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Saturday, 30 August 2014

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A requiem for the fallen. They did not shop in vain

So miserable was my all too brief shopping expedition at the weekend, I turned back and came home within 10 chaotic minutes.

Related: Two retailers in talks over buying Carlisle's Hoopers store

All too depressing. Not a penny spent, beyond the parking charge. Not like me at all.

It was to have been a treat – sort of. Bargain hunting in Hoopers, now counting down to its last sad closing day, was to have been a special opportunity for some uplifting retail therapy, combined with a bit of crack with its lovely staff.

Hoopers is one of the best places in town for giggly crack with staff. The other is Jaeger. That’s closing too.

I suppose I should have known better. I had, after all, been warned I wouldn’t enjoy it.

One friend had already alerted me to the mania prompted by the closing down sale starting early on Friday. She thought – correctly, as it happened – it would be even worse on Saturday.

Another acquaintance tweeted helpfully: “I went into Hoopers. One word – carnage.”

And again: “Go in for the experience. I had 90-year-olds pushing their way past me – go, Nana, go!”

But never having been very good at taking advice – especially the kind that says “Don’t even think about it” – I went shopping.

There’s something about closing down sales that makes so many otherwise mild-mannered, perfectly polite people (women in particular) turn into characters from Jurassic Park... with PMT!

Wars could be fought in this way, saving the lives of countless fine young men. Put a couple of teams of bargain-hungry women on a sales floor, give them national badges and let them fight over that last Basler jacket.

The winner takes Afghanistan. The loser gets Greece. Nato rubber-stamps the result without a single rocket launcher having been activated.

Viciousness? Well, only the kind a woman could dream up will be displayed in a do or die sales shopping spree. It’s not pretty. Age is no barrier in the every-girl-for-herself assault. Young or old, give a woman a sniff of a discount and she’s on a mission even an underpants bomber would flinch from.

Thousands piled into Hoopers on Friday and Saturday. One has to imagine thousands more will push and shove, glower and elbow – some even formed barricades, to allow their friends through – before closing day arrives on June 23.

At one point the doors had to be closed to limit the number of people entering. The scrum was unbelievable. What an oddity of a sport this was.

Anne Horton, Hoopers’ managing director, commented glumly: “It would have been nice to have seen more of these people who came for the sale shopping with us before.”

My thoughts exactly. If a fraction of those nuclear missile shoppers had spent a few more afternoons, a few more pounds, a little more often, maybe Hoopers – one of my favourite stores – could have weathered the storm of recession.

Which was what made it all so sad and – not being the kind of girl to push an 85-year-old paramilitary out of my way for a cheap handbag – sent me home to my recycling.

Have your say

@mario - that's the kind of thing a silly person would say.

I suspect it's based on nothing other than your own snobby, myopic, bigoted view of how people should dress properly.

It's akin to saying 'all southerners drink shandy and are effeminate'. It's just brainless, cliched drivel. Give yourself a shake.

Posted by M. Sagan on 31 May 2012 at 13:53

"people from the north have no sense of fashion at all, never seen so many people dressed so badly in my life, best shop for you would be a primark..."

Better than a blue dungarees, red hat, wrench carrying plumber!

Posted by NeverInMyLifeBeenSoInsulted on 18 May 2012 at 22:01

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