You would think being dead might severely limit a person's shopping habits. As well as most of their other vital functions. But no. Or not necessarily.
To some online global retailers, lacking a pulse doesn't automatically disqualify the deceased from spending money. As long as your personal expiry date precedes the expiry date on your credit card, it might not be too late to arrange a limited spending spree, if such a thing exists. Terms and conditions will apply. An all-purpose disclaimer worthy of a second-hand car salesman or an investment adviser.
It is a closely guarded secret - which I am about to reveal to you - that many international organisations such as [name deleted for legal reasons] and [ditto] have what their employees refer to as 'ghost departments'. That may sound like an optimistic belief in an afterlife, some sort of shopping heaven, but sadly it isn't so.
Telemarketing calls from ghost staff could include such phrases as, "Is the cardholder able to come to the phone? If the answer is no, please enter their password now, if you can. Or press * to retrieve it." To assuage any pesky worries on our part, regarding possible jail time for example, they often assure us that "No Sales Representative will call." Although I somehow suspect a sheriff's deputy with a tin star attached to his wallet may turn up eventually.
The majority of people alive buy now and pay later, and it's not really their fault if they kick the bucket before it arrives, along with the spade and the airline tickets to Copacabana Beach in Rio. Envelopes bearing the words 'Funeral Plan Opportunity!' drop through my letterbox regularly since I turned 75, and I return them unopened to sender, with the phrase 'No Longer at This Address!' scrawled across the front. Let them make of that what they will.
It does seem sensible, however, to have a system in place whereby dead people, or their leftover wealth, can purchase things that will afford them some comfort after they have toppled from the twig.
I'm thinking particularly of a funeral carriage with prancing black horses, a pure white Carrara marble mausoleum with a panic button linked to a police station, a commemorative park bench cleaned weekly by means of an endowment fund, and - last but not least - a tribute concert. The precise details of participants will depend on whether such people as Joe Brown and Marty Wilde outlive me.
Understandably, it is easier for dead people to sell things rather than buy them, and also looked on more favourably by beneficiaries in their will. One thinks of Elvis Presley's blue suede shoes - mine are not the originals, unfortunately - but how gaga would you have to be to bid $75 thousand for Lady Gaga's teacup and saucer? There was lipstick on the cup, she hadn't even washed it. Or John Wayne's toupee for $6,000? Not yet, thanks.
On reflection, it seems a great pity that our birth certificates don't have an expiry date on them, so that we could go on spending right up to the crack of doom, when all debts traditionally fall due. Failing that, we might as well continue ordering online, until one day we really are 'No Longer at This Address.' Perhaps by then we'll finally be in shopping heaven, where all car dealers are honest and there aren't any gold bricks for sale.