Former England captain / longtime Chelsea fixture John Terry (above, right) has received no shortage of negative attention for off-the-pitch behavior in his long career. At various times, Terry’s been criticized for offenses including but not limited to boozing it up at an airport bar while 9/11 coverage was being shown on an overhead TV, cheating on his wife (with a teammate’s girlfriend) and more recently, directing a racial slur at QPR’s Anton Ferdinand. However, at no point previously has Terry been publicly rebuked for being a bargain hunter, but that’s precisely what the Guardian’s Barbara Ellen has done upon learning the 33 year old centre back — earning £170k a week — was spotted shopping for christmas decorations at Poundworld. “People who live in poverty are dehumanised enough,” argues Ellen, “their problems trivialised enough, without this new wave of retail-condescension gaining traction.”
Call me old fashioned, but there’s something very tacky about the well-off slumming it in an effort to look “dahn with the people”.
Who cares? Perhaps we all should. The key motifs of slumming appear to be narcissism, disassociation and presumption. When people slum it, there’s the sense that only they are real, only they matter, and everything and everyone else are just props and backdrops.
Most people in budget shops are there because that is all they can afford. Their lives shouldn’t be visited as if they were some kind of intriguing new theme park. Nor could anyone presume to know exactly how their lives are, just because they buy the same cut-priced fish-fingers.
Ellen references Pulp’s “Common People” a few times, but seems less interested in the entirely probable conclusion that in addition to being a jerk, Terry is simply cheap.