Closed for the holidays

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Although you’re probably reading this in January – despite numerous people telling me they have far better things to do in January than read my column – I am writing it prior to Christmas.

The reason I’m writing it before Christmas is that if I waited to write my January column in January, experience has shown me that you’d likely never get to see it: New Zealand is closed for January, so the logistics of getting my words in front of your eyeballs over that period are difficult.

When I say, ‘New Zealand is closed for January’, I know it’s not completely closed – malls will still be jam-packed and Black Wednesday/Cyber Tuesday/Halloween Clear-Out/Valentines-Minus-100-Days/Boxing Day/New Years Day/New Years Eve Day/Day after New Year Day sales will still be pumping – and in a perverse twist of logic, it seems the less cash we have, the more we’re compelled to spend.

Finding things tight? Mortgage repayments leaving you penniless? …
…come on in and buy a new battery powered, solar, inflatable, Barbie scooter with air fryer attachments and built-in IOT fridge tracking app – only $4,999.99, payable over 16 years, interest free, Ts and Cs apply.

Thank God for consumer finance, credit cards and Afterpay – otherwise I’d almost start to think I couldn’t really afford the new Barbie-scooter thingy.

You know there was a time, way back in the dark ages, when people only bought things they really needed and which they could afford to pay for. I know, ridiculous aye?

Like I was saying before my thoughts were interrupted by the Briscoes lady yelling at me from the lounge – apparently they’ve got a surprise 24-hour sale coming up soon – New Zealand may be closed when you read this … well the fast-food places won’t be closed, of course, because … well … they just can’t be: how else would we eat?

But the shops will be … well not like the Warehouse and Kmart because we’ve got to be able to return the Christmas stuff that we didn’t want, or that didn’t fit, or that didn’t work, or that we were gifted three of, or that we really just want to swap for a cooler version – you know the routine – but the rest of New Zealand will be closed.

I mean retail shops probably won’t be closed because they’ve got to compete with the Warehouse and Briscoes, and if they’re in the mall, they have to open as part of their lease terms, but the other businesses will – except for the pub and the ‘hospo’ places – they’ll still have the doors open so they can make some money on the stat day surcharges.

Actually, the gas station (which used to be called a garage, before it morphed into a service station, long before finally evolving to be a café, Subway and minimart that sells petrol and electricity and carwashes) will still be open in January – which is good news because there are frequently January days that require me to buy an emergency steak and cheese pie and a diet coke.

And the dairy … yeah, the dairy’s open 365 because they just get me. Nice one.

I suppose the dairy has to be open throughout January to compete with the supermarkets and the gas station/minimart ‘thingys’ – I mean they’re open like al-l-l-l the time!

Now I come to think about it, New Zealand’s not actually closed for January anymore – except if you’re my lawyer, a plumber, a school student or a parliamentarian – maybe I could have waited until Jan 1 to have written this column after all … Nah, come January, I’m closed for business.

Related: Here comes the sun, and I say … it’s alright

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Alan Neben
Alan Neben
Publisher, Bay of Plenty Business News

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