THE sales that launched on Boxing Day were supposed to be the start of a £3 billion spending spree on Britain's high streets.

It didn’t seem like that to me. When I took a wander around Huddersfield, the retail frenzy seemed to be well under control.

Maybe everyone was doing it on the internet, instead?

The opportunity was there. I’ve had emails about online sales from everyone from Argos to Avis.

Booksellers Kobo said I could have Pete Townshend and Justin Bieber for half price but I think I’d rather have my teeth pulled without anaesthetic. A better bargain were £18.99 running tights for £3.79, a deal judged so tempting it was limited to six items per customer. But I remembered the one previous occasion on which I had been persuaded to wear a pair of my wife’s tights on a cold day when I was covering a football match. And the looks I got when I went to the loo at half time.

Coleen Nolan was going for £2 at The Book People and A Young Male Nude by Hippolyte Flandrin was only £5.98 in the fine art clearance section of I suppose I could have got one each for the front room. But then again, no.

New computers were to be had, Cotton Traders had a stack of great deals in sporting fashion, and a holiday company offered me an all inclusive week in Malta for £132 which I declined on behalf of my liver.

But there was no cut and thrust sitting in front of a computer. So off to town we went.

The first inevitable casualty was The Christmas Shop in New Street. That was closed. But you could still buy small festive Santas in one store for 50p a piece if you were inclined to shop early for next Christmas. Even one of the pound shops had a sale: many items half price, said the sign.

The Kingsgate Centre was thronged although many seemed to be out for a change of scenery rather than to spend large amounts of money. I attempted the HMV store, looking for a boxed set of The Killing (I'm very much into Nordic Noir) but it was packed, and in a shop at the other end of town I fell over a "warning: wet floor" sign which someone had knocked flat behind a rack of Rolling Stone sweatshirts. If I’d gone to hospital I could have phoned one of those injury lawyers with a real claim.

"What happened?"

"I fell over a warning sign."

I noticed several shops had taken Nordic Noir to heart with displays of cut price jumpers rarely seen south of Copenhagen.

Detective Inspector Sarah Lund could have made a real Killing. (And yes, I can hear the groans from here).

One shop that was doing great business – without cutting prices – was Greggs. What could be finer than a hot pasty on a cold Boxing Day, a mile away from the nearest turkey left-overs?

Maybe that’s why town was so busy?