Sunday, 9 December 2007

Christmas stopping

Determined not to replicate the blind panic of Christmas Eves past, I braved the crowds in Kingston today for the obligatory hell that is Christmas shopping - an unprecedented (by male standards) full fortnight-and-a-bit before the big day.

If we are in the throes of an economic downturn, then that information clearly hadn't filtered down to the thousands who were clogging up the car parks and stampeding round the Bentall Centre chucking their cash in all directions.

Alas I was just over two hours into my shopping ordeal when fire broke out in MacDonalds in the Lower Ground Floor, the emergency alarms sounded, and a recorded voice urged us to leave 'quietly'. Now, for those unable to imagine several thousand crazed Christmas shoppers leaving the Bentall Centre quietly, the video above will help you with that concept.

The centre was closed for nearly an hour at the height of Sunday trading - at the cost of thousands of pounds to the retailers, but much to the delight of John Lewis who welcomed the sudden influx of rain-sodden evacuees with open cash tills.

No information yet on exactly how the MacDonalds fire started, but no doubt somebody lost at least one star on their name badge for causing that little kerfuffle.