Winter clothes from Amazon are available 24/7. And that’s not even their biggest problem

“Back in the day,” says our Airbnb host, “you would go out the night before Christmas and ring at 2am and get an apartment you could sleep in. Then if you wanted to go on a holiday, you’d book up all the beds. Nowadays it’s the opposite. You’re more interested in getting a one-bedroom place in Venice.”

“Back in the day” wasn’t often: according to the site’s latest Research Conducted Against a Collusive Media Narrative study, 74% of US internet users say it’s difficult to anticipate what’s going to be on TV or online at a specific time. “And,” add its authors, “few people report being particularly surprised by real-time events or emergency news.”

It’s true. In the US, where Black Friday was invented, you can observe a slow drip of different examples: for a while, the news networks wouldn’t show much in December, and Christmas was barely on when we went to see it; at other times the places we wanted to visit or book were either out of reach or simply awful. To have loyalty schemes that make a difference, as Amazon has done, we had to be prepared to sacrifice an entire weekend (a small price, perhaps, for the pleasure of spending less money on stuff).

Unfortunately, these days our phone and laptop always have us in front of them, which makes us feel ever more enslaved. If you ask a person in America, if a boss or company is going to fire them over the next weekend, they’ll say yes because they’ll be stressed about it. But in France, people not that stressed about their jobs can accept redundancy with the understanding that they’ll be rehired in several months’ time. And a few days a year you still get to sleep in.

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