Why this rush to grab a bargain?

PUBLISHED: 12:01 05 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:24 06 May 2010

What's the rush about?

What's the rush about?

I LIKE to think I m of reasonable intelligence but there are a few things – all right, quite a lot of things – in life I don t understand. The appeal of boxing, for example, has always eluded me – it s just grown people hitting each other, something that

I LIKE to think I'm of reasonable intelligence but there are a few things - all right, quite a lot of things - in life I don't understand.

The appeal of boxing, for example, has always eluded me - it's just grown people hitting each other, something that's frowned upon in general society but seems to be OK when in a ring and in front of a crowd.

I know it's a gender cliché, but the secret to effective reverse parking is also a bit beyond my limited brain power, I'm afraid.

I know there's a simple method and I think I did it in my driving test but since then it's become a daily challenge which involves me swearing a lot, getting aching arms (I don't have power steering) and still ending up wonky.

Currently the thing puzzling my mince-pie addled brain is what on earth possesses people to start queuing up at 3am for the opening of the sale at the Next branch in Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, as about 2,000 crazed bargain hunters did last week.

I'm not denying that Next make some nice clothes, and I'm a big fan of their bits and bobs for the house, and it's great that all of this is available on the cheap, but really - 3am?

Surely the need for a nice pair of work trousers or a photo frame isn't great enough to justify tearing yourself away from a warm bed in the wee small hours?

I think the only way I'd ever consider getting up that early to go to Next is if they were giving their stuff away and throwing in a lifetime's supply of chocolate to boot.

People's reaction to the Next sale may be a bit extreme, but it's just another example of the way we go bargain bonkers at this time of year.

As soon as Christmas Day is over, we come flooding out of our homes with a kind of crazed, deal-hunting urgency.

Every year, as I sit inside in the warm, helping myself to another chocolate from the Christmas tree, I fail to understand the attraction of the winter sales.

Have people not had enough of shopping, in the rush to buy Christmas presents for all and sundry?

Is the best way to spend precious holiday time really traipsing around a shopping centre rather than relaxing at home?

I know, I know, there are some great offers to be had, but surely if you shop around at other times of year, you can still get what you want cheaply?

There's so much choice for consumers these days, you can pretty much find a sale on somewhere at any time of the year.

I wish anyone braving the shops good luck, but have no intention of leaving my armchair at the moment for anything other than the essentials.

Now, where did those mince pies go?

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