Irony lost on shop­pers

Townsville Bulletin - - Letters Extra -

IRONY: the use of words to ex­press some­thing dif­fer­ent from and of­ten op­po­site to their lit­eral mean­ing.This term seems to have been more and more ap­pli­ca­ble over the past few months.

We’re told the in­ter­est rates rise is a ne­ces­sity as a way to ‘curb con­sumer spend­ing and bor­row­ing to keep in­fla­tion un­der con­trol’ ( The Aus­tralian Au­gust 2).

We then have our shop­ping cen­tres open for 24 hours straight at the one time of year when peo­ple are most likely to go into last minute, im­pulse­buy­ing debt.Ironic?

At a time when child­hood obe­sity and di­a­betes are at their high­est ever, we’re forced to have both par­ents in full-time work, spend­ing less time with their fam­i­lies due to the ever-ris­ing cost of liv­ing.

Not to men­tion all those peo­ple who are be­ing forced to work more hours so that we can in­crease the coun­try’s credit card debt.

Ap­par­ently this causes home loan rates to rise, which in a vi­cious cy­cle, sends the par­ents back out to work longer hours and forces busi­ness to be open longer!

It is ironic, when Peter Costello says we should all have three chil­dren.‘‘One for you, one for your hus­band and one for the coun­try.’’

We still have lim­ited and ex­pen­sive child­care places and hous­ing prices are in­creas­ing, which makes it al­most im­pos­si­ble for a fam­ily to pur­chase a house.And if you’re for­tu­nate enough to own a home to raise your ‘one for the coun­try’ child in, at the rate in­ter­est rates are in­creas­ing and the cost of child care, you’ll soon be sell­ing that house be­cause you can’t af­ford the loan, let alone buy fuel.

We have private schools get­ting more fund­ing than pub­lic schools, which means if you want a good ed­u­ca­tion for your kids, you need to see less of them again so that you can work and pay for the fees.Is that ironic?

I’ve just been through yet an­other re­tail Christ­mas with cus­tomers rush­ing, pres­sured and over­spend­ing.

Kids of all ages roam­ing the shop­ping cen­tre halls at all times of the day and night with­out par­ents and credit card spend­ing like I don’t re­mem­ber see­ing in my many other Christ­mas trades.

Why is it that we sud­denly need 24-hour re­tail­ing? Why are we open un­til 5pm on Christ­mas Eve?

I s it be­cause we’re spend­ing ex­ces­sively and are forced to work longer hours to cover our debt?

Which means we have less time to do any­thing else other than work, and there­fore need stores open longer to do what we used to do by 5:30pm week­days and by 1pm on Satur­days?

And if so, then isn’t the an­swer to ac­tu­ally re­duce shop­ping hours, there­fore re­duce debt con­sumers can rack up, which will de­crease their bills and mean they can work fewer hours to ser­vice their debt?

Would this not also curb con­sumer spend­ing and bor­row­ing so that there is less like­li­hood of an in­fla­tion is­sue, there­fore leav­ing home loan in­ter­est rates as they are?

Is spend­ing re­ally the way out of our cur­rent sit­u­a­tion?

Or should we be ‘spend­ing’ more time vol­un­teer­ing at our pub­lic schools so our kids are not only get­ting more qual­ity time with the lead­ers of so­ci­ety and their par­ents, but also get­ting a bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion.

With vol­un­teers do­ing some of the work we can spend more of the lim­ited funds on other projects.

Per­haps we could spend less time shop­ping and more time tak­ing the kids to the park on Christ­mas Eve.

Or heaven for­bid, do­ing some char­ity work to aid those less for­tu­nate.

Wouldn’t it be won­der­ful if next year your kids told you what they were ‘do­ing’ for Christ­mas in­stead of what they were ‘get­ting’?

Wouldn’t you like to be at home Christ­mas Eve with your chil­dren in­stead of be­ing at work?

And for those of you who are at home and will say ‘But I l i ke shop­ping Christ­mas Eve’, don’t you think that the rest of us de­serve those days off too?

Is life re­ally so dull at home with your fam­ily that you’d rather be bat­tling crowds at Stock­land?

Let’s all make Christ­mas next year a fam­ily af­fair. JEN­NIFER GRUBBA,


LEFT: Ex­tended trad­ing hours take their toll on both shop­pers and staff

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