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Mandatory extreme Xmas shopping

By Peter Boyle

You must have noticed that the Xmas decorations are rapidly spreading all over the shopping malls, unsubtly signaling another season of extreme shopping and extreme credit card abuse. This year, of course, you won't be shopping-till-you-drop just for the greater profit of the giant retail companies. You'll be shopping to save the economy from the global capitalist crisis -- don't be surprised if the Rudd government passes a law making it extreme Xmas shopping mandatory as part II of his “economic security strategy”!


Westfarmers, which owns Coles, Kmart and Targets, enjoyed a 34% rise in annual net profit last financial year ($1.05 billion after tax) but is now worried that sales are slowing in its department stores. Its main competitor Woolworths, which owns the Big W department stores, made $1.6 billion last year and has the upper hand.


Both these companies want your Xmas shopping bucks. And they aim to get it whether you can afford it or not. Woolworths alone has issued 3.8 million credit cards -- contributing in no small way to the record $44 billion Australian credit card debt.


Extreme Xmas shopping has been a corporate advertiser's staple since the Coca-Cola Company's Xmas advertising in the 1930s popularised the red and white cartoon image of Santa Clause by a US advertising artist, Haddon Sundblom.


While it is an urban myth that Santa Claus was invented by Coca-Cola, the depiction of Santa in the red and white outfit did displace a more varied depictions of Santa Claus/St Nicholas. Earlier outfits of Mr Claus varied from brown, Davey Crockett-like, numbers to variations on formal Papal attire. And Santa was more likely to growl, “I'm gonna whack you naughty kids” than do the “yo ho ho!”.


But I want to remind all Green Left Weekly readers that you need not enrich the corporate retailers with every pressie you buy this Xmas. Instead, you can give all your best friends and family a gift of a subscription to Green Left Weekly.


Join the scores of readers who have already taken up our call for $20 ($10 for a seven-issue introductory gift sub and $10 donation to the Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund). Or better still make a bigger Xmas present to Green Left Weekly and buy a year's subscription for a friend or relative.


Send the details of the person you would like to give a introductory subscription to, along with your $20 cheque or money order, to Green Left Weekly, PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007, phone it through on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia). You can also make direct deposits into to the Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund at: Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 901992 or donate online .


1 Com:

Credit Cards | October 22, 2008

The fact that Woolworth said they would distribute almost 4 million "extra" credit cards simply blew me away. I think as the holidays grow near, we'll see more gimmicky promotions and over-the-top incentives by huge retailers to spike their much needed holiday sales.

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