My God, I hate sales. I hate shopping in general really, but that hideous experience is compounded tenfold when there are sales on. The world and its mother can’t resist getting their grubby little mitts on anything that has a few pennies slashed off it. I tend to avoid these clusterfucks at all costs, but sometimes, you have no choice but to engage. A few days after Christmas I informed my parents to get some bail money ready: I was going to the sales.
All I needed was a camera, a 2011 diary and a birthday present for Mama Bangs, who had the nerve to be born on December 29th (look, all you people who were born around Christmas, enough already. Doctor your birth certificate and move that shit to June – it really makes things much easier for the rest of us). I had a plan of action, that I planned out with military precision and would not be swayed from.
I’d seen pictures in the paper of hoards of people who queued overnight to get into the Selfridges sale. You can file that under ‘Things You’ll Never Catch Me Doing.’ There was video online a few weeks ago of the Black Friday sales in the States where people literally trampled over one another to get into a Walmart, then had fist fights over a microwave. What a bunch of simpletons.
I stepped off the bus into a foggy city centre that looked like the apocalypse. People, like rats, everywhere, with bags hanging from every available appendage, darting around from shop to shop, barging, pushing, yelling. I weaved through the hoards, found my way to PC World and located the camera I wanted. Why is it that in electronics shops, when you’re just browsing, there’s a sales assistant all the way up your ass expounding the benefits of any given product, but when you actually want to buy something, you have to go on a witch hunt to find one? When I finally hunted one down, my purchase took over ten minutes just due to the heightened madness that a sale brings.
On to WH Smith for a diary and birthday card. Parents with pushchairs the size of Land Rovers take charge of the streets and give death stares to anyone who dare get in their way. WH Smith is hell on earth, full of grannies stocking up on half price Christmas cards for next year. It took me an age for me to find anything, then the queue to pay was several lifetimes long. My goods are rung up and I open my purse only to discover that PC World guy forgot to give me my card back. I shake an angry fist as the sky and curse electronics stores the world over before charging back to the shop to retrieve my card.
Barely two shops in and I was completely zapped of energy. I stopped for a moment to just take in what was going on. As I watched people shove each other out of the way, laden with bags, shops with clothes crammed on every inch of available rail, spilling over onto the floor as people trampled over them, I suddenly felt quite sick. What a disgusting display of our greed this all is. At a time of year where we’re given time off to spend with our families to enjoy the season, we’re all out there making mindless purchases of things we most likely don’t need or even want but feel smug about nonetheless because we saved £2.
And with that, I got back on the bus and got the hell outta dodge.