Wor­ry­ing af­fil­i­a­tion with South Amer­i­can par­rot

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION - Ev­ery week BAR­BARA FISHER looks at is­sues that af­fect us all – the is­sues that get you talk­ing. You can join in by email­ing bmail­bar­bara@gmail.com

HOW’S the Christ­mas present buy­ing go­ing? I must con­fess I am feel­ing a bit dis­loyal about us­ing on­line ser­vices for many of my gifts this year when I know the shops and their staff are ready and primed for my cus­tom.

That was un­til I saw the me­dia images of so-called Black Fri­day.

I don’t know what was most disturbing about this: the mass hys­te­ria of the shop­pers or the sly ma­noeu­vring of the com­pa­nies that en­ticed peo­ple to join in th­ese mass scrums. Whip­ping shop­pers into a frenzy over chil­dren’s toys is cyn­i­cal to say the least, but the ob­ses­sion with con­sumerism by so-called grown-ups is equally as bad.

In other parts of the world we see mobs fight­ing for democ­racy, while here – and in Amer­ica, where it all started – we sprawl and brawl for flat-screen TVs.

Then there’s Ama­zon, the gi­ant in­ter­net pres­ence named after a myth­i­cal race of fe­male war­riors. Or a breed of par­rot in South Amer­ica.

Once only the pur­veyor of books and mu­sic, it will now de­liver almost ev­ery­thing to your door. My pur­chases in the past 12 months have in­cluded 200 manilla fold­ers for fil­ing – I only wanted a dozen but it was a snip – a length of muslin for a head- dress to go with a me­dieval fancy dress cos­tume, and a por­ta­ble loo for Mr F (an aborted plan to go camp­ing).

And yes, I have used Ama­zon for some of my gifts but, know­ing about their tax ar­range­ments, I or­dered with a heavy heart.

Should I have made a prin­ci­pled stand? Are those of us who use Ama­zon as self­ish as the shop­pers who punch and kick their way to the bar­gains?

I could never shop on­line ex­clu­sively. Apart from think­ing we should support lo­cal traders and our gi­ant chain stores when we can, I don’t think you can beat the twin­kle of the shops, the sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ences of bak­eries and per­fume shops, and Noddy Holder blar­ing out ‘It’s Christ­maaaaaas…’

And they haven’t yet in­vented on­line cof­fee bars. Tired, after trekking round a buzzing shop­ping cen­tre, there’s noth­ing bet­ter than col­laps­ing in one of th­ese lit­tle havens, where peo­ple are chill­ing rather than punch­ing each other’s lights out. How­ever, I do try to choose one that pays its taxes in a way I ap­prove of.

Some­times you have to make a stand.

Catch up at www.getwest­lon­don. co.uk/au­thors/bar­bara-fisher/

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