I am beginning to think there's a subterranean metropolis located somewhere around junction 10 of the M25 that daily disgorges Porsche Cayennes driven by regiments of GQ men and InStyle women hell-bent on buying as much improbably expensive, hideous and crap clobber as they can stuff into one boot. What else can explain the difference between media reports of the average Briton's shopping habits and the exceptional individuals strolling back from the Co-op with a tin of tomatoes and a bar of Dairy Milk?
The Government's annual "shopping basket" was revealed last week, which provides a gauge of the kind of goods Brits are purchasing. New items on the list included a flat-screen television, an MP3 player, nanny fees, mentholated cigarettes, champagne, liquid foundation and water sports equipment, suggesting the average Britain is a cross between Noel Coward and David Beckham.
The following items were among those dropped from the basket: a small brown sliced loaf, muesli, chocolate-coated biscuits, dishcloths, grass-edge strimmer, a man's casual shirt, adult slippers and a child's car seat.
My blood ran cold when I read this "out" list. Only last weekend I was lolling on the patio in my superb pounds 8.50 Bhs sheepskin- look slippers munching a choccie bicie while my husband performed the first strim of spring in his "country check" shirt from M&S. I felt as though I'd just been awarded an "unclassified" in my shopping exam.
Every fresh retail statistic makes me feel like a consumer klutz.
There's the recent pronouncement from Grazia magazine that the average woman spends pounds 80,000 on shoes in her lifetime. Does she, by heck? If we take it that the prime purchasing age of woman is 20-60, then she's blithely spending pounds 2,000 on heels per year despite the fact the average British annual wage is pounds 25,000.
And here's the weird thing: I thought I could really shop, that I was the Rocky of retail. My family call me Imelda because of my shoe collection. But I have never topped pounds 200 on any given pair, and more than half of them were sales purchases that cost closer to pounds 50. Yet one pair of shoes promoted in a national newspaper this week cost over a grand. How much buckle can you can get for your buck, especially when the difference between a Jimmy Choo sandal and its high-street imitation has dissolved to the point that you're left speechless at the credulity of a person who would pay 10 times over the odds to be given a designer blister?
According to a recent Mintel report, British women spent pounds 350m on bags last year. …