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7:47pm on Wednesday, 26th December, 2007:

Boxing Day Sales


So, today is Boxing Day. For those of you who don't know about Boxing Day, it's just the day after Christmas Day (unless that day is a Sunday, in which case it's Christmas Sunday and Boxing Day is the day after). No-one knows why it's called Boxing Day, so don't believe any explanations they give.

In the past, Boxing Day was a day of major sporting occasions, which it still is to some extent, but it's also now increasingly the day on which the sales begin in the shops. There are still lots that begin in January, but in order to get the jump on these some shops (Debenhams, for example) had their sales earlier, and then these tried to get the jump on each other, until eventually they settled on Boxing Day as the earliest date they could start a sale without actually going before Christmas Day.

So, today we went to Colchester. It wasn't for the Boxing Day sales, it was to return my wife's mobile phone which she got last Christmas but that decided to die this Christmas (it has a 2-year guarantee). Anyway, as we arrived in town we saw the big car park indicators showing that one car park was nearly full but that the others had plenty of spaces.

Yes, they did. The reason they had the spaces was because they weren't open. The car park we usually use was closed, the one 100m further along was closed, then next one was open but had a long queue (and not room for many cars, so the queue wasn't moving fast) and the final one was open except for about 80% of it, which was closed. This was the car park we finally managed to get into, when the car in front of use foolishly turned left, thereby missing the one space we'd spotted (which was to the right). Having finally parked, we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was free. Just as well, seeing as how driving around had cost us a lot in petrol.

The centre of Colchester was quite busy. Most of the smaller shops were closed, but most of the chains were open (with the exception of Marks and Spencer, which is not unsurprising given that their entire staff would have to spend the whole day dealing with returns). Sales were indeed on in many shops, as they attempted to offload goods for which it was all too apparent why they weren't bought the first time round.

Vodaphone was shut, though. They'll perhaps come to regret that, as my wife's annoyance level went up into the red zone; heaven help them if they're not open when we go back tomorrow.

Nevertheless, a large number of shops were open, and doing a roaring trade. That being the case, how come only one multi-storey car park, one cram-your-car-against-the-Roman-wall car park and 20% of one park-next-to-the-old-railway-station car park were open?

And when you get back to your car and find someone has parked in front of you where they're not supposed to and you can't get out, does that mean you can call it Boxing-in Day?

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).