BOXING DAY SALES: COMPLETE AND UTTER MADNESS – Opening the emails to all the news feeds from the likes of Reuters and AP we normally expect the usual fair of political skulduggery, international conflicts, murder and general mayhem.
On the rare occasion we’re treated with news that spreads joy or captivates the imagination, but this morning was notably different.
Yes we had all the usual political madness and mayhem but the amount of news centering on the shopping habits of bargain hunters in this year’s Boxing Day Sales was nothing short of staggering.
At one point I actually thought the world had gone to sleep and that every human being from every nation on earth had descended upon London to snap up a bargain; we were waiting to read that Al Qaeda had taken the day off to go shopping; such was the extent of the news.
In one article by the Daily Mail, it took not one, not two but three journalists to collaborate on the chaos of the Boxing Day Sales and this might not come as a surprise when it’s being reported that over £3 billion was spent in a period of approximately 12 hours.
Take a look at the Daily Mail’s article (see here) and look carefully at all the photographs. There are very few where you get to see hordes of smiling faces; it’s as if what they are about to undertake is a matter of life or death in the fight with hordes of other shoppers to get their hands on the bargains that they need.
Let’s rewind a little… I just made a fatal flaw in my last assertion; I stated ‘bargains that they need’. The stark truth is that most of the bargain hunting has nothing to do with need but rather greed.
It’s pure and unadulterated want that drives most people to the sales and all in the name of having the ability to gloat to friends and family of the bargains they acquired.
I wonder how many of the shoes, handbags, hats, scarves, coats and vast plethora of other goods people picked up in the Boxing Day Sales will ever really get used… I suspect most will be quickly relegated to the darker regions of the closet along with last year’s bargains that will ultimately be destined for the charity shop.
This year I decided I wouldn’t do a stick of Christmas shopping; my partner decided on the same. We looked at what we had and quickly realised there was nothing that either of us needed.
Sure we both had desires for things we wanted but we determined that it simply wasn’t worth getting into debt for and so decided Christmas would be void of any presents. You might think that we had a miserable time of it but in fact we dragged out the odd board game with a couple of nice bottles of wine and had a ball.
We didn’t skimp on the dinner either and in fact due to the lack of presents we found we could afford a couple of luxuries at the dinner table – it was once of the most peaceful and sublime Christmas Day’s we had ever spent and it’s likely we’ll be doing the same again next year.
It has already been acknowledged that the British public spent billions of pounds this Christmas on presents for friends and family and most of what was spent went on the credit cards.
During the Boxing Day Sales the purchases once again reflected the British habit of whipping out and swiping the credit cards and I now wonder whether the interest being accrued on the credit cards will actually amount to most getting the bargains they so desperately queued for.
I would estimate that a very small percentage of the British public will be paying off their credit card debts in full come payment day and therefore the interest will continue to mount which negates the initial purpose to seeking out and acquiring a bargain.
Yes I know its Christmas and I shouldn’t be such an old Scrooge but the truth is the British public are not only deluding themselves into getting a bargain, they are also refusing to acknowledging the accumulated debt.
I stared for over an hour at the Daily Mail’s article and all the pictures wondering where the happiness was; for despite our misconceptions it does not come in a box with brightly coloured wrapping paper and a pretty bow but rather from being content with what you have and more importantly those around you.