Donald MacInnes: A glutton for punishment, my card’s really on the ropes this time
Saturday 24 December 2011
Last week I detailed how my flimsy little Santander debit card had taken a man-sized kicking in Miami, due to the demands placed upon me to make sure I tipped with as much largesse as American waiting staff deemed acceptable (for the record, it's 83 per cent of the value of the bill, plus a 3 per cent cut of your net wages for the next four years, plus a set of Argos pasta plates). However, that shock to my monetary system was but a stern telling-off compared with the toe-to-toe slugfest to which this day, Christmas Eve, provides the climax.
As big-spending Saturdays go, this is the heavyweight championship of the world, in Las Vegas, against a 7ft-tall opponent with more stamina, a longer reach and a flashier silk robe, his name embroidered on the back in gold thread (Ronnie "The Overdraft" Retail).
Of course, as a contest, this bout is over before you even open your wallet. Following what seems like hours of punishment, your bruised rectangle of plastic is in a daze of pain and confusion; swiping the air, vainly searching for that one knockout purchase that will mean you can step into Christmas with your head held high. Your rational self (in the form of a grizzled old trainer with a squashed nose and rasping Brooklyn accent) stands outside the ropes, imploring your card: "Stay down, kid! It ain't worth it! Come February, no one will remember what ya got them! Stay down! Ya wanna be eatin' through a toob the rest of your life?"
Even the soon-to-be-victorious Mr Retail is standing over your spreadeagled card, sickened by the carnage he imposed and pleading with his vanquished opponent to see sense (even though it's currently seeing three of everything): "Listen to him, kid! Stay down. I don't wanna have ta kill ya!"
But your card invariably staggers to its feet on a count of eight, shakily assuring a sceptical referee that it can fight on and that, yes, it can remember its name (it can't).
And so we buy that 6ft tube of Jaffa Cakes in the hope that the cousin to which they are gifted will agree that their monetary value is equal to or greater than that of the pre-owned DVD of The Vicar of Dibley from a bargain bin during a closing down sale in Blockbuster.
Forgive me. I'm not being cynical. I actually love Christmas shopping, which is why I have to go now and get mine finished. Anyway, my card is beginning to see better out of its left eye and is keen on a rematch with the January sales. The fool.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Money Alert: Surviving Winter
Simon Read: There may be trouble ahead for cohabiting couples who don’t make a will
Mark Dampier: Strong returns can be found if you go the opposite way to the crowds
Money Insider: Would £150 make you switch banks?
Bargain Hunter: Find the deals that have real value beneath the Black Friday hype
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
iJobs Money & Business
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Age Concern Slough a...
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Crossroads Care is s...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000: SThree: We consistently strive to be ...
£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...
Day In a Page
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens