Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Friday, 21 November 2008

A Sale of Two Titties...

... made of bright pink nylon, 20% off; also a breast-shaped face flannel, a soap hilariously inscribed 'bum' on one side and 'face' on the other and a bow tie designed to be worn on what the Elizabethans called the privy member. All of these can be found this weekend at 20% off the marked price in a popular high street store.

Tacky, tasteless and sexist, these articles are being marketed as 'stocking fillers' according to the sign on the display - a perfect example of the infantilisation of the British male. Even at 20% off, they weren't exactly flying off the shelves and will probably end up in the January sales with a non-existent profit margin (the more frugally minded among you might like to note that the bow tie would admirably suit a small teddy bear).

Quite apart from their inherent vulgarity, the price of £3-£5 makes it highly likely that this exploitative tat was assembled by low-paid workers in a third world sweatshop, quite possibly in a region where they hold strict religious beliefs. Oh, to be a fly on the wall as they discussed the products and their eventual purchasers!

The astounding thing is that in this summer's financial climate a buyer actually thought it was a good idea to order hundreds of bow ties for bits and have them imported from the other side of the world. One silver lining to the cloud of global recession and a sinking pound is that it may make retailers a little more discerning about what they choose to import for next Christmas.

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