Not long afterwards, I heard the first jingle bells of the year on the car radio, always a sign that it’s time to buy an iPod. But it wasn’t the bells that confused me most, although they ran it a close second. It was that this was an advertisement for a sofa company called DFS – sometimes they have a sale on – and they made it sound like they were offering an amazing service by being able to deliver a sofa before ‘you know who’ arrived, hence the accompaniment of the jingle bells.
That’s a sofa, then, arriving before Christmas. In the space of ‘only’ 12 weeks. Three months. A quarter of a year. That’s enough time to sail to New York 12 times. Enough time to get about halfway to Mars. To deliver a sofa.
Yes, I know, sofas require a fair amount of manual construction and you’d even call some of those who do it craftspeople. But ultimately, this is machining some wooden joints, pulling material over the frame and banging in some staples.
So I just don’t get it. But I still understand that more than I understand the Amazon Prime commercial I heard this afternoon. The ad reminds you how annoying it is if you run out of things at inopportune moments: sweets during kids parties, that sort of thing. No doubt that is frustrating.
Amazon reminds you that you can buy things from it and get them delivered within an hour, subject to conditions: you need to live in a certain place (less than an hour from a depot, obviously), spend more than £20 per order and subscribe for £79 a year.
Buying something and having it shortly afterwards, then. How novel. It sounds almost like, I don’t know, a shop, only popping to the shop doesn’t involve a minimum spend every visit and an annual subscription of 80 quid.
Perhaps I’m not cut out for modern life. None of these things, I suppose, is designed for cynical, grumpy, 40-year-old blokes like me. I have no reason to involve myself with it. Which is why it is a work of rare skill on their part that by the time you read this, I will be a subscriber, all so I can watch a TV programme starring middle-aged men falling over.