Tuesday, 23 December 2008


Two days to Christmas, and they should be busy ones. The Grassmarket sees a lot less pedestrian traffic now than a few years ago, but it can still be relatively very busy in the shop. Not supermarket busy, but still one of the two times of year I can get queues at the till. The other being August, when the Festival and Fringe are running.

Towards the latter part of the afternoon on the 24th, people start to have a slightly frenzied look in their eyes, and become slightly less picky. As close as it gets to fossil panic-buying. 'How much is this? What is it?' 'It's a sellotape dispenser. It's not for sale.'

I hate panic buying, though I do find it very funny at the same time as being very annoyed by it. The lines at the petrol pumps whenever a tanker crashes or the price goes up, all those people that rushed to the shop to get four sacks of rice when the nice people on the news told us rice was in short supply. All that. I like to drive past the queues at the petrol station shouting out the window, to encourage the panic. 'Saudi Arabia has disappeared! North Korea has bought all the oil for the next 5 years! Quick! Fill your pockets with petrol! See how much you can carry in your hands!'

I'd love to see some real panic buying of fossils. People running in screaming, throwing cash on the counter and taking something before running out still screaming. I've heard that there is to be a world fossil shortage next year.

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