A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Christmas Shopping Tales

The run up to Christmas was rather different this year. For once we got some snow, at least in Solihull we did. Then there was the rather depressed feel about it all. Everyone seemed to be on the look out for bargains. I overheard a young woman say to her partner, "I don't find it very Christmassy, what with all the sales on!" I thought for a second, looked around and the very first shop I spotted declared that they offered "0% Finance" with the poster virtually covering the window. Then I saw it's next door neighbour with a vast SALE poster in brilliant red letters. That was one of many "overheards" that day.

Christmas shopping has always been relatively stressful. Not because it's unpleasant to do or anything, just that "the world and his wife" are out, as my father often used to say. What sort of world and and what sort of wife I cannot really say, except that one particular person caused an outrage in the pound shop. Breaking wind whilst trying to grab a bargain is not on my list. Someone had dealt a low one indeed. It hung around the back of the shop. Customers were eager to give a look as if to say "that's not mine, you know!". I felt a dash for the door was called for but thought a measured exit more preferable. With all the shelves having been ransacked, merchandise was on the floor. I had visions of the paramedics bending over me. "Broke 'is neck rushin' out of the shop, apparently". "I was trying to avoid the fart!", I opine gently. With my daydreams intact, I wandered off into Mel Square.

The German Market was on. Looked very festive and it was indeed a very joyful sight. There was a beer garden and lots of little stalls decked out like German alpine cabins. Trouble was, I thought at least, there were no Germans there. You can't have a German market without Germans. Brummies don't quite make up for that much of a difference. I had visions of Basil Fawlty. "Don't mention Aston Villa. I did, but I think I got away with it!"

As usual each shop visit was greeted with an enterprisingly eager young assistant. "Need any help, mate?" Mate is now officially in every retailer's training programme. "Now, Colin - when a customer enters the store what do we say?" "Need any help, mate?". "Splendid!" I ventured into one store and got two young men saying almost the same thing followed a few minutes later by a young woman using the "mate" terminology. Does anybody today stand their ground like my uncle used to do. I imagine he'd be arrested today for gross political incorrectness.

The Wednesday evening, 23rd December, found me in Tesco. It was 9.30 at night but it could have been anytime during the day. It was packed solid. People had picked the largest shopping trollies possible to push around and into each other. I only went in for a few things. I must get the hang of this better next year. As I pondered the selection in the confectionery displays I heard a male voice speaking loudly. "She said I had a big nose?", he enquired in a rather tetchy manner. It was another mobile phone user on autopilot. "She's no right to say that. She's just stirring it". I tried turning round, my curiosity needed assuaging. But there was a trolley pinning me to the shelving. By the time I did turn round he was gone. Big nose or not, I will never know. I eventually got out of Tesco, having queued up for the self-service scanner (warning those in front of queue-jumpers).

Christmas was good for us this year and still is. After all there are twelve days of Christmas, although in this secular age it's more important to bother about the 120 days before Christmas. I hope the New Year brings us all some prosperity and happiness. My goodness, the world needs more of that!


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