Kayt Turner: ‘We must stand firm against this seemingly overwhelming tide of consumerist greed’

IT’LL come as little surprise to those who know me that I’m going to finally devote a column to the “C” word.

Truth be told, my Editor threw a bit of a fit when it was first mentioned last month. He was adamant that he didn’t want any mention of it in his newspaper. Voices were raised and managerial office suites were thumped. He thought the time had not yet arrived when a Sunday newspaper could start bandying that particular word about. But, I think we should all just face the facts. Doesn’t matter where you turn nowadays – there it is. You can run, but you can’t hide. Yes folks, Christmas is everywhere.

And now it’s not just the proliferation of singing Santas and rocking reindeer we have to deal with, because the creeping tide of American influence into every corner of our lives continues unabated. Not content with Disneyfing Hallowe’en (err, it’s guising, people, not trick or treating) we now have to live with the “Happy Hallidays” rather than our traditionally restrained Advent. Whole streets are transformed into retina-scorching light displays as houses are covered with enough lightbulbs to satisfy Nancy Dell’Olio’s make-up mirror. In my day you might go mad and put some candles in the window on Christmas Eve, but that would be the full extent of your riotous Christmas build-up. And, as if all this were not enough, this is the year, apparently, that Black Friday makes its presence felt on these shores.

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Don’t worry – it’s not some kind of economic meltdown, so there’s no need to rush to stock up on canned goods and toilet paper. Black Friday is traditionally the day the Americans start their Christmas shopping (really, where have these people been? Sensible people had it done months ago, surely?). And, being American, they naturally have to do this bigger and better than anyone else. So the majority of stores have astonishing offers. I suppose it gives TV news teams something to cover on the day after Thanksgiving – which is why you’ll see reports on hordes of people camped overnight outside Walmart or Target – all waiting for that once in a lifetime deal. Xboxes, laptops and 50-inch plasma televisions on offer for a couple of hundred dollars or less.

Comrades, we must stand firm against this seemingly overwhelming tide of consumerist greed. And we can. The following day is International Buy Nothing Day. Which, when you think of it, is kind of easy to do if you’ve blown all your cash on cut-price laptops and Playstations – but, I suppose the thought’s there. In the past the organisers have set up stunts such as last year’s Whirl Around – where a large, silent conga line wheeled their trolleys around the supermarket, saying nothing and, more importantly, putting nothing in their trolleys either. They’ve also tried to encourage people to cut up their credit cards. A stunt too far, methinks. Although Mr Turner thinks it a fine idea.

Either way, you should know that the shops are going to be packed at the weekend. Either with frantic shoppers or conga-ing non-shoppers. Me? I’ll be sitting quietly at home. I think I might write to my lovely American relatives. Hell, if they’re buying 50-inch TVs as Christmas presents, I want in.