A serial returner, I learnt this week, is not someone who goes to the same pub every Friday after work. No. Serial returners are a thing. An economic thing threatening to upset the apple-cart of our burgeoning internet retail scene.

A glitch has shown up in the easy-peasy online shopping rush. Prices are rising and will rise yet further, number-crunchers say, because of the increasing number of browsers who order a hefty selection of items, happy in the knowledge they can send everything back, free of charge.

“But nothing is free. In the end, it’s all about the bottom line,” one patiently explaining profit and loss expert pointed out, while defining the curse of serial returners.

He didn’t need to spell it out for me. It’s always the bottom line that disappoints, when a new frock’s delivered to my door.

My bottom rarely – if ever – fits where the line on the picture says it should. Which is why I’ve given up.

There are other reasons, obviously. Rely too heavily on an overwhelming raft of internet services and before long you’ll be a recluse, buying clothes on your iPad, ordering shoes, food and wine from your laptop, booking holidays and theatre tickets via smart phone – emailing the dog for a walk when you can’t be bothered.

And when you’re struggling for ideas for Sunday lunch, you’ll grab your go-to smart device for a recipe from a website stash of 11,000 and… oh, sorry. Might have hit a raw nerve there.

Thousands of home cooks have been weeping into their colanders and roasting tins, since the BBC threatened to axe its online collection of recipes, in response to government demands for cost cuts. I’m not one of them, I hasten to add. There are three good reasons for that.

Anne Pickles

Firstly, I’m really not much of a cook. My culinary repertoire is limited – to say the least. It tends to reflect what my mum used to serve up. Apart from chilli con carne. My mum didn’t know much about Mexico when I was a child.

Secondly, I didn’t know such an archive existed, before they said they were scrapping it. Why would I? The likelihood of my needing to produce a batch of sour dough loaves at a minute’s notice is as remote as me suddenly deciding to join a gym.

Thirdly, I have books. Should I need to brush up on how to get the best crackling on a nice piece of Cranstons pork, I go to Delia. Her pages are tattered, some are falling out but she never lets me down. I like books every bit as much as I enjoy going out for proper shopping.

There’s been a right palava (or Pavlova) about the imminent loss of that online archive. People are furiously printing off recipes before they are lost.

Like as not the BBC is already planning a pricey series of glossy cook books to compensate. So much for the paperless society.

When you think about it, that’s the potential problem with all online archives. They can’t deliver on promise of permanence. Not like the tatty pages of a loved book or treasured cuttings from a newspaper, marking a happy family wedding day.

Imagine if Shakespeare had blogged his plays and sonnets for some digital site or other, only to have someone suggest a decade later: “Not many hits on Macbeth lately. Shall we take it down?”

“Might as well. Access was by old technology. Everything’s moved on now.” Threatening its recipe collections has been a cute move by the BBC.

It has enraged middle England and made the Government’s demands for cuts seem petty and spiteful.

The corporation has out-politicked the politicians – which is fun. I like that. It’s Pavlovian…naughty but nice.

There’s a lot to like about the BBC. For all its faults, I am a serial returner and would oppose any government’s efforts to emasculate it. But online recipes? No thanks. I’ll not be manning any barricades.

Proper shopping, proper books, proper print on proper paper. What goes round tends to go round again. I believe that.