Shoppers Drug Mart hits mute on Christmas music — for now

Matt Coutts
Daily Brew

Here comes Christmas, round the bend. It's Santa and his reindeer friends.

The cringe-inducing sounds of Christmas jingles in early November will be absent from Shoppers Drug Mart stores across Canada, after the company bent to public pressure and cut down how early they began playing holiday music.

Now, before you rage against the company for cancelling Christmas for the sake of political correctness, this is not another so-called Holiday Tree.

Shoppers Drug Mart isn't abandoning Christmas to promote multiculturalism — there's no money in that — they are cutting down the length of time they play Christmas carols because it was driving people crazy.

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On its Facebook page, Shoppers Drug Mart wrote:

Hi everyone, due to recent complaints around the Christmas music being played in stores we want to advise you that as of midnight EST tonight, all Christmas music will be suspended until further notice. We do take customer feedback to heart, and it does lead to change. Thank you for your patience around this and have a fabulous Friday.

A spokesperson told the Toronto Star that they usually launch directly into Christmas season after Halloween decorations are cleared out. But they found that many customers felt it should be delayed by a couple weeks.

The decision has been fiercely debated online. Nearly 6,000 comments were posted to the company's Facebook page over the weekend, evenly split between Jingle Bell lovers and loathers.

"Well done Shopper's Drug Mart! Thank you for listening to customer's feedback. Your employees probably are thanking you too — having to listen to Christmas music for 2 months is just too long," one commenter wrote on Sunday.

Another wrote, "Thank you for shutting down the Christmas music! Nov. 1st was a tad too much. I mean, really, it isn't necessary for two months. One is more than enough!"

Others felt the decision was wrong, seeing it as a sign of politically correctness gone astray.

"I think this is appalling! I shop at SDM all of the time and am now reconsidering doing so. Christmas should not be swept aside by anyone I am tired of Christmas being pushed aside as not politically correct. How can a Canadian company like SDM cave so easily? Shame on you!"

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Interestingly, and perhaps a sign that humanity still has a fighting chance, many comments stressed the need to give Remembrance Day its due and suggested shelving the Christmas decorations and music until after November 11 to ensure Canadian war veterans get their day of appreciation.

"The Respect for those Veterans during Veteran's week and Remembrance day should not have to be in competition with Rudolph and Frosty," one commenter wrote. "I'm sure Santa won't mind waiting another week to be serenaded by Jingle Bells … Thank you SDM for taking your Customers Feedback to heart."

As far as social media campaigns go, this one can be considered a win. But it might just be a bigger win for the mental health of Shoppers Drug Mart employees.