Thinking Aloud on Boxing Day

Seasonal Consumerism.

I am still trying to digest the large Christmas Dinner that I enjoyed, and the presents received are still in a pile where they were left after being unwrapped. Ollie got new soft toys, and still can’t decide which one he likes best. The 26th is upon us, which in England is still known as Boxing Day. Although it is a Public Holiday, all of the shops will be open at some stage, as the post-Christmas sales begin. At one time, we only had ‘January Sales’. People would anticipate bargains to be had on the second of January, often queuing overnight outside big department stores. The clever shop owners would have loss-leaders featured in the windows. Televisions for a few pounds, or a half-price mink coat. The first through the doors would grab those bargains, and feel very pleased with themselves. But such once-a-year events are long behind us.

Now we have Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They are followed rapidly by Pre-Christmas sales, and immediately after by the Boxing Day sales. Before the shops close today, they will already be tempting buyers with previews of the New Year sales that start next week. As customers rush to buy things which are supposedly reduced by up to 50%, other less happy shoppers have to see huge reductions on things that they paid full price for on the 24th. Vouchers and cash received as presents yesterday will all be spent by the time it gets dark today. Having to endure a whole day with no shops open yesterday unleashes a buying frenzy once they are all trading again.

Logging onto my emails this morning, my Yahoo account was chock-full of sale offers from companies I have used online. Amazon suggesting things I have already bought, with the friendly comment “Buy them again?”. It never seems to occur to their computerised sales adviser that I am unlikely to buy exactly the same things that I ordered last week. Cookies provide fertile ground for companies I may have glanced at fleetingly, with obscure suggestions that I might like to buy some bags of gravel for the driveway, or rubber sealant for a cracked gutter. And let’s not forget the holiday companies. Holiday adverts traditionally begin on Christmas Day here, with TV advertising full of suggestions for exotic foreign holidays, cruises, villa rentals, or Disney trips. When the UK is in the grip of gloomy weather, and we are shivering in below-freezing temperatures, the sight of a tropical beach, or someone sipping drinks by a sun-soaked swimming pool is guaranteed to make you think about escaping the winter.

So, what I woke up thinking about today was this. How long will it be before most shops are open on Christmas Day? How long before companies just cannot bear to miss just that one day of trading? Most people no longer celebrate the religious aspects of the season, and I am convinced that many bored people would like nothing better than to get to the shopping malls on the 25th, instead of watching re-runs of old kid’s films after a heavy lunch. They could get an even earlier start on the sales, and the shops would save money by having to print ‘Boxing Day’ on their banners. I am also sure that many shop staff would welcome the extra pay from working on a public holiday, and anyone who is still religious would not be forced to work.

It will be a lot like Sunday shopping, which started as an experiment, with the reduced opening hours. At first, it felt strange to go shopping on a Sunday. Now, it is one of the busiest days of the week in most supermarkets. I always used to say that I would never see Christmas Day opening in my lifetime.
Now I’m not so sure.

What do you reckon? Say within five years?

Merry Shopping!

50 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud on Boxing Day

  1. I always think of the employees working and can not be with their families or friends. I try to never frequent a shop or store on holidays. Society is so caught up in having everything when they want it. I think if you forgot something you just do without it. Sad truth again, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great! I think next year i will head over to the UK. Here there is nothing on December, 26. This is roman-catholic area, with only prayers und worshipping. πŸ˜‰ Think there are a lot of things we have to change for more liberty loo. πŸ™‚ Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My feeling is that retail is dying off. The shops in the UK did badly over the holidays, and are desperate to recoup their losses. They might open more and more hours for now, but slowly this will decline as more and more people shop online. Why would you rush around with a trolley if you can click a few times and have everything delivered? Even for clothes and other stuff, I find I almost never buy anything full price. I think that in the long run the corner shop will benefit, for getting forgotten necessities with a cosy dose of gossip. Also farmers markets, and niche shops.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All good points, Marina. I still like to go to the supermarket for food, and make my choices in the shop. But i rarely venture into the city twenty miles away to bother to buy clothes or shoes in a shop. The situation in rural areas like this one is harder for some people, as there are no longer any corner shops, and village stores are dying out.
      But once all the people over seventy are dead, and a generation used to buying online is all that’s left, I can see the end of retail, with the big companies going ‘online only’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  4. Shopping on Christmas Day? I hope I never live to see that day. Then again my grandmother said she hoped she’d never live to see the day stores were open on a Sunday. Hmmm… Best to you, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a feeling it will come sooner, rather than later. Especially in Britain, where religion is not nearly so important now. In fact, my step-daughter was able to get some things in a shop on the morning of the 25th, as the shop she used is owned by a Pakistani couple who do not celebrate Christmas.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Not in Poland Pete, in fact I believe that Sunday trading will be cut again next year to just one Sunday a month from the two at the moment. Incidentally retail sales have increased since the Sunday shopping restrictions were reintroduced.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I spent some time the other day looking at women’s bathing suits for a character in my novel. Since that time, thanks to cookies, I’m getting a lot of internet ads for women’s bathing suits. I have about as much use for them in real life as I do for Christmas itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should have seen what I got, after researching ‘Granny Glamour Models’ for my serial ‘Benny goes Bust’! Even now, I still get emails advertising Grannies who are apparently available for any ‘service’ you can think of… πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Today I stay home and away from anything shopping…..I have done all I intend to do…..sale or not…..we have delivery service for groceries now….call in your order and they deliver within a couple of hours….sounds like you had a good day…..chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We don’t have that here Pete but some businesses advertise their wares at Facebook for more than 50% promo price. Once you comment on their pages, they would always send updates on Messenger. I hate it. I haven’t tried buying online yet but the kids do it all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

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