A Christmas appeal on behalf of the shopkeepers of Britain
These are desperate times. Severe economic decline has slashed the profits of countless UK companies. Customer numbers in our retail heartlands are in freefall. The credit crunch has bitten, and it hurts.
The situation is now critical. Many shops are struggling to sell things, especially luxury expensive goods, and their tills are empty. Merchandise that would normally be flying off the shelves is staying resolutely unsold. Store managers have become downcast and dejected, and many of their low-paid staff face imminent redundancy.
At this very special time of year, Britons are normally willing to buy anything and everything in the name of consumer commercialism. They head for the shops and rack up enormous debts purchasing novelty gifts, expensive gadgets and party nibbles. But this is not a normal year, and this is not a normal Christmas. The world has entered an era of deep depression, and it's all your fault for not buying stuff.
Today the Great British High Street faces a severe shortage of shoppers. Shelves are not being emptied, carrier bags are not being carried, and credit card transactions are at breaking point. Should this desperate situation continue much longer, many much-loved High Street names face certain liquidation. This is a national crisis and no mistake.
And it could get much worse. We're only a few weeks from the beginning of the sale season, which usually leads to manic purchasing and snapped-up bargains. But this year an already severe situation has been compounded by continuing cash shortfall. Traditional "25% off" notices have appeared earlier than ever before, several weeks before Christmas Eve, and it's not a pretty sight. The economic future looks bleak.
We need to act now. We need to show UK shopworkers that we care. We need to go shopping. And we need to go shopping today.
Get involved. Get down to your local High Street and throw some money in their general direction. Dig deep into your pockets. Take out a loan if necessary, but whatever you do don't come back until your arms are heavily laden with produce. Imagine the joy on the faces of the till staff as your VAT-free coppers tinkle loudly into their hands.
Remember, there are many exciting, valuable and easy ways to support UK Retail plc. Why not drive to your nearest out of town warehouse and take advantage of all the expenditure opportunities provided? Or log onto your favourite online store and donate large sums of money to their unseen coffers? Or pop round to Canary Wharf and offer your life savings to some needy bankrupt fund manager? Generating additional economic activity such as this is vital to the nation's continued productivity and wellbeing.
Give whatever you can afford, and then some. Stretch your credit to bursting point and pledge as much as you're able. Pretend it's an ordinary Christmas and buy things you don't really need and that other people don't really want. Your continued financial sacrifice can help to keep the nation's shareholders afloat.
Please buy something today. Every penny counts, and your selfless donation could save a job. Support the shopworkers of Britain today, and together we can make a real difference.
What's on this weekend? Spring Into Summer Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 May
40 free guided London walks. Purley Festival Friday 29 - Sunday 5 June
Bunting week, below Croydon. E17 Art Trail Sat 30th May - Sun 14th June
250 arty Walthamstow things.