So, where did November go, then?
OK, I know we were away for some of it, but really, doing a bit of shopping this morning made me realise that everyone else is a step or two ahead of me here. I haven’t really got myself into a December frame of mind and yet others seem to be totally in the Christmas groove.
The first Christmas card arrived on Thursday, with sweet thoughts from Down Under. We smiled though, because I’m meeting the friend who sent it for coffee in a couple of weeks, in London. I think she reached the UK more quickly than the cards she posted. I love getting letters and cards from far away though, and the envelope with the Aussie stamp will be a great start to my December Daily journal, won’t it?
Two more cards followed today, with new addresses and family news. Meanwhile, the cards I began to make a couple of weeks ago remain unfinished on my worktable. So much for getting a head start!
But it was in the shops where the real business was going on. Seldom have I seen such a determined start to the shopping season. No more gazing at the ridiculously early “seasonal” windows and out of place decorations, but heads down serious shopping with lists and the rest of the family trailing behind. We are familiar with the American “Black Friday” sales from our trips over there which have frequently been during the fourth weekend in November, but it seems as though the event has crossed the Atlantic Ocean and for the first time here, we’ve seen some real bargains and those “deep discounts” we associate with US-style shopping.
Not that we went looking for such things, but some were hard to resist. I’m not ready to begin buying gifts and haven’t even thought of filling stockings yet, but I was looking for a pair of boots. Never my favourite things to buy, I was prepared for a lengthy search for the right ones so I was thrilled to find the perfect pair at 20% off, too. A little further along in the same store, the eye make up I was after was also 20% off and the triple-points in Boots made the half-price item even more appealing.
So, there will be some exhausted shop assistants this evening, I’m sure. One young Marks and Spencer employee in particular will be glad to finish his day, because at 8.45am this morning, he was finding it hard going on the food hall checkout and had to scan our shopping a second time because of the three bags full of things, only five items had scanned satisfactorily. An impatient supervisor came over to see what was going on and brusquely reminded him that he must listen for the “beep” each time; it seemed as though we weren’t the first customers who had experienced a little delay. I felt sympathetic towards the young man, who could see the queue building up and was clearly starting to panic, and felt that a busy Saturday morning such as this was not the best time to acquire his checkout skills. I said as much to one of the long term staff as I passed her in a different part of the shop. “Oh, yes, he is having a little trouble there”, she said. “He could use a little support, especially since he’s been here since 4am this morning”.
I was glad to see her walk off in his direction, to “share a bit of love”.