I was in Wal-Mart over the weekend buying some soap.
I'm picky about the scent of soap we use in the house. Maggie alerts me when we're low on the stuff, and I go pick up a few bars, usually of Dial soap because it always economical and I like the scent. I like to get two different scents of soap, and alternate them; when one runs out in the shower I'd rather switch scents to the other one. I think the reason why is obvious, and if other people don't do this I really can't imagine why not.
I'm even more particular about the scent of hand soap. I hate a lot of the cloying floral scents, and vaguely-melon scented antibacterial soaps out there. And once they're on your hands, you have to smell them for hours. Why not a hand soap that just smells like soap?
But I digress.
I was in Wal-Mart and suddenly I had an oddly Christmasy feeling. And since I was in a retail store, it naturally translated to a feeling like I was shopping for Christmas. But I wasn't; I was buying soap.
It didn't take long for me to realize where the feeling was coming from. The piped in music I was listening to over the store's speakers sounded somewhat Celtic; I could hear a fiddle and some sort of flute. And the tune was familiar. It was "Deck the Halls!" I could have sworn it was, up until the last few notes of a phrase. The tune was sufficiently altered so that it really was not "Deck the Halls" and you couldn't have sung "Deck the Halls" to it, because it kept veering off. But it was very odd once I noticed it. I immediately wondered whether it was intentional.
Did they think that I would do Christmas shopping if I started thinking along those lines while in their store, and was this a subtle attempt to put Christmas on my mind? It's not too far-fetched.
Why not just play Christmas tunes? I imagine that if they were to play the actual "Deck the Halls" they would get complaints. People are increasingly sensitive about efforts to push the shopping season closer and closer to Halloween. Safer to just evoke "Deck the Halls." Composers for TV shows often craft mutated versions of a recognizable theme to play as a parody when they don't have the rights to the original. People get the joke because they can still hear the similarity, though they know it's not the same tune.
The next song came on, and it wasn't any recognizable Christmas tune. Not even a mutated version. I dismissed my conspiracy theory as my own active imagination, then I headed for the checkout.
After checking out, I gathered my soap and headed for the door. Before I escaped, a new tune floated to my ears on the sound of horns. It was, without a doubt, a craftily modified version of "The Little Drummer Boy." The conspiracy lives!