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When the world goes mad

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In his weekly Ward's World column, John Ward discusses Black Friday...

Every now and again we seem to be the victims of assorted ‘events’ that one way or another might see us end up with us getting our wallets and purses out to delve into to support such proceedings.

The most recent being what was/is officially (?) Black Friday or as my mum, of the people of the people, might call it ‘Coal-Bucket Day’ where some of the world goes mad to rush out to buy things they probably don’t really want or have need of but, well, the price is right.

John Ward (53493846)
John Ward (53493846)

Oddly the ‘Friday’ reference seems to be meaningless as weeks before – and much after now as I scribble away on this very subject – there are ‘still great, last minute (?) deals to be had!’ with perhaps the emphasis on being had being more appropriate in some situations.

For some time now I have been keeping an eye on the price of one article that if the ‘price is right’ I will buy, but despite assorted outlets quoting ‘best ever prices’ it’s still the same as it was last February with the latest, up to date ‘pricing structure’ being reduced by a mere 90p among three different suppliers.

However, I have this inner feeling by the time it comes down to a realistic, to my mind anyway, price level it could well be looked upon as a collectors’ item and I could end up once buying it, being in a very long queue to have it valued on a well known television antiques programme.

These ‘sales’ don’t really get to me as I can’t be bothered as yet again it’s another American imported idea I gather, like Halloween, but there are, of course, those who thrive on such stuff as they must ‘buy something’ then wonder a few weeks (in some cases it’s been narrowed down to mere days or even hours after)later if they needed it after all anyway?

A few weeks prior to ‘Coal-Bucket Day’ (or you might prefer the updated version as in ‘Darth Vader Day’ should you happen be a Star Wars film fan) I overheard a little gem which shows the education level in this day and age when I overheard a couple, perhaps in their twenties age-wise, talking recently.

They were discussing the merits of ‘Bonfire Night’ that used to be on November the fifth but is now on a staggered, all year round timetable as any excuse to let fireworks off is good enough – be it a birthday, a new tattoo, the mortgage paid off or whatever but traditionally it was reserved for just November the fifth or ‘Guy Fawkes night’ as it was more commonly known as.

It was the Guy Fawkes bit that the couple mentioned, amid other things, as when the man said it was ‘all to do with Guy Fawkes and all that stuff’ that the lady responded by asking if he had ‘charted yet?’ as it was obvious she thought that Guy Fawkes was a singer/warblist.

Although it’s true Guy did have a band or group of friends with the same, shared interests but singing was perhaps not on their parchment list at the time but it’s worth pointing out that he was also called Guido Fawkes as Guy was perhaps his stage name, possibly in case he ‘charted’.

To give Guy his due, he perhaps wanted a sell-out event with ‘Full House’ signs up outside with a performance that would truly have ‘brought the House down’ in more ways than one but events took a turn as history tells us but my dad always said at least he went into the House with possibly good intentions, depending on your outlook, of course.

Back to Coal-Bucket Day then: some years ago I did buy, but we needed one anyway, one particular bargain which was a version of the lesser stringed banjo or as it’s most widely better known as, a frying pan.

I was particularly taken by the product description on its multi-coloured packaging as it stated it was ‘made and designed by modern state of the art technology’ (bear in mind this was a frying pan or a string-less banjo awaiting such bits as said strings etc) and joy of great joys – it was made from ‘a ceramic substance that was an offshoot of the space programme’ (assume either Star Trek or Red Dwarf but I’ll let you pick which) which surprised me to a degree.

It’s hard to think that when a mission nips off to the likes of the Moon, Mars and if time allows a quick shufty around Pluto, that as well as looking for samples of any life form on such planets that the next thing on the crew’s minds is getting back safe and sound to earth in order to have the front end of their spacecraft recycled to be made into frying pans plus if anything was left over, perhaps ceramic matching nutcrackers and corkscrews in presentation gift set boxes in time for Christmas.

A friend still cherishes his ball point pen that was also quoted as being an ‘offshoot of the space programme’ so after swanning about in their space vehicles visiting other planets, as once back here work was not just confined to stringless banjo construction to be used for cooking but also ballpoint pens as well – we are truly spoilt in such modern times.

So if we are to believe all the manufacturers’ blurbs written on assorted items, not only could these lunar landing or day trip craft get folk to other planets but being so versatile that when they came back they could be made – or recycled to keep it trendy sounding –into everyday items for folk who want that ‘something extra’ in their lives.

To be fair it was the supposed technology that was the backbone of some of these delights but in the advertising world, no silliness is ruled out if it means somebody will be there clutching their bag of cash – card users queue in aisle two – to buy the latest whatyamacallit in whatever it is that nobody else so far has got, or in the case of assorted sales, or wants.

Be nice to know if there is a week or day going spare when not having a designated ‘sale’ for something or other – ceramic or otherwise.

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