Rebecca Armstrong: January blues replaced by retail rage

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The Independent Online

After the enforced shopping marathon that was last month, I now seem unable to venture into anywhere that sells anything without becoming enraged.

OK, so January is always an emotional rollercoaster ("Hooray! Look at all my lovely new stuff. Sob. Limp and unloved Christmas trees abandoned on every corner. Arrgh! My bathroom scales have broken. Or perhaps my eyes have...") but last year's black dog has turned into this year's red mist.

Normally I can just about cope with the cack-handed Capitalisation of random Words in shop signage, even if rogue apostrophes do make me shudder. But spotting, for the umpteenth time, the off licence in my home town recently, I suddenly wanted to kill. I'd have to become teetotal if I moved home rather than shop at PLONK'ERS if I didn't want to go down for manslaughter. Closer to my metropolitan nest, Tesco Metro is a Pandora's box of hissing, winged evils. Mr Kipling Snap Packs have me shaking with anger. Each fluoro Angel Slice cakelet comes in its own hermetically sealed coffin of turtle-choking, landfill-clogging plastic. And is then wrapped in cardboard. This sort of packaging – and the laziness it implies in lunchbox-toters everywhere – makes me want Mr Kipling to be a real person so I can track him down and laminate him to death.

Even one of my happy places, Marks and Spencer, has made my gorge rise. Upon spotting a pair of jeans in the sale, I went to try them on. My progress was impeded by the enormous sign telling customers they couldn't try anything on because there was a sale on. Eh? When I bought the strides and got them home, M&S had compounded its sins by messing with its usually spot-on sizing and they were hilariously big. A colleague also mentions the high-heeled boots available in the children's section (from size one) as more evidence of M&S having turned into a wrong 'un.

At least I'm not alone in all of this. Bringing up the topic of retail rage, everyone seems ready to vent. "When Topshop stabs security tags through the most visible bit of leather on every pair of gloves!" "The changing rooms in Comptoir des Cotonniers that have no mirror so you have to parade your ill-fitting garment choices on the shopfloor!"

Even Amazon doesn't escape from this explosion of wrath. "Express delivery? The birthday gift arrived expressly 24 hours after it was of any use!"

The only good thing about the timing of our ire? No one's really got any money to spend at the moment because it's now January. Which, when I come to think of it, is all the fault of those damn shops too...

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