Belfast Telegraph

Why you won’t find me among the sales rails!


QUICK! There's only 364 shopping days left until Christmas. And there's plenty of great bargains to be had today - so get yourself out to the shops pronto.

Surely you haven't had enough of the retail frenzy of the last few weeks? Surely, there's nothing you'd enjoy more than getting up in the middle of the night on your holidays to go shopping yet again?

I really hope you can sense the sarcasm dripping over my words, because there's nothing I despise more than Boxing Day sales. If I was a dictator, they're the first thing I would ban.

Is there anything more depressing than traipsing around bunged shops after you've done nothing but in recent times?

The first thing that really annoys me about the annual shopping madness of today is the television ads on Christmas Day. Nothing says the festivities are over quite like the break in the middle of Downtown Abbey screaming at you about a cut-price sofa. It's up there with a cold turkey sandwich.

Then there's the fact that many of the sales start in the middle of the night. Why, oh why, oh why, would you get up on a cold and dark morning and stand in a queue outside a shop? I wouldn't mind if you were getting something decent, but chances are you're queuing at 4am to stampede around a shop, like a manic contestant in Supermarket Sweep, picking up items you'd never normally wear and which probably don't fit anyway. In my experience, you need the skills of a bloodhound to find something actually worth buying, even if it is cheap.

And chances are, you'll be in the stampede along with a seasoned bargain-hunter who won't think twice about taking you out with a sharp elbow in their quest for a coat.

Then there are the maniacs who queue all night, sometimes over Christmas Day, to get their hands on a massive television. I don't care how much you're saving, sitting out in the wind and rain for a cheap box is beyond ridiculous. I'd rather do without one.

I hate sales of all description. Not because I'm a millionaire (which alas, I'm not) or don't like a bargain. I just refuse to get caught up in the complete derangement that comes with them.

I refuse to pick through a tightly packed rail to discover there's nothing left in my size anyway (the most popular ladies size out there, ahem). I hate shopping, I find stores unbearably claustrophobic as it is, so I'd genuinely rather pay full price than endure the stress of working for a cut.

But I respect that many others do enjoy a good sale. So I'm not saying ban all sales, just urging that Boxing Day be excluded from the bargain-hunters' calendar. I'm just asking you to contain yourself until December 27.

In Canada, most retailers are banned from opening on December 26. They'll be holding their sales tomorrow instead. Canada, I like your style.

And even down south, St Stephen's Day sales are a relatively new phenomenon.

Try to remember, it's still the holidays. It's a time to relax and recover from falling out with your family during charades the day before.

You've already survived the Christmas rush, why go looking for more angst?

Boxing Day is my favourite day of the year.

Firstly, it means the trauma of Christmas is finally over. Secondly, it's a lovely relaxed day because it's what Christmas should be all about.

It's a day for lounging about, eating, falling asleep in front of the television and thinking about how I can't spend my vouchers until February, when I hope it will be safe to venture back into the shops after the banishment of the January Sales.

Abbey was a worthy Strictly winner

Wasn't that a joy to behold? Didn't it leave your feet tapping? The best dancer may not have won this year's Strictly, but Abbey Clancy was a worthy winner for her part in delivering a truly spectacular grand final. Regardless of who lifted the glitterball, viewers were treated to a night of glamour, sophistication and full-on infectious entertainment. From the opening credits to the tense announcement of a surprise winner, there was no let up.

 The fact that neither the best dancer (Natalie Gumede) or bookies' favourite (Susanna Reid) won added to the captivation. Teary tributes and heartfelt emotion were laid on a bit thick, but I'll forgive just this once. Strictly trotted out unadulterated, up-lifting TV with nothing cynical about it. X Factor bosses take note.

Saatchi's really out in the cold

Does Charles Saatchi ever eat indoors? Of all the question raised by the recent trial of his former PAs, this is the one which has left me scratching my head the most. His eating habits really perplex me. He was married to a domestic goddess, yet will only eat cereal, cheese on toast or boiled eggs at home. Perhaps this is because he prefers to eat out at Scott's in Mayfair where he even has an account and an outside table.

Despite being snapped there grabbing Nigella Lawson by the throat, it hasn't put Charles off al fresco dining. Nor has winter. New squeeze Trinny Woodall is now a regular face at the infamous table. She seems more than happy to wrap up to indulge Charles' penchant for an outdoor dinner, perhaps to avoid the prospect of a toastie at home.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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