Has the mainstream media lost its mind?

How much money do they think we have?

I’m mainly looking at you, Stylist and Time Out, available at Tube stations for free to the general public. I at least expected better of the usually more ‘everyman Londoner’ latter, who in last week’s gift guide suggested we might buy the man in our life a pair of £240 trainers and labelled the gift of a £65 men’s jumper a ‘Scrooge’s Choice’. How dare they suggest I’m miserly when that might be all I can afford on one person. If anything that makes me Bob bloody Cratchit.

If they are basing their content choices on a statistical average of earnings in London, therein lies an issue. Let’s go back to school for a moment *puts Carol Vorderman dress on*, pretty much all averages in these findings are calculated as Median (totalling the values together, then dividing by the number there are) thus generally skewing the outcome to a higher figure, especially in the case of wages. If calculated as Mode (the value that appears the most often), the majority of people who are reading these publications are on lower than ‘average’ earnings.

Now, I don’t mind a bit of aspiration, we all like nice things and to look at nice things thinking maybe we could strive to have the nice things. Fashion shoots are never an accurate depiction of our lives, but we get the point and trot down to H&M to find an equivalent inspired piece. A shopping edit is a very specific reference to purchase, there’s no need to be alienating, or for that matter, ridiculous – both publications have featured an ‘anti-smartphone’ which is essentially an old mobile phone (remember those?) for £229. Two-hundred and twenty-nine English pounds for basically your old Nokia. Do get in the bin.

Editors, I know you’ve been inundated with press releases since June, it’s no stretch of the mind to understand that Christmas is a tough time for many, compounding existing money pressures in this age of cuts. I’m sure there are more realistic mid-range products on offer, no-one wants the Argos catalogue to look appealing. You may think you’re helping, but you’re way off. Leave the gold arse-scratchers to the FT’s distastefully-named supplement How to Spend It, and look again at your readers.