Worrying affiliation with South American parrot
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.
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