I've just done all my Christmas shopping. And WHERE did I complete this gargantuan task? (and it is gargantuan). Bluewater? Oxford Street? No. Frankly I'd rather stick molten excrement in my eyes. Woolwich?
My silence speaks volumes.
No. For the first time ever, I have completed every, last, bit online. Some of it on the sofa, some of a train, some in a Starbucks, and some on a freezing cold bench on London Bridge station.
"Props" I hear you cry, assuming that the word "props" is in your vocabulary, rather than being some hideous vulgarism of the modern age.
Well, yes and no. Whilst I am delighted not to have had to smell (and I do mean smell) Woolwich "town" "centre", leave alone the dreaded West End bun-fight, I can't help but feel just a little bit responsible. You know that "if you're not part of the solution" thing? Well, yeah. S'me. I am that "not part".
As we traverse one of the longest recessions in years, I really feel like I ought to have supported our beligered retailers. After all, I was the first one to do the pouty-lip thing when Woolies and Zavvi closed their doors.
However, on the other hand, it's great that we can finally do away with the "socks and naff jumpers" image we have of Christmas presents. Between the Amazon Wish List (an ingenious take on the Nuptual Demands) and the wide range of online retailers who stock... everything... then I'm pretty confident of offering up a killer Christmas for my nearest and dearest this year. I either got them stuff I knew they wanted, or if that was too unimaginative, then I managed to find the weird and wonderful in a way that's only possible when a warehouse the size of umpteen football pitches is your shop floor.
A couple of retailers have dabbled in the "we'll have it for you next day" approach, but none successfully so far. After all - you still have to get off your hiney and pick the stuff up. So it looks like e-commerce is going to win every time. Unless we can find something other than cheap Chinese electronics and mobile phone shops to lure us back onto the High Street.
And of course, I got to speak to a lovely lady from Bolton, who sorted out a present that I'd scoured the internet to get. More props for Chris.