Amazons, get ready to shop! The post office is going on a series of strikes from next Monday right up until Christmas Eve (seasons greetings to you too, Mr Postie). If you don’t order now, your package may most definitely not arrive in time for the big day.
Even before this, we were getting a little disenchanted with the online proposition. For Dear Daughter, with her own debit card, these websites (Asos, Boohoo and the like) are catnip. The excitement of independently purchasing a new outfit for only £9.99! But, oh, the disappointment when the (unwearable) nylon rag arrives in the post, two days after the party.
Standing in line with the other mums in the post office, clutching the resealable, returnable bags, you wonder who’s benefiting from this deal other than Royal Mail (when they’re working, that is).
As I mull over the economics of e-commerce, a cry goes up. There is a crisis. Not World War Three, but worse. Christmas jumpers are required for the last day of school on Friday and the one from two years ago is too small for Dear Daughter.
Online might not deliver in time and, strangely, there are no dedicated Christmas jumper stores in my local area. Primark, I know, will come to my rescue. I also need to go to Lush so I plump for Guildford which has both and is a convenient 20-minute train ride away rather than 45 minutes of hell on the road to Kingston.
Off I dutifully trot, get to Guildford despite it being a train strike day, and sash into Primark. Last time I visited there were bales of festive wear. Now there’s nary a reindeer or snowman top to be seen: where’s it all gone? I pounce when a lesser-spotted salesperson appears. Where are the jumpers? I enquire. None left, she says. I'm afraid we've sold out.
Alarmed, I run into the arms of M&S and find the same story. Gap, TK Maxx, Debenhams, House of Fraser ditto. Finally I see a possibility in New Look. My sticky fingers reach out for the woolly little number – to find that it’s a size 18 adrift on an 8-labelled hanger. Is there left any in Dear Daughter’s size. Of course not. But maybe I could look online …
It’s enough to make a Grinch out of anyone. What if Christmas doesn’t come from a store? I think Team Minted are about to find out.