I realized this weekend that the wall calendar is soon to go the way of the phone book.
In previous years, while I was out Christmas shopping, I was constantly coming across racks of wall calendars for the following year. There would be scores of different calendar designs at some places. And most years I would see one that leapt off the shelf at me, “Oh, I have to give this one to Michael!”
Some years we each gave the other multiple wall calendars. Which was fine. We need them in multiple locations in the house. At a minimum, one upstairs and one down. And I have always had one at work. At work I also always have a year-at-glance style calendar. While the latter technically makes the former redundant, I use them for slightly different ways of thinking.
Plus, I like having some interesting art or a photograph to look at that changes every now and then.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still wall calendars for sale in stores. But this year I noticed that the displays were far smaller and less varied. It’s always been the case that the variety of cute kitten or puppy calendars outnumbered everything else, combined. And lame landscape photo collections came in a close third.
But this year, those were the only ones I ever found!
So I didn’t buy any before Christmas. And when I realized that the only 2013 wall calendar either of us had was the Brony calendar several of our friends did art for, I went looking specifically for a good downstairs calendar for the house and one for my cube at work.
It’s not just that there wasn’t ones that appealed to me–a lot of places that I could previously count on to be selling slightly discounted calendars for a couple months after New Years didn’t have any calendars in stock at all.
I did see a couple at the FedEx store, of all places, that would have been acceptable. I probably should have grabbed them, but that would have meant getting in the checkout line after we’d finished our shipping business, and we were on a schedule.
And it’s also true that I far more often consult the calendar app on my phone (which automatically synchronizes with my calendar app on my laptop), so I don’t really need a hard copy calendar hanging on the wall. It is slightly convenient having the hard copy, but it has more to do with habit than need.
I don’t think that demand is going down nearly as fast as the practical obsolescence of the phone book. I suspect the lack of selection in brick and mortar stores is as much to do with online shopping as more and more of us using calendar apps. The wall calendars that physical stores will carry are going to fall into the categories of things that people will buy on impulse or out of desperation because they don’t know what else to buy Aunt Martha.
It only took me two minutes online to find a couple of calendars I liked and order them. So I’m contributing to that part of the process.
Not that it’s a bad thing. I just need to learn some new habits.
And we all know how easy and fun that always is, right?