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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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December 27, 2007

After Xmas:

WeldonBoxingDay.jpg Weldon, Boxing Day test

My test is struggling to make computers work as they should. I would have thought that Mum and daughter would have been at the Boxing Day sales stocking up on electronics, towels, linen, shoes, clothes, whitegoods and Christmas decorations.This is the time when households traditionally stock up on sheets and towels for the year and even significant household purchases such as whitegoods like fridges and ovens. And the handbags?

It's an assertive style of shopping that's required to obtain what's desired.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:48 AM | | Comments (18)


For mine, this raises a question about consumption we rarely think about. There's consumption at the point of the cash register and consumption at the point of use. They're different things.

I guess it depends which end of consumption you get your kicks. Personally, I'd rather assemble the Ikea flat packaged furniture than buy it.

Christ what a catch!!
Do you like watching footy too?

consumption is good because it drives the economy. Where would the economy be without consumption? Debt is good because it enables more consumption--- eg., the smoking credit cards over Xmas. Xmas---its more than one day--- is meant to be about gifts and sharing but it is about consumption.

The market is value ladened in a deep way, and embodied with meaning. So much for it being a natural mechanism as some market fundamentalists claim.

Les, I loathe footy in winter and cricket in summer.

Gary, I know that's how our society apparently works, but I don't get it. I don't understand why people feel the need to buy things they don't need with money they don't have. Where's the thrill in that? Where's the satisfaction in owning more shoes than you'll ever wear? Why buy more linen when the cupboard's already full of it?

I understand the market fundamentalist position, though I think it's crap. I don't understand what drives individuals to participate in it. Especially the Christmas stampede. Why would you put yourself through that? What's the psychological explanation?

Lyn,Me I know nothing.I think perhaps I come from Barcellona.Tina Beattie's article reffered to in Gary/s post of 24 Dec. does provide a possible answer to your question.Boxing Day Sales and associated public mania I suspect do little for our economy and even less for our overall wellbeing.

I think the Government has a moral duty to legislate against buy now nothing to pay for 2 years finance.

How do the department stores make money out of this? Presumably, you have to pay for the goods when the two years are up. If you can't then you get whacked a huge amount of interest?

I was driving past a new development along the Fleurieu Peninsula and it said no deposit house and landpackage. I was waiting for the next sign buy now little to pay for 2 years finance.

I guess that kind of finance is what the Americans call sub-prime mortgages.

my stab is that this kind of shopper is very different to retail therapy.This kind of shopping is planned a year in advance and executed with military precision. It has to do with identity. This is the rational shopper or consumer (so loved by free market economists) planning bargains in an irrational market. Is it any different from those who play the stockmarket?

Don't laugh I think Devine is starting something like that.

It is an interesting scenario.
Firstly the users of this system apply for a card with a lending group. This card has a monthly fee. They buy their first purchase and think ha ha this is great they go a few months and think OK I think I will buy something else and so on. 2 years pass quickly and the person who couldn't afford to buy the stuff in the beginning suddenly has to pay 27% interest on the first purchase and pay the original purchase price. Then a couple of months later the second purchase comes on line at 27% and so on. When the person no longer has any disposable money to buy new things that become required because the original ones are either worn out or have crapped out. The person puts more stuff on the card.
So basically the Lending company just buys itself customer with an on going rate of 27%.
Dept stores like Harvey Norman (The Smiling Assassin)gets its money straight away.

We have been told frequently that Australians love cricket.
I have been conducting a small survey of my own over the past few years and I have found that more than three women in five loath cricket. I'm sick of the way we subsidise it, the way our airways are clogged with it and the newspapers push it down our throats. It isn't sport it's an expensive branch of the entertainment industry with inferior actors.

well they cannot have asked me when they --now who are they?--say that Australians love cricket. I don't think much of cricket either.

It looked okay back in 1936--bodyline and all that Empire stuff--- but its just bad entertainment now. What we are presented with is the sleazy side of the culture industry--the contrived jingoistic nationalism, the ugly sledging--- dressed up in industrial style uniforms and underpinned by lots of corruption. It should be on pay TV.

A recent survey of the favorite sports of Australians to watch put Tennis as number 1 and Swimming as 2 and AFL as 3.
This was because both genders were surveyed. So you are far from alone in your views.

Cricket has become a boring sport held up by a constant trickle of controversy and facial expressions.
I still watch it though. It tends to play in the background now though where once it was the feature.

The only thing I find interesting about cricket is the way the mood or self esteem of entire nations can depend on it. Pakistan is likely to miss out, so a country already cranky about Bhutto will be doubly cranky about losing their cricket.

For a totally shite game it plays interesting political roles.

here's an explantion by Melanie McDonagh in the London Times for your puzzlement about the Boxing Day shopping excess:

There is something particularly feminine about the phenomenon of overspending in the sales. You can take it as read that for some of us shopping is not just a pleasure. There is a kind of biochemical stimulus from buying lovely things that can be addictive although, like every addiction, it can be curbed. But if you add to that acquisitiveness the female instinct for thrift, the trouble really starts. The whole notion underlying the sales is that you are getting close to the actual value of a commodity, not just the inflated price the retailer puts on it. You feel you are saving as you spend, a hugely gratifying sensation.

I don't buy the female shopping gene theory at all, nor the biochemical feminine stimulus line.

Nan, I don't buy (ha ha, very funny) it either. Men were lined up around the block to get into man shops for auto accessories and hardware post Christmas sales. Maybe there's a shopping species?

The McDonagh article touched on people rushing to make the best of discounts on cosmetic surgery. What? There's another thing I don't understand.

The London Times under Murdoch has become entertainment journalism, albeit well written. The commentary is low grade intellectual and hardly worth the effort.I rarely bother.

I scan the cartoons, but these are very inward looking--concerned with British politics.

Though McDonagh does make mention of the canny rational shopper she has difficulty building in desire as distinct from instinct.

Gary, given the digital age, does it really matter whether commentary in commercial media is well argued or not? Since blogs came along it's become obvious that columnists are not always the most well informed people in the world, but we don't have to depend on them any more. For example we have access to people among us who know the difference between desire and instinct if we're interested. Is there really any point in columnists trying to be anything more than marginally intellectual any more? What's wrong with the location of intellectual thought and debate moving online where it won't annoy others? Has traditional media been shunted from agenda setting to topic setting? Have we shifted into an opinion culture where a columnist is just another person with an opinion?