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  • Karl Walker-Finch

A sterile box of consumerism



I went to give blood on Wednesday. Because my local mobile donation units are closed (due to COVID) I had to travel to the donor centre by making a journey that I generally avoid, I had to travel into the centre of Bradford.

I must say, the donation process was a fantastic experience, Sakia, who told me she was training, was ace. I’d have never known she was training had she not told me. If it was not for the inconvenient location, I would go there every time forever more.

I’ll get to the point. The best place to park, so I thought, was the retail park that backs on to the donor centre. Normally I’d expect this particular sterile box of consumerism (credit to my wife for this name, sterile referring to the lack of character in the agglomeration of chain stores, not the level of cleanliness) to be fairly busy on a Saturday, particularly before Christmas. I naively thought that given there’s a global pandemic still looming large, Bradford being in their 3 whatever that means now, most people would be choosing to shop from home or support their extremely vulnerable local businesses, rather packing like sardines into Sports Direct.

How wrong I was.

It took half an hour just to get out of the car park. Half an hour of cars jostling for position to funnel through the mini roundabout

No doubt the problem was amplified by the “lockdown” which it seems rather than allowing people to gradually accumulate their seasonal gifts, has forced everyone to go out at the same time. Concocting a COVID cocktail as people ransack the shelves.

Half the nation it seems are missing their families, friends, loved ones in all shapes and sizes. They’re isolating and they’re frustrated and the recurrent peaks and waves on animated graphs on the news, desperate to do their part to do their part to regain some semblance of normality as soon as things start to settle.

The other half of the nation don’t appear care and are hitting the shops like zombies, going out for drinks with groups of friends and acting generally with a flagrant disregard for the damage they may be causing.

As we’re entering the depth of winter where the most vulnerable really do suffer, now is not the time to be jacking in all the safety barriers we’ve constructed in the last nine months.

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