It had been hoped that having each acquired hundreds of pounds’ worth of consumables on Christmas Day, Islanders’ appetite for purchasing things would have been sated – at least until mid-January.
But this week Town has been packed with people desperate to buy ever more stuff.
“I haven’t acquired anything in 36 hours,” said a sweating, twitching Melanie Retch, shortly before racing up the High Street in search of a shop – any shop – that was prepared to take her money in exchange for soon-to-be obsolescent electrical goods or ill-fitting clothes that would be worn once and then discarded.
“I know I’ve got piles of unopened gifts at home, but there is still stuff out there that I haven’t got that I think I sort of need. I like to fill my life with all this crap so I don’t have to think about dying.”
Jenny Pettifogger, 37, was first in line for the Next sale. “I’ve been camping outside the shop since May 2002,” she said. “Anything for a bargain or a Page 4 photo in the Press!”
“I’ve been camping outside [Next] since May 2002”
– Jenny Pettifogger
She held up three carrier bags full of stuff that she’d convinced herself she liked. “It was worth giving up eight years of my life, and missing my children growing up, just to be the first through the door – even though most of this will end up in Oxfam by March.”
“It’s the sales,” said Mary Hurtle, another shopper. “Lots and lots of stuff I don’t need is suddenly 10% cheaper. Whereas before Christmas I thought I could live without it, I now realise that I must absolutely own it – if only to replace it at some point during 2011.”
Mrs Hurtle was happy to share her purchasing strategy: “I tend to go into each and every shop and grab the first thing that I see, regardless of its cost, quality or utility. Sometimes, I’ll just rush up to a display table and sweep armfuls of brightly-coloured stuff into my basket, tears of joy streaming down my cheeks.”
Chris Hurdle, father of two, was queuing up to buy a new 700-inch flat-screen TV, despite having received six over Christmas. “But this one is in the sales,” he explained. “And besides, buying it will push my credit card debt up to exactly £5,000 – a nice round number.”
Joshua Tree, 8, said that he’d amassed a personal fortune of £40 thanks to the generosity of various aunts and uncles. He had already decided to spend it on Bullet Whore VI, despite getting Bullet Whores I to V from Father Christmas.
Guernsey Futu asked him why he was so desperate to spend his Christmas cash. “What’s it going to do sitting in my bedroom at home?” he asked. “Nothing. It’s dead money.”
Geoff Malt, 32, was queuing up in HMV. He told Guernsey Futu that he was midway through his annual DVD box set upgrade.
“All the box sets I bought this time last year are now incomplete because they’ve brought out sequels or new TV series,” he explained. “This is the sixth time I’ve bought the Peep Show box set.”
Asked why he couldn’t just purchase future series on individual DVDs, Mr Malt shot Guernsey Futu a pitying look. “Because they wouldn’t be in the box, would they? They wouldn’t be in the special box with the other DVDs. You know, with Series 1 through to Series 5, all contained in a little cardboard slipcase. Jesus.”
“I get twitchy unless I obtain a car boot’s worth of useless shit between Christmas and New Year,” said Max Bastion, hauling a dozen carrier bags back to his 4×4. “I’m a consumer, through and through – buying nothing makes my penis shrivel up. I’m not even going to open half this stuff. I’ll just stick it in storage.”
“I get twitchy unless I obtain a car boot’s worth of useless shit between Christmas and New Year”
– Max Bastion
“If Town is closed for more than one day, I begin to feel physically sick,” admitted Maud Comet, who had been parked at North Beach since 7am on Monday 27th December. “What else is there to do in Guernsey except spend money on cheap, mass-produced inessentials?”
“I literally burnt all the presents I got for Christmas,” said Kirk Chagrin. “Unwrapped them, gave ’em the once over, doused ’em in petrol and torched the fuckers. I had to clear to the way for the influx of entirely new stuff that I intend to throw away in due course.”
Paul Glut of the Retailers Consortium gave the post-Christmas buying frenzy a double thumbs-up.
“It’s been a fantastic week,” he said. “Over-the-counter purchases hit £400 billion an hour and levels of personal indebtedness rose to a record high.
“Retailers and consumers alike should give themselves a pat on the back: spending money you don’t have on shit you don’t need to fill an emotional gap you can’t explain is surely what Christmas is all about.”