Acknowledging the design of the Christmas jumper creates a shared experience of festive consumerism, allowing the jumper to supersede the material and enter the intangible and quasi-sanctified realm of celebration. This new hyperreality is a joyous state that plain knitwear is simply incapable of rendering.
So while many of us understandably feel the pressure to provide at Christmas, it's worth taking the time out to stop and think about what really matters. Show-stopping gifts are great, but there's more to life than the latest big ticket items which, according to our survey at least, bring just a short-lived sense of joy.
However, the thematic review should have been much clearer about when non-compliance was identified and whether the firms responsible are still trading. Until we tackle the institutional misrepresentation of the industry it will be difficult for consumers to break free of out of date financial services and embrace new technology and new attitudes to financial management.
Companies design for planned obsolescence - so that products breakdown forcing us to buy more and more often. But it was us that created psychological obsolescence. We want the newest, shiniest whatever the second it is available regardless of whether the slightly older, slightly less shiny thing is still working perfectly or is in no way demonstrably inferior.
Only about 25 per cent of online consumers impulse buy - a lot less than when they are in store. It's clear that online stores are currently missing a significant revenue opportunity. Rather than trying to define future purchases based on previous consumer behaviour, ambient ecommerce focuses on the 'here and now'.
Spend, spend, spend: London's retailers were rubbing their hands together in anticipation at the start of October, and not because of any early pre-Christmas splurge from UK shoppers. The glimmer in their eyes was down to an influx of thousands of Chinese tourists, who see London as one of the bona fide luxury centres of the world...
Energy companies should be more transparent and structured in the way they justify price increases. The disparity between what Ofgem and the energy companies have said has left the latter in an awkward position. The four energy firms that have announced price hikes so far, have said that the rises are due to increasing wholesale prices, and the cost of transporting energy to homes.
I hate VAT. I hate it as both a business owner and a consumer. But I hate it even more when it's not 'wrapped up' within the price of the product or service that I am purchasing, as a consumer. So why do professional services, that are selling to the consumer, quote fees that are 'exclusive', or 'plus VAT'? It has never made sense to me.