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Wednesday 27 December 2006

The consumerfest that is Christmas [Shedir]

Our family has had a really nice Christmas and boxing day, but how many others haven't because of this consumer culture? My wifey has a parttime job in a shop and worked on Christmas eve, shop was dead. The entire city centre was pretty much deserted.
But boxing day? Traditionally a day where money put in the church box was used to feed the local poor remember. *Sales* everywhere, now thats great for the buyers. But the poor folks who have to work on boxing day, how early do they have to stop enjoying themselves. AFAIK it's still down as a public holiday, not that its being adhered to.
I'm actually quite depressed by the whole thing now, we drove to visit a relative in a hospice yesterday and all along the main street easily two thirds of shops were open. Why can't we as a society just switch off for a couple of days?
There's still this rampant panic buying before Christmas, get loaves in the freezer in case they run out and so on. But now it's a one day holiday wheres the need for that sorta thing? New Year is heading the same way with happy Jack McConnel wanting to stop ne'er day being a public holiday, because the leftover tourists at Edinburghs hogmanay bash have nothing to do!
Money, money money. It's just shit frankly.
Then we have Cowell. Simon fucking Cowell. Who has bought that little piece of musical heritage that was the Xmas number one, but will for the lifetime of his franchise be the Xfactor number one.
What can compete with his grooming of the buying public for that individual song. No mothers collection of gifts for Christmas can be complete without that daft wee *FOUR QUID* single. I heard it shifted over half a million copies, not bad dosh for old Cowell.
I've no objection to people making money, far from it. But in 20 years are we're looking at Christmas compilation CD's or TOTP2 style look backs at Christmas....there'll be a long run of wannabes who's only real hit came at this time of year.
Bah humbug n all that.


  1. Totally agree with you m8ee and its not just Xmas - I was for Sunday opening when it was first proposed but now I bitterly regret it - as we all know the moment we get in our cars, Sunday is now just like any other day. If you want to see how Sundays used to be go to Paris - no shops open, everyone chilled, little traffic etc etc.
    I'm in Verbier at the moment. There are probably seven food supermarkets here - and all of them shut at 7pm. When we first started coming out a year ago I though this was crazy - why doesn’t at least one of them stay open longer?
    Of course the answer to that is then they then all would - with the adverse effect on the quality of life of their staff - but the main point is that after a year I realise it’s not a problem, like everyone else here I know they all shut at 7pm we plan our shopping accordingly!
    The saddest thing about the rampant consumerism in the UK is that as our "material wealth" increases our overall quality of life decreases. We are now 29th in the "best country to live in" surveys and that’s despite the wondrous delights of DVD recorders for less than £50 and £2.99 chickens in Tesco's. :-)

  2. I must say, I don't really get this. These folks work in retail and retail has always kept hours to suit the customer. What I find hilarious is the shop in the local village when you show up at lunch time and the fucker has an 'out to lunch' sign on the door. Hang on a moment, doesn't it stand to reason folks might nip out to the shops at lunch? Of course it does. Out of hours is the best time for retail to be open so ordinary working folk can get to the shops without having to perform some sort of nth-dimensional origami on their working hours.
    If we're looking to buy, then they're looking to sell. On holidays these folks, in low paying jobs you'll note, are working sure. They're also being paid extra for it and rightly so. Accordingly I just don't buy the argument that their quality of life is suffering. If they're not open, you get your stuff somewhere else. So you want to mandate that there's a day when no shops are open at all. Why? Just because you want a day with no cars on the road? Let's make Saturday even busier then, or wait, should we cancel Saturday too?
    Don't get me wrong, I'm kind of apalled by the rampant consumerism of Christmas as well. If you work in more or less any capacity of retail, marketing or basically the entire consumer chain, Christmas is the big season when fortunes are made. Then again, who really cares that it's Christmas as such, after all it's basically just a stolen pagan winter solstice celebration anyway. My attitude is that if you buy into all this shit, if you're actually buying Christmas shit in November then you're the reason these shops do what they do.
    I think people like an excuse, an event, to basically drive a celebration at this time of year whatever the reason. We as a society are disturbingly consumerist to a fault but you don't actually have to play the game unless you want to. Feeling sorry for the shop workers who are taking advantage of their biggest season in the year, well you might as well get the hump with farmers hiring staff to harvest their crops when they're ripe.

  3. Its not just having a day without tailbacks on all our major roads (which would be nice in itself ), its effectively having a day where perhaps we can help wean people away from consumerism because they would need to find something else to do - some non financially orientated community activity perhaps?
    I read another depressing statistic recently - most of the hordes on the roads on Sunday are actually just window shoppers - they don’t actually buy that much but just use this leisure time to go and look at things that presumably they would like to buy. Kill me now.
    I don’t think it’s the workers taking advantage - it’s the store owners. The workers then get effectively forced into working those hours. Have a word with our mate Doug about his wife who works at Debenhams - she had to do a twelve hour shift this Boxing Day - she will soon put you right on whether she feels she is taking advantage or being taken advantage of......
    Oh and it’s also a well known fact that agricultural workers are some of the worst paid employees in the country!