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on shopping - at christmas, in france and elsewhere

In Frogland, you will often be asked if you want things wrapped for presents, the item is then wrapped professionally and prettily, ready for giving. This happens whether or not it is ‘the time for giving’.

During December, outside the cash tills, many supermarkets have rows of tables complete with wrapping servants, wrapping paper, ribbon etc. (This often done in exchange for a donation to a local charity.)

The rest of the year, there’s to be a do-it-yourself wrapping station. This used to dispznse free wrapping paper. It was very interesting to watch, if bored. There were the greedy bastards that sneaked up and took as much as the can get away with, furtively looking around while tightly rolling their spoils, and rapidly tearing it off if they think someone notices.

Even more fascinating is when one person grabs some, others notice and then sidle over for a go; then there is a lull while the roll sits lonely waiting for the next assault wave. Now the free paper has gone and instead there are wrapping paper dispensers - a euro for a metre or some such.

Humans are seriously weird.

Often I go into shops that are empty, within a few seconds many other pour in and crowd the place out.

I've a good wheeze I'd sell to shop keepers if I had any entrepreneurial ambitions. Get a realistic statue of me and place it where it can easily be seen from outside! Their shops would be full ever after.

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