It had other benefits too, in that I learned to navigate around London and I also discovered the best parking places. My favourite was just off Grosvenor Square, near the US embassy. (Sweet revenge on the Americans, putting their embassy in a place they can never pronounce) In the post-Christmas sales, we would drive in early, park there, hit the sales all day, and stagger home with our haul. Despite the exhorbitant cost of parking, we figured to save enough to more than cover it. I would typically find a decent pair of business brogues, perhaps some casual moccasins as well, maybe an everyday suit, and a few shirts to keep me going. These alone would easily justify the trip but my wife would also gleefully add up how much she had "saved" on her outfits, to maximise the percieved benefits (and to persuade me that it really was worthwhile and that we really ought to go again next year).
The sales in France are generally anaemic. The government dictates when they are allowed to happen, in case presumably, some dastardly shopkeeper wants to unfairly sell things that people want, at prices they find attractive, whenever they feel like it. But as the newspapers point out, French people have been shopping online at the London sales since December 27th, some enterprising shops even offering free delivery to the EU. Not fair! We'll have to get the government to do something about that.
We went to the sales here yesterday. Our catch? One meat mincer, one electric grindstone for sharpening blades, a set of titanium screwdriver bits, a pair of gardening boots for me, a roll of chicken wire and a tree tie. I think I've had a change of lifestyle.
The chicken wire is to protect the bottoms of my newly-planted trees from attack by rabbits and hares. Definitely a change of lifestyle.
P.S. I forgot the two pairs of gardening gloves.