. Not to mention: I'm still tapped out from buying myself a bunch of Christmas gifts.

I admit: It's all kind of making me want to do another juice fast, though. And try CrossFit.

· Love, Frank [Racked]