The Holiday Challenge
When allied with old-fashioned sense, technology can help us get closer with our customers
By Lois Geller
I don't know about tradition any more. Oh sure, I still love it, particularly at this time of year. I love the music, the classic carols and songs like Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song" and Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock." But lately I seem to be more in tune with a line from Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." She sings about the traditional, "sentimental feeling," but makes it clear how cool she really is by crooning "in the new, old-fashioned way."
The old, old-fashioned way sounds nice, but then I think of my mother, the original multitasker. When I was a little girl, she'd whirl around the house during the holidays at warp speed: cooking dinner, hosting guests, sewing, cleaning, shampooing carpets, negotiating with and checking up on a never-ending stream of tradesmen, and doing the laundry down in the basement using something called a mangle.
Lots of things were like that: repetitious, never-ending, boring, hard, amazingly laborious. Oddly, people seemed to whine less often back then.
Today, we find ourselves the grateful beneficiaries of modern science. But here's the puzzle: How come my mom had more spare time than I do?
If it wasn't for the Internet, I could never come close to the old-fashioned way of celebrating the holidays. I can do things online that my mom couldn't even dream about while she risked life and limb on housecleaning. I do them in the middle of the night, because I have no time to do them during the day or early evening.
If not for the Internet, I'd be going barefoot. Last week a strap on my favorite sandals suddenly ripped loose from the sole. Later that night, after I'd made dinner, fed my cats, cleaned the litter box, answered a dozen voicemail messages, paid my bills, and washed the dishes, I finally logged on the Internet, ordered another pair of sandals and FedEx rushed them to me in a couple days. My Mom would have just whirled on down to the shoe store.