Yesterday was no ordinary, bleak, back-to-work Monday.
It was Cyber Monday, the day a vast swathe of bargain hunters were supposed to be descending on online high-streets to Christmas shop til their index finger-joints seized up, even though December 25 is a whole month away.
Wouldn’t you know it, Cyber Monday has come from The States. Don’t they invent everything? Americans must be kicking themselves for not having had the foresight to create Christmas itself a few thousand years ago.
All those marketing opportunities, missed. They could have stuck a Mattel copyright on Baby Jesus and had the Wise Men presenting footspas, cupcake-makers and anything by Remington to the fingerless-gloved Madonna by the manger.
US retailers geared up having noticed people rushing online to start their Christmas shopping the minute Thanksgiving ended.
Here, we have a different reason to be doing it so early. Last year, nature got its own back on the techno clever-clogs. It proved its might by throwing us back to the Dark Ages. We can do anything at the touch of a button these days; send a car to Mars even. But we can’t get out and about in snow and internet gifts simply sat on ice in warehouses.
I’m not a computer-phobic ignoramous; I am not like my mother, who is terrified the internet is some huge, convoluted con to plunder your bank account and send all your savings to some shyster in Nigeria.
I do shop online, usually when I get an email alert about a discount. I can’t not log on and have a look. I agree it has its good points. Mostly the arrival of the parcels. Even though I’ve paid for the ruddy things, it still feels like someone has sent me presents.
But most of it, I detest. Like all those faffy passwords you’ve got to remember; all the twiddly little forms to fill in. Having to pay for delivery, only to have to trek to some depot on a far-flung trading estate on Saturday before noon to collect what the delivery driver didn’t leave in the porch, as instructed. And all the time wondering if it’s MY parcel I’m queuing for.
I live in a block of apartments, see; many’s the time we get one of those ‘We came, but you weren’t in’ cards - without a clue as to which of the 12 flats it’s for.
Invariably, I’m at the Post Office the next day, forking out for the return postage. Considering the dosh internet retailers must save on rent, I really begrudge it.
Choice? Everyone talks about the Internet widening your shopping arena. Not me. It hems me in. You go to one website, trawl around, then realise your eyes are going fuzzy because an hour’s passed. You’re too tired to go to another ‘store’, so you just click on pay and have done. Is that really what Christmas shopping is about?
I like the effort of ‘reality shopping’. Of trekking shop to shop, looking for ideas, feeling the quality, minding the width.
Ladening down the man sulking in my wake with the carrier bags.
Plus when it’s your feet, not your typing finger, that ache you know you’ve got a few hundred calories banked for Christmas Day.