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ganting for a discount

The bad news on the shopping front is that John Lewis has just reported "outstanding Christmas sales".

Up 6.2% in the last five weeks to December 31.

I bear no ill will towards this chain of department stores. In fact, John Lewis is to be admired because it is owned by its staff and is a great advert for workers' capitalism.

But I had hoped for a small blip in festive turnover. This might have brought a reduction in an item whose price I have been tracking at John Lewis for two years now. The object of my desire is an article of clothing. Strange, I know, for someone who goes about as a badly packed parachute courtesy of Primark and C&A Barcelona.

I have been ganting for a Gant jacket. Gant, as you probably know, is a fashion brand which peddles New England chic. Collegiate Oxford blazers, lambswool jacquard slipovers, a houndstooth plaid hat in hedge green.

I have not been lusting after any of that. What I want is a classic Gant mid-length jacket. Rainproof and fleece-lined, elegant, understated and ideal for seeing an old codger through a Scottish winter.

At £175 it is slightly out of my skinflint pricing policy. Attempts to negotiate a reduction have fallen on deaf John Lewis ears: "We don't have to cut the price. This Gant stuff flies off the shelves." The Gant shop in Barcelona says the same, despite the collapse of the Iberian economy.

There was a window of opportunity last week when Gant online reduced the price to £122. But by the time I had been into John Lewis to double-check my size and got back on the computer, all the XL jackets had been sold.

So, it's back to Plan A which is to get a job at John Lewis and qualify for a partner's discount.

Plan B is to search charity shops. Or maybe hope that someone reading this has a perfectly good Gant classic mid-length jacket, size XL, colour optional, hanging unused and unwanted in the wardrobe.

Plan C is to abandon penny-pinching and pay the price. I could probably scrape together £175 if I gave up buying drink for the rest of January.

Which I think I will do because I'm worth it. My liver agrees, by the way.

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