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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Friday, 27 February 2015

Where-e'r you ski
Cool sales will tempt you in
Trees where you...

Shopping is several things, here are three: replacing day-to-day consumables, satisfying an identified, usually one-off, need, and exposing oneself to virtual and/or real-life temptation.

That latter has a bad reputation, the province of those with too much money and time. Unfair! When I read  book reviews or The Gramophone I rarely need a book or CD,  I'm asking to be tempted. Samphire may be a distant concept when I walk through a French street market but then I see it and buy it.

But how about this? In my ski-ing days I often wandered into ski shops with a blank mind. I already owned skis, boots, anorak and salopettes; replacing any cost real money. Was I comforted by "being with" these products? Was I pretending to look for improvements in a leisure industry notorious for selling fashion rather than benefits? I have no idea but I worry even now.

No one enters Tesco with a blank mind, only imperatives: sliced bread (Shock! Horror!), drain cleaner. But recently I saw a world within a world. A mother with a bunch of bananas in her trolley broke one off, peeled it and gave it to her child. An empty skin at check-out.  An imperative had become a temptation and had been satisfied all within a minute: I liked the circularity, far from marketing ploys and advertising strategy.

A fantasy arose. I re-entered the ski-shop, bought skis, boots, etc, donned them, and ski-ed down a car-park now sloping and magically covered with snow. Then I knew...


  1. I never dream about ski gear but samphire ... oh how I crave it. It must contain mystery vitamins.

  2. Trying mightily to resist any impulse buying of late, I, on the other hand, want to promote impulse buying. Otherwise, what hell awaits us when the economy falters and withers? I heard a young mother on the radio the other day she has never bought any of her children's clothes at a retail shop, everything comes from Kijiji at a third of the cost; reused and recycled. Like the Old Days when you wore the neighbour's hand-me-downs. When did the imperative to protect a job (or an entire industry) by buying something useless become part of my conscience? Potters and bookbinders everywhere depend upon it.

  3. Blonde Two: Not ski-gear, perhaps. But how about gas cookers that weigh 3 gm less than the earlier model? Walking poles that collapse to less than the length of a cigarette and may be tucked behind your ear?

    Samphire. It's the word itself, surely. Seductive as you like.

    Stella: You are a drum on which worldwide sympathy may be softly beaten. In any case how far will North Americans go when it somes to secondhand clothing (that may have been worn by someone who turned out to be paedophile). Wouldn't they prefer to open their veins? I'd call you all fastidious if the majority (not you, of course) didn't know what it meant.

  4. The remote possibility of finding oneself in the cast off (yet presumably well laundered) clothes of a pedophile - THAT is abhorrent. In NA we focus more on the provenance of the water molecules in our wine.

  5. MikeM: "Water molecules" etc. The French have a way of obscuring things like that - they mumble terroir, simultaneously saying it's untranslatable. A typical ploy.