Photo: Unhindered by Talent, Flickr
For those of you who put off shopping for gifts until the last minute, beware: the one fallback option that you thought you could always count on is in trouble.
Yes, Harry & David is filing for bankruptcy. The mail-order giant purveys an (odd, when you think about it) mélange of perfectly picked pears, chocolate bonbons and assorted other goodies. They always come neatly nestled in a veritable mountain of tissue paper and excelsior and are packed in such an elaborate arrangement of boxes, baskets and bows that the trappings easily overwhelm the recipient into thinking that you far spent more time and effort on the gift than you actually did.
Stumped on what to get your great aunt in Toledo for her 76th birthday? How about the All-Occasion Double Delights Discovery gift box? What about the neighbor who trudged through the snow to feed your cats while you were cavorting in Cabo? Hello, All-Occasion Gift Basket!
But the company is in trouble.
We're constantly strapped for time and our social relationships form an ever more complex but tenuous web, yet we live in a material culture that persists in equating thoughtfulness with something you can actually unwrap. (Face it, have you ever received an "e-card" that made you feel all warm and cared for?)
It would seem the perfect culture, then, for a company who specializes in marrying the point-and-click ease of gift-giving with gifts that actually look like gifts--even if the price of that kind of relief and convenience is a lifetime supply of Harry & David catalogues in your mailbox.
But alas, as CNN reports, the venerable mail-order house that has (somewhat) delighted generations of bewildered gift-recipients with annual enrollment in their Fruit of the Month Club is filing for Chapter 11. The company plans to keep operating, however, as it reorganizes.
You just better hope they get their act together by next Christmas.