So, even in the prosperous area of Kensington and Chelsea, the credit crunch is starting to bite.
Walking along the Kings Road on Saturday, I popped in to SpaceNK to buy a birthday present for a friend. I spent a good ten minutes mosying around before deciding that the amount I wanted to spend and what I could get there for that money were not adding up to a decent 40th birthday offering.
My hand was on the door to pull it open and leave when the manageress accosted me. "All our gift boxes are half price today."
Half price? But there were no signs, nothing to tell me this. Could it be that they were so desperate for a sale she just decided to be proactive with a customer who looked like she was about to leave? In any case, the sort of present I wanted to give was suddenly a lot more accessible, and what do you know, I spent my money in that shop.
Then I walked over the road and looked in the window of a jewellers I've always liked. Not fancy schmancy, just decent costume stuff, all made on the premises and pretty in an unassuming way. Guess what? 'Credit Crunch Christmas Sale - 70% Off!' The money I had spent in SpaceNK would have bought an even better present here, I thought. I walked in, had a look, wished I had gone there first, and left empty handed (Husband has started asking me to keep reciepts, if you know what I mean...).
But I went back there on Tuesday and bought 6 very respectable family Christmas presents for only £90. And nothing for me - which nearly killed me. (I LOVE that shop). Still, we're keeping receipts - if you know what I mean... (which I guess should feature as Exhibit 3).
Clearly, however, the powers above don't want me to save money. Because yesterday afternoon, beset by two wailing boys, what felt like 57 bags, coats, umbrellas, and in the pouring rain, I parked up outside out flat and didn't notice that that particular resident's bay was suspended. This morning? No car. It had been taken to the pound, where a £260 bill awaited us.