DJ and I went on a rare trip out last night to see comedian Dylan Moran. Normally we never go to gigs as they’re usually so expensive and DJ isn’t keen on crowds. But we are ardent fans of the Black Books star and had saved up to see him as a treat. The venue was packed – evidently we weren’t the only people who felt they needed a good laugh in the current climate.
This wasn’t lost on Moran who poked fun at the London audience, joking about how many times they might be made redundant over a lifetime (roughly 20, he estimated – I hope he’s wrong). In fact he made many insightful remarks about consumerism, dressed up as gags. He said that shopping had in some ways replaced religion – people now bought pointless stuff to fill up their lives. And at one point in the evening Moran quipped that the UK is ‘a prison where you’re forced to shop’.
Obviously he was being daft and making us laugh, but I think he makes a valid point. The government is doing its level best at the moment to coax us to a shopping mall, despite the fact that many of us are more concerned about whether we’ll have a job next month. I’m sure if Chancellor Darling had any money left to hire some vans, round us all up and drive us to Lakeside or the Trafford Centre or wherever then he would. But for now he hopes that the temporary cut in VAT will have the same effect. It’s interesting to see that the chief executive of Next, Simon Wolfson, thinks he’s got it completely wrong. Here’s a link to his letter to the Times this week.
In Taiwan they will be handing out coupons to citizens to encourage them to hit the shops and stimulate the economy. And remember after the September 11th attacks how George Bush told America to go shopping? Some economists have been wondering whether he should reiterate his remarks.
But for those of us who are busy saving our pennies and avoiding the shopping malls – is being frugal in this climate somehow anti-British? Are we disloyal citizens because we’re not propping up the economy and joining in the government’s debt jamboree? Remember the Compact members in the US who signed a pact not to go shopping for a year? At the time they were heavily criticised by some commentators as being anti-American.
Will a Woolworths or car manufacturing employee somewhere lose their job because you or I failed to max out our credit cards this weekend? It’s an interesting dilemma. However, not everyone has the choice to spend, spend, spend now and pay later, and I’m sorry, but I for one will not be leveraging up my plastic this Christmas no matter how much I genuinely feel for anyone facing redundancy. But I’d be interested to know your own thoughts on the matter.
Have a great weekend, Piper xxx
Will the Chancellor’s VAT cut get you out spending? Do you think it’s anti-British not to go shopping? Will you be heading down to ailing Woolies this weekend to stock up on cut-price goodies? Leave a comment and let me know.
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