You think *you* had a bad Christmas?

Many readers will be reeling at the dreadful experience suffered by the Jones family from Wildwood, Stafford over the festive period. Their plight was brought to my attention by my friend Paul yesterday.

For those not aware of their story, readers of a faint heart and those with a nervous disposition may want to stop reading here. Certainly anyone under the age of 18 should not read beyond this point.

The Jones family’s Christmas was wrecked by the son’s discovery of an insensitive question within one of the crackers they’d bought from Wilkinson (mistakenly referred to in the article as Wilkinsons). It asked them to name the twin skyscrapers, 1,361 feet high, that are the tallest buildings in New York.

At first, I thought their devastation was caused by the inaccuracy of the fact. The answer to the question was clearly 1 & 2 World Trade Center, yet prior to their demise, 1 WTC stood at 1,368 feet in height, while 2 WTC stood at 1,362 feet.

It later became clear that they were not referring to the inaccuracy of the statistic, but instead to the fact that the towers were destroyed over ten years ago, thus making the albeit inaccurate statistic no longer true.

The image of the Ian Rush–lookalike Tim Jones, clad in pyjamas and holding a partially opened box of Christmas crackers together with the deeply offensive and inaccurate trivia note makes for a sorry picture indeed. He really should have done up an extra button.

His wife, Sheila, was quoted as saying: “I can only assume these crackers are old stock and many years old, printed before the dreadful events of September 11th. I would like an explanation from Wilko.”

Wilkinson has confirmed that an immediate investigation is underway with their suppliers. I expect that Wilkinson will publish a statement to the following effect once that investigation concludes: “These crackers are old stock and many years old, printed before the dreadful events of September 11th.”

Nowadays, we Brits are all too easily “offended”. In truth, the level of offence caused is actually minimal. But by elevating the level of suffering that we went through, we serve two purposes. First, we secure a moment’s fame, albeit at a local level, in this world where fame for the masses has become something that so many people seek. Second, we put ourselves in a position that might gain us a bit of cash by way of compensation for the untold (told) distress caused.

As for the latter reason, the same is true in other walks of life. If you’re uninjured in a car accident, many people are likely to claim injury, partly for their own financial benefit, and partly goaded on by the corrupt insurance business that surrounds the potential claim.

Meanwhile, that the Staffordshire Newsletter deemed this story newsworthy at all is a sad indictment of the state of local media.

Please spare a moment’s thought for the Jones family at this difficult time. The lyrics below were written for people like this.

But say a prayer,
pray for the other ones
At Christmastime it’s hard,
but when you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window,
and it’s a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing
is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there
are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it’s them
instead of you.


One Response to “You think *you* had a bad Christmas?”

  1. Pete on January 8th, 2012 12:16

    Arghhhh! You’re in trouble now. I have a serious ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ intolerance after a bad experience in my youth when I didn’t get all the presents I wanted.
    Seeing those lyrics set me off again. You’ll be hearing from my legal team…

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