Today I had two appointments just off Oxford Street. They were marginally early in the day, so, upon disembarking at Oxford Street Station at 9am, the foot traffic seemed somewhat normal. When I emerged from my engagements three hours later, I felt as if I had entered a true rat race. This is the first December weekend of shopping in London (even though technically today is the last day of November). America has Black Friday and it would appear that London has supercharged Saturday.
People were pushing to get past one another on Oxford Street and I saw more than one person slip off the sidewalk into traffic. Thank goodness traffic itself was moving a glacial pace, otherwise we'd be reporting casualties rather than simple sidewalk chaos. It's not hard to tell from the pictures above that we were near Selfridges. Spot all the yellow bags? However, the real meat of the traffic was present in sections up and down the high street. Hundreds gathered in and around Primark, H&M, Uniqlo, John Lewis and, funnily enough, The Disney Store. High Street fashion is definitely winning this Christmas season.
I jumped on the closest bus I could find to get out of the chaotic mess and vowed not to return until January. Yes indeed, never has there been a better year to commit to online shopping only. However, as soon as I write that I feel somewhat saddened by the thought. Sure, I'm a blogger and should be encouraging everyone to shop online. However, we all know that getting a package in the mail is just not the same as gathering shopping bags throughout a day on the high street.
There's a feeling of victory in discovering that perfect present that you can hold in your hands and take away with you on the day. There's a special win that comes with the numbing of your arms after you've lugged around what feels like close to a hundred pounds of purchases throughout the day. And as you return to your home, lay down your paper bags and collapse in the nearest chair, you look on towards your steals and deals and feel you've conquered as a true hunter/gatherer. Find me an online shop that gives that rush and I'll gladly convert.
So as sure as I sit here and pledge my allegiance to shopping online, I know I am lying outright, to you and myself. I'll brave the crowds. I'll suffer claustrophobia and sore shoulders from bag carrying. I'll complain and moan about all the people around me as I shop. I'll even probably write another post or two about the trials and tribulations of shopping. But for now, I'll just say, watch out for Oxford Street this weekend. Online or on the road shopping, this place is an absolute nightmare that should come with a warning label. Happy hunting and gathering!