Saturday, December 27, 2008

Why I go to the sales so you don't have to.

The French philosopher Jean Baudrillard wrote a book called The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, arguing that the first Gulf War was such a televised, unreal experience to us in the West that it could almost have been concocted with CGI graphics and a few actors. (See Wiki for more)

I feel a bit like that regarding the Credit Crisis.

I mean, a thousand apologises if you're already redundant or a Woolworths employee but the rest of us are just looking at you through the window. It doesn't feel entirely real. I hear about it on the news, but my life at least, carries on as normal. I watched the pennies before, I watch em now.

But isn't the Credit Crunch a little ummm unreal sometimes? Hard to get your head round... Stocks and shares and banks owing trillions. Who can twist that into anything more than ... fear, dread and a sense that you're not clever enough to make proper sense of it all.

Like seems a little bit like it must have been at the the start of a big World War - like in 1940 - where there's some really bad stuff going on abroad, but other than the fact that the government and the papers keep telling us how bad it is, we won't start feeling it till the actual bombs start dropping in our own backyards. We get our own redundancy notice...

If you're a college kid or a public service worker, it's made no difference, you don't even have the dread thought of redundancy on your mind. You'll have to wait till the next Tory chancellor starts cutting public services to balance the books before teachers and nurses start feeling the pinch. And that's gonna be a couple of years yet.

It might actually seem like a good time cos shops are selling stuff cheap. And Mortgage interest rates have gone down, house prices falling are a good thing for those that are thinking of buying their first home. Provided they can get a mortgage off the bankrupt banks of course. And yeah fuel bills have gone up, but now petrol's come back down.

It's all swings, roundabouts and a complex economic playing field that no one really understands.

But people are out shopping in the sales. And I doubt it's due to the daft VAT cut - if a shirt is now on sale for £37.65 I'm not gonna buy it any more than I would if it was £39. If it's nice, you'll buy it, if it's not. £1something saved isn't going to make much of a difference.

So why are people out shopping?

There's reason number one: everyone likes a bargain - and we've been told how cheap the sales are gonna be - so no one was gonna buy a new telly before the sales - you'd have to be daft. Now is the time to pounce and take advantage of the vulnerable, terrified retailers.

There's reason two: eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we will all burn in a credit crunch apocalypse. Spend it while you've got it etc. And why not.

There's reason number three: it's tradition! It's what we do. A nation of shopkeepers needs a nation of shoppers. It's our civic duty to buy. Hurrah! (I ran out of reasons there, but thought I should include a third. I'm not sure there's always a need for logic...)

Personally I was looking for a new pair of trainers for playing out in. Or whatever the grown-up equivalent of playing out is. I went in my favourite old sports shop - StreetSports - or something - it's cheap, it's closing down, it didn't have what I wanted. It used to be criminally cheap, now it was just full of young criminals trying to pocket the unsold stock. It was more post-apocalyptic than post-credit crunch in there.

So I left that trainer idea and bought random items that I don't need (see photos) gold trousers, green golfing jumper, lovely bright trainers, pink jeans, orange cardy................... ok, I didn't. I didn't buy gold trousers, I bought the silver ones instead. I went a little insane in a couple of shops cos it was ludicrously cheap, but mostly the sales stock was pretty crap.

The colours in this year's menswear sales: purple, orange, pink, silver, gold. Not a good luck all told. You wonder who was deciding that men were going to want to wear these colours when they were ordering the stock back in August.

"Men are definitely going to get into colour this season. Orange and gold are going to be big."

Ummm. Possibly it didn't happen. The new rave & new golf look hasn't really taken on in the way that they hoped, obviously. Men are pretty conservative generally. Sheep like. They'll wear any colour of football shirt (provided it's their team) but orange cardigans are less likely to sell. I could have told them that.

Personally, I like orange as a colour. Which is why I got some great bargains today. Yip yips. I'm gonna look lovely out on the golf course. Now I just need to learn to play golf...


  1. Actually our life is pretty much exactly (financial doom mongery-ally) like it would have been just before the first world war. Should, say, America go to war with China, we would be utterly ****ed. If they don't, then we're just in deep trouble.

    It's impossible to understand, because it doesn't make sense. One day *we* were rich and buying our 8 bathroomed house and then the next we were skint and told that *we* should save money and grow our own tomatoes. There was never an explanation, or a reason for "why" it just "was".

    The sales started 3 weeks ago. Everyone just started looking today. I don't get that.

    I am too tired to write clever things. Stuff. Thoughts. Whatsits.

  2. Mr Boy

    Although Christmas has now passed, it is imperative that you blog some more.


    P. By