Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Pet Health

I’m currently battling the dreaded lurgy and went into Asda yesterday to stock up on Beechams cold tablets, which they’ve got on offer – only to discover that they’ve currently got a lot more on offer…

They’re running a “Pet Health” campaign in association with the PDSA and as part of the campaign, they’ve put on some great deals for pet food and treats. The dogs will be getting a break from the cheapy cheap dog biscuits as I got a 17kg sack of Wagg biscuits for just £7 and a 12 pack of Butchers tins for £3! Midge has eaten Wag before so I’m hoping she’ll tuck in to the biscuits – if not, Snipe will have to munch her way through 17kg on her own! Actually, a lot more than that as I’ll going to get some more sacks as the offer’s on until 25 January. They absolutely love the Chubb sausage things I give them so I’ll mix and match the tins in between the sausages. I also got some rawhide chews for a pound per pack of 4, which is pretty good value.

There didn’t seem to be much for the cats, although that could just be because yesterday was the first day of the offer. I did pick up a 12 pack of Whiskas for £4, which is a huge relief as Asda’s own brand tins have recently shot up to £2.75 for a 6 pack so t’s not been looking good. Unfortunately, I’m never going to get the cats back onto the non-branded tins again… At the same time they put up the price of their tins, Asda put Felix tins on offer (2 for £4) and now they’ve got Whiskas!

Yup, I’m definitely going to bulk buy!

Running around

By the time I arrived at the farm this morning, I felt as though I’d already done a full day’s work!

  • 6am – alarm goes off. Dogs get excited, jump arund bedroom, get cats excited so they join in. Can’t find phone, so alarm carries on long enough to wake B up. B has been off work for two days as she’s not been well so wasn’t impressed with the early wake up call…
  • 6.05 – start the morning routine, letting dogs out, making coffee, brush teeth etc.
  • 7.11 – suddenly realise it’s time to leave the house as B’s on the open and needs to be at the store by 7.30. Only thing is, we’re somehow running very late.
  • 7.12 – abandon B to get my bag ready and head off to collect fruit and veg. Only thing is, there was a frost last night and the car is hidden below a thick layer of ice…
  • 7.18 – head back indoors, having finally finished scraping off the ice. Will drop B off and then go back to get fruit and veg. Notice that cats are out of biscuits and there’s no more in the cupboard…
  • 7.30 – drop B off (on time!), realise I’ve left my phone at home so will have to go home to get it as B needs to text me the time she’s finishing so I can pick her up. Decide to go to Asda to get cat biscuits and then go home after I’ve been to the greengrocer’s to feed the darlings and get my phone. Forget to fill up as I pass my usual petrol station (ie have just got in the wrong lane and there’s no way of turning back), Asda is 1p more expensive so make a snap decision to return to the usual one when I pass it again en route to the farm.

I lost track of time from then on but the rest of the morning went like this:

  • Get the cat biscuits and see they still have Felix tins on offer (2 6packs for £4!) so pick them up as well.
  • Drive to the greengrocer’s and get the fruit and veg for the pigs.
  • Go home, fill up cat biscuits, decide to refill my travel mug with yet more coffee, leave the house.
  • Go to the petrol station, enjoy filling up for 96.9p
  • Get onto dual carriageway and realise that my phone is still at home. Bugger…
  • Decide to pop into Tesco as Snipe’s running low on complete biscuits and Midge recently cleaned her bowl three days in a row having been fed their Value biscuits… At 46p per kg instead of her usual brand at 98p per kg, I’m happy to shop at Tesco! Buy two bags of the biscuits and get a couple of bags for the cats while I’m at it.
  • Leave the car park and see that they’re doing diesel for 94.9p. Swear the whole way to the farm…
  • Farm covered by a thick and hard frost. Am late and its the pigs’ turn to swear.
  • Get them fed and change their water, am forced to use the heel of my wellie to break the ice on their water bowls!
  • Do the chickens, swear at Flint who managed to knock over their jug of corn. Leave happy chickens eating corn off the frozen grass instead of from their hopper…
  • Indoors for a well deserved coffee!

How’s your day been?!

“How could you take a man’s life to save $20 on a TV?”

The darker side of Christmas has been illustrated by the tragic news that on Black Friday, traditionally the first day of the American Christmas shopping season, a man was trampled to death by shoppers looking for a good deal.

A worker at the Long Island branch of Wal-Mart was trampled to death on Black Friday when the doors opened at 5am to let shoppers in. They burst through the doors, sending employees and other members of the public flying, paying no heed as they trampled over them in their desperate rush to get their hands on the weekend-only deals.

When the madness ended, 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour was dead and four shoppers, including a woman eight months pregnant, were injured.

“He was bum-rushed by 200 people,” said Wal-Mart worker Jimmy Overby, 43.

“They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me.

“They took me down, too … I didn’t know if I was going to live through it. I literally had to fight people off my back,” Overby said.

But did they stop, did humanity seep back into their consciousness?

No.

Individual members of the public stopped to help the injured but the mob carried on regardless.

Witness Kimberly Cribbs said shoppers acted like “savages.”

“When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been on line since Friday morning!'” Cribbs said. “They kept shopping.”

Doesn’t it make you sick?

Thanks to Cathy at Maternal Gardens for alerting me to this story. As she says,

Why? Was it really worth the 20, 30, 40% off? That man, who was trampled to death by greedy, gluttonous, ignorant, rude, pathetic holiday shoppers looking for a “deal”, will not get to celebrate the holiday with his family and I pray he didn’t have children.

The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming…

Read more about Black Friday here.

The wish list

It’s nearly that time of year again – though I work in retail so it’s been “that time” for many weeks now and I’m getting The Question: “what do you want for Christmas this year?”. Helpfully*, it’s my birthday just three weeks after Christmas, so this list will do for both.

B has asked me to put a list together but keeps rolling her eyes whenever I say I want practical presents, ones I can put to good use. This includes:

  • home-made Christmas goodies of the edible variety (yes, that’s a hint!)
  • the updated version of John Seymour’s Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency
  • Andy Case’s book, Starting with Pigs: A Beginners Guide
  • any other smallholder books that look interesting
  • pig food
  • bales of straw or hay
  • a new pair of wellies (UK size 6, black or green, no decorations)
  • a new pair of waterproof trousers (small, dark colour, not the ones that rustle every time you breathe)
  • a new waterproof winter farm coat (so I can, from time to time, put one of them in the washing machine! – any dark colour, must be robust enough to survive the brambles and other thorny plants, pockets are good, lots of pockets are better but it needs to have diagonal pockets that you can put your hands in, not the straight ones, if you see what I mean)
  • a waterproof winter non-farm coat (I’ve got one suitable for spring/autumn but there’s no point wearing it in winter – needs to be black, the same issue with the pockets!)
  • a new hat (black, small, little or no decoration, definitely no bobbles etc, maybe one with the flappy ear things for very cold days?)
  • a small, robust and energy efficient radio for the shipping container where I keep the animal food and straw (not one that runs off the mains as the mains ain’t connected!)
  • rubber skips for feeding the pigs
  • buckets with lids for storing stuff like excess corn in
  • I am utterly convinced that such a thing does not exist, but I’d love a wind-up kettle for energy free hot water for coffee (if it doesn’t exist, I hereby declare the idea to be my own and wait for someone to build it so we can share the profits…)

As I said, anything practical.

And yes, having read back through the list, I can see why my nearest and dearest dread buying stuff for me.

Love you all 😀

* Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

Cheeky b^st^ards!

Following on from yesterday’s ramble re: the price of dog food, I just noticed that Snipe’s dog biscuits only lasted 6 days instead of having a little bit left over after a week.

It turns out that Stonehead was right – supermarkets are tricky and sneaky and you need to be on the alert at all times as they can and do use all sort of dirty tactics to squeeze every last penny from you without you even noticing.

I’ve been feeding Snipe ASDA’s SmartPrice complete biscuits. When I moved down here in August, they were 97p for a 2.5kg bag. Then the price dropped to 95p and I thought it was a real bargain, especially with everything else going up in price.

But I just checked the packaging and the reason it went down in price last month is because it somehow lost half a kilo. It’s now 95p for a 2kg bag!

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

On the plus side (there isn’t one, I’m just trying to write a post that has a bit of the upside in it as well as the down, so I mean the plus side of life, not ASDA) Midge has just eaten half a cup of the SmartPrice biscuits mixed in with half a cup of her Webbox ones so it looks as though I can get away with reducing the cost of feeding her 🙂 If I’ve got to get two bags of the SP biscuits every week, I might as well put them to good use.

Oh, and the cheap tins include a lot of gravy to bring the weight of the meat up so it’s a bit of a rip off but one that I can live with. If anyone ever sees dog tins (400g) priced individually for 24p or less or a 6 pack for £1.44 or less, let me know!

Just remember – be on your toes when you’re in the supermarket as they really are sneaky!

A waste of a day

I had an appointment yesterday at the dentist. Only trouble is, it was with my old dentist where we used to live, some hundred miles or so away. But the distance seemed like a good thing, when you consider that one of my teeth has imploded. Only trouble was, I got there to discover that my dentist is ill and all her appointments had been cancelled. Everyone had been informed by post. Mum never forwarded my post so I did a two hundred mile round trip for nothing.

/sighs

On the plus side, I stopped off at Wilkinson’s en route and stocked up on dog and cat biscuits, dog chews, cat nip and those elusive tins of Go Cat as a treat, and even more dog chews. Did I mention the dog chews?

And I also went into the Pound Shop and got myself a snuggly scarf and some wooly insoles for my wellies. The nest time it gets cold, I intend to be nice and warm.

Trouble is, I could have done all that in Cardiff instead of driving all the way to West Wales.

Ho hum!

Pound shop prices

Huh, I am officially unimpressed. I needed some buckets so popped down to my local pound shop and bought 3 buckets for £1.29 each. Not even worth thinking about. But last night I popped into Asda and guess what…. They’re selling buckets for 75p each.

You normally can’t beat the pound shop for their prices on such items. Very much not impressed. Hence the blog post about something so boring. My apologies! You may return to your Saturday 🙂

The cost of living

Before moving to south Wales, both B and I worked in a supermarket, which not only meant we were eligible for the staff discount, we were also in the right place at the right time to stock up on the reduced to clear items, from bread to veg, that were being sold off at silly prices to avoid dumping them in the skip (and, for the record, in defence of supermarket staff across the country, we were only allowed to shop in our time, so could only make said purchases on our breaks). These two things, combined with the fact that we put two large pigs in the freezer and our hens were on a daily egg-laying frenzy, meant that we lived relatively cheaply.

As a result, while I knew that the cost of living has risen drastically in the past year, I wasn’t expecting the shopping bill to be as high as it has been. And the scary thing is that we don’t eat the expensive stuff. Never have. There are a few items where we pick the branded item out of personal preference, but on the whole, we can’t actually tell the difference so buy the cheapy-cheapy stuff as a matter of routine. Which means that we don’t really have anywhere to cut our costs.

So for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying Lidl and Aldi and I have to say that they really aren’t that much cheaper that Asda, which is where we normally shop. Aldi certainly isn’t cheap (I was quite taken aback by their prices, I must admit) and while Lidl is great for the cupboard items (flour, herbs etc) and offers fantastic value on items you can’t really get anywhere else, I haven’t found it to be that competitive and for the sake of just a few quid, I’d rather have the range of products on offer in a supermarket like Asda. Especially as I’d have to go there anyway, as they do the cheapest dog food I’ve ever come across. 95p for a 2kg sack of complete dog biscuits! A bargain!

Ok, there are things we could do to reduce our costs – it just means that quality will have to take second place. I hate that, but what choice is there? Bye bye fresh veg and meat, hello frozen…

Next year should be a bit different, as I intend to have a garden full of fresh produce, which should cut costs for a good long while – especially if I can find a way to store a lot of it for winter. Not counting the potential for jams etc!

But, that’s then and this is now and I wish I could understand why healthy living costs more than crap.

Moving on …

How is it that we’re still in the situation where if you are on a metre, you get charged more than if you had free access? Our rented flat has both electricity and gas on a metre and the costs are appalling. We barely use the gas – the boiler’s switched off unless we need hot water for washing up, we don’t cook long elaborate meals (see above)I frequently get in the bath after B, and the heating isn’t on. What the hell we’re going to do when we need the heating is not something I like to think about but tomorrow’s October, so that time approaches fast.

So why the hell do they get away with charging us more for exactly the same product?

What really irritates me is the knowledge that if we were in a position where we could afford our own home, our living costs would be greatly reduced. I wouldn’t have to drive back and forth everyday to do the pigs and chickens so my fuel bill would be negligible. We wouldn’t have a metre. We could install a log burner (and an open fire!!) to reduce our heating bills. I’d definitely invest in going off the grid when it comes to water. We would pay less each month for a mortgage than our rent. I’d be home all day so I could do useful things like bake my own bread, make loads of stews and soups for the freezer…

But, sadly, that’s a pipe dream and a post for another day (there’s one brewing, I can feel it).