LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
29 November 2014
Dumb and Dumber...Sad and Sadder

It's the 'c' words: culture is now capitalistic corporate consumerism. Oh dear. I
forgot celebrity.

The world has gone mad for stuff. Loads of stuff. Any stuff. Endless stuff. Or
another 'c' word I know you will have guessed...crap. Seriously. How many
coffee makers, kitchen gadgets, tablets, whatever do you genuinely need? So
what are millions and millions of frenzied consumers stomping on other people to
buy? Seemingly TVs. Loads of TVs. Shoppers literally threw themselves on the
boxes to make their claim. Madness...pure madness.

Another 'c' word: cheerleaders. Oh for god's. I mean Christ's (get it?) sake. Girls
in underwear jumping up and down suggestively shaking shiny pompoms at
American owned Asda (by the evil Walmart). I must take a moment to
experience despair and despondency.

You may not know that tax-avoiders Amazon and Asda brought this extreme
sport to our shores in 2010, but it has taken participants four years to develop
their mob skills.

Skye News featured an American describing (in a sort of whispering voice -
rather than the usual shrill shouting) the frenzied chaos adding insult to injury
really.

In London queuing and politeness prevailed. No pushing, punching, shoving,
strangling. All 'after you'...'no, after you' behaviour.

Hmmm. Strange that people have been transformed into hysterical greedy gits
spending £300,000 a minute for  'up to' 10%, 20%, 30% off. Isn't that just normal
discounting? Yes it is.

Strange that parents buy masses of presents stacked up in their trollies - for
their children - with the children in tow. How does that work? "Oh look. Mummy's
bought me a pink Barbie doll house." "No. Santa's bought you a pink Barbie doll
house."  "But I can see it..."

It will last all weekend to be followed by Cyber Monday - the latest US addition to
massive materialism. Can't wait. So far one stabbing in US...with a box cutter...
ironic and ouch. No US deaths since 2008. A Walmart employee met his death
at the hands of a shopping mob. More like imminent Black Death than Black
Friday. Will Boxing Day be literal?

Police, arrests, stores closed, one woman was injured by a falling TV...another
TV was dropped on a  wheelchair-user...one woman suffered a broken wrist...a
security guard was punched...no surprise then....

The trampling hoards saved £60 on the TVs. And exactly how much had the
shops raised the price prior to the mayhem...and you know they did.

John Lewis reported that online traffic was up 307% compared with Black Friday
2013. Estimates are suggesting that £1.7bn will be spent over the coming days.
Oh just double that.

We are now facing another US holiday import. Really? Another? How is that
possible. Don't we have all of them already? Evidently not. Say "Happy
Thanksgiving" to all.

John Lewis owns Waitrose. You know, the very same which told us we wanted
Pippa to write for their monthly magazine. Clearly Waitrose failed to notice
boycotting customers who refused to be used and abused. Oh. Am I still thinking
about Black Friday? Oops.

Waitose told the
Guardian it estimates one in six Britons now celebrate the
American holiday and that the number just seems to be going up and up. Sales
of turkeys in November are up 95% on five years. One in six? Think about six
people you know and who in that six is celebrating a totally alien holiday? None.
10,000 million stuffed with stuffing? Really? More buy, buy, buy bullying.

“We take a lot of our food trend cues from America so it makes sense that we
would give Thanksgiving foods a try,” (we already eat turkey) says Jonathan
Moore, Waitrose Executive Chef. Chef? Oh you are having a laugh.

Food trends? Food? Really? GM, additives, antibiotics, artificial colouring,
preservatives, hormones... what's not to like? I know: the tiny marshmallows to
smother the mashed sweet potatoes (augh), the canned mushroom soup for the
green bean casserole (yuck), glutinous cranberry sauce (ew), chemically
enhanced egg nog (yummy) and the flags for the celebration of all and
everything American (no).

You must know what day is the fourth Thursday of the November. Of course. It's
now a major holiday celebrated in Britain. It's the celebration of the Pilgrims and
the Indians. You know about Pilgrims and Indians. Clearly a holiday established
before the Native Indians had their buffalo decimated, their land stolen and were
themselves massacred. Yeah! It's Britsgiving! Wave those flags, drape your
houses and whatever you do, don't forget to wear an American flag pin.

Best to be properly prepared; Independence Day is 4th of July. More flag-
waving to come. Yeah! And all that Waitrose food! I'm salivating at the very
thought....
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