Online spending has doubled in five years and the national electronic weekly spend is £650 million, according to the Office of National Statistics.
That comes as no surprise. Anyone who has a wife, an iPad and a credit card in joint names has more than a nodding acquaintance with the perfect storm.
On the other hand, online shopping has been a bonus even for the technologically challenged among us. We can stroll into any of our deserted high street retailers, examine the displays, pick the brains of the personable young men and women on zero-hour contracts and tell them that we'll "think about it". Roughly translated that means, "I will use my bus pass, go home and get my grandchildren to order it online".
Youngsters reliably inform me that it is possible to buy most things online. Nevertheless, I was surprised when a recent search elicited "joints". Where was the internet in the 1960s when it was needed? However, as usual, I'd made a hash of it. The site belongs to joiners who alter kitchens, not minds.
In my braver and/or inebriated moments, I have rashly suggested (in the presence of female family members) that mail-order shopping should be re-gendered as femail order.
In our house, there are hours of endless feminine fun repackaging goods that are too big/too small, not the same colour as they were on the screen and don't look as good on pear-shaped Aberdeenshire quines as they do on six-foot tall, size-10 models. In my quieter, contemplative moments I sometimes reflect on what happens to those "returns" that boomerang their way back to online retailers. Have the ever-resourceful and inventive inhabitants of Shenzhen discovered how to recycle and repackage crushed and stained semmits and drawers in ways that don't lead to outbreaks of exotic skin conditions?
Attempts to curb the family online frenzy have met with limited (aka zilch) success. Strategically placed Nigel Farage press cuttings warning of armies of IT-literate Romanian infants on their way to steal our credit card details have been greeted with hilarity. Lessons from Greek mythology proving that the Amazon women disappeared because of their predilection for online shopping have been ignored. Moral blackmail based on tax avoidance and zero-hours contracts has been stoutly resisted.
However, rest assured that online shopping will not click with me. After all I am a man, not a mouse.
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