Editor’s comment June 2013

Cotswold Life editor, Mike Lowe

Cotswold Life editor, Mike Lowe - Credit: Archant

THEY say that money doesn’t buy you happiness. Really? I think you’ll find the only people trotting out that weary platitude are people who haven’t got any. Money, that is.

Of course money can buy happiness. That’s why we spend millions on the Lottery every week. That’s why we carry around in our heads a mental shopping list for when those magic numbers come up. Big house with electric gates and a pointless hot tub? Check. Ridiculous, undriveable sports car and a Range Rover with rubber bumpers for the wife to drive to Waitrose? Check. Round the world cruise on the SS Norovirus? Check.

Money takes away all your worries. No more stressing over the heating oil bill, the vet’s fees or the exorbitant cost of a tall, skinny latte which, if we’re honest, is just a five bob cup of milky coffee. No more worries about the mortgage or the pension. No more putting your fingers in your ears and going ‘La-la-la-la’ whenever the ominous features of George Osborne appear on the television screen. Now what isn’t going to make you happy about all that?

The doom-mongers have now changed tack and are telling us that having money actually makes you ill. According to a survey – probably conducted by a charity seeking more donors – the rich are falling victim to their over-indulgent lifestyles: fine wines instead of rough cider, foie gras and truffles instead of baked beans on toast, and a sedentary existence rather than the hard graft of clacking away at a keyboard all day. I have to say that I dismissed this out of hand until, last week, I noticed an interesting phenomenon in the car park of a local supermarket. There, occupying two of the available disabled parking spaces, was clear evidence that the theory may well be correct – a brand new Aston Martin and a top-of-the range Audi saloon. True, neither of them was displaying a blue badge, but these expensive vehicles obviously weren’t owned by paupers. It must be true then. Being rich makes you ill.

I SPEND at lot of time at supermarkets, usually loitering around the magazine racks observing people’s buying habits. (It’s my job, Officer, honest.) And I do see some extraordinary things. I’ve long since got used to people who stand there for 20 minutes intently reading Cotswold Life before putting the well-thumbed copy back in the rack. I now go up and offer to buy them a copy on the grounds that while they clearly have an interest in our content, they’re obviously too poor to pay the cover price. This does not always go down well.

But of late I’ve noticed larceny on a grand scale – for instance, customers pinching the bagged up magazines from the Observer and slipping them inside their copy of the Sunday Times. I’ve even seen vandals tearing the lucky numbers off the back page of the Mail on Sunday and pocketing them. Funnily enough, these criminals all seem to be well-to-do people. That’s probably why they can afford to drive Aston Martins and Audis.