I spent my entire youth working in various shops at weekends and during school holidays. In various branches of Marks and Spencer including the flagship Marble Arch store amongst others and I seem to remember that I absolutely loved it. Indeed, these remain possibly the happiest days of my earning life even though being a comedian is the only thing I ever wanted to be. Less pressure I guess than making people laugh on tap?

And so it is odd now then that I have come to hate shopping so much?

Because shopping is utterly exhausting and especially so, Christmas shopping. I am older of course and perhaps my stamina is waning, but within half an hour of shopping, I am all but done. I marvel at the patience of the shop staff. These people are heroes. Warriors. How they manage to put in an eight hour shift without assaulting a customer is beyond me.

Some shops are more tiring than others with Sports Direct being the most sapping of all? Something about the light or lack thereof and the amount of stock piled so high? I wilt as soon as I get over the threshold. TK Max too – a personal fave shop of mine but at this time of year, it’s rails are so packed, you might not have the finger strength to even make a selection. And if do, then the queue to try it on… ‘Can I try on these trousers here? In the shop. I have undies on…’

Likewise the department stores. Because they are supposed to have everything which means that they often disappoint us – and invariably this means that we need to make a compromise purchase – which itself leads to further disappointment at the time of present unwrapping and needs to be accompanied with…

‘I have the receipt’

Blogs are supposed to be many things and if not entertaining, then at least they should be useful and helpful.

And so let me share some sage advice that I gleaned from my annual shopping excursion yesterday…

If you are going to buy a Le Creuset Casserole dish for someone you love – then make this the last purchase that you make and not the first.

What a schoolboy error.

I am not a tall man and so I cannot really afford the body compression that I put my body through yesterday. Heavily laden, by the time I got back to the car park, I could barely reach to get my ticket in to the machine and how I drove home safely is a wonder?

But I am done with shopping for a year. And so spare a thought for the warriors who work in retail and if you can bare it, get out there and support your local shops.

Happy Christmas readers.

See you on the other side…