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

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Woolworths Sale of the Century

The word has gone out - closing down sale at Woolworths tomorrow after 99 years of trading. All round the country shoppers are girding their loins for the struggle, ready to brave the hordes to secure...what? If you really wanted/needed it, surely you bought it last week when they knocked 50% off.

Woolworth's is struggling because it sold stuff people didn't want to buy. So what's changed? Why was it bursting at the seams last week? Has the stuff suddenly become irresistible? Or is it simply that we are programmed to respond when a retailer cuts prices? How much will be spent tomorrow on things people really don't want or need?

And as you jostle through the masses tomorrow to join a queue of Ouroborian proportions, spare a thought for the poor beleaguered staff. Already uncertain of their future prospects, they will tomorrow find themselves confronted with an army of ruthless bargain hunters, and, if the media succeed in whipping up a frenzy like that seen in a New Jersey Wal-Mart after Thanksgiving, facing the potential hazards of an undisciplined mob.

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