When is a bargain not a bargain?

When is a bargain not a bargain?

First published in News by

I AM one of my moaning moods again. ‘No surprise there then’, I hear you sigh.

Retail chains keep posting me promotions or shouting at me from the telly that they have bargains I would be a fool to miss.

I am a fool because despite previous disappointments, off I trundle to try to capture a bargain only to find the said item off sale and a lame excuse as to why.

The managers are programmed to make us believe it’s our fault for misunderstanding everything ‘We’ve been so busy we’ve sold out’.

No you haven’t, I was the first person to come in to the store and your ad was on the telly half an hour ago. That’s why I got out of bed.

I could have stayed between the sheets and enjoyed an argument with Ms Nomates instead of trading retail clichés with you’.

Then they say, ‘it’s in the small print, we’re not a participating store so we don’t get stock of that item’. ‘Yes you are, and you got it yesterday. You didn’t get enough. You get daily deliveries, somebody already told me that’.

I am only allowed to mention names if my complaint is true based on my own personal experience.

On several occasions it has been Tesco that has let me down.

The last disappointment was dishwashing tablets, which were out of stock on the same morning their TV ad promised a price reduction.

I made a special journey on seeing the ad because keeping a dishwasher happy can be as expensive a keeping a woman happy.

We men have to find ways to save on bills in order to spoil or women.

I would have bought a case full –of tablets, not women.

Of course I kicked off when they had none in stock but did it make any difference? Not one jot.

In Tesco’s universe I am but a speck of dust. My trouble is that I’m like dog with a bone and I have to carry things on.

‘Get a life’ I hear you say. I would have more of my life to myself if I did not believe TV advertisements.

What I found incredible was that during my visit to the store, not one member of staff was able to tell me or find out from their very sophisticated system whether they had any tablets in stock in the warehouse and if not when the tablets would be in again.

Nobody actually checked in the warehouse.

To be fair, to one member of staff did take me to the shelf where I had spent the last half investigating the shelf layout and SEL’s (shelf edge labels).

What I don’t know about SEL’s isn’t worth knowing.

I know, my personal shopping assistant, and she is a lovely woman when she is in civvies. It is the ‘uniform’ thing.

I have always said it, have I not, that once somebody dons a uniform they change.

The good lady knows I am not blind. I can see for myself where the tablets should be. They should be in the empty space.

Supermarkets have planograms because nobody in store is capable of organising stock on to shelves.

Once the uniform goes on she becomes a Tesconian. We read every SEL together. We search every nook and cranny of the shelf together. She told me there are no tablets on the shelf and that the very important SEL is missing.

I already knew that.

Could it have been stolen? Was it a fanatical terrorist group who visit stores to deprive them of their SELs. ‘The SEL Liberation front’? Should we send for the police? No, it was my fault, I was confused about the advertising.

To praise my assistant, at least she knew her way round the store and could actually find the dishwashing section.

The one person who knew anything about the missing tablets was ‘busy doing tickets’ whatever that means. It is obviously a very important job, too important to be disturbed and asked a ‘yes or no’ question.

You have to ring head office if you want a definitive answer, which is what I did to prove to myself that I have not been hallucinating. Yes they were on promotion and yes the store should have had them.

I understand that members of staff become absolutely shocked and stunned that anyone should make such a fuss about a tiny item.

I am an inconvenience.

Dishwasher tablets are not the sexiest item in store are they? The world will not end if I do not have my daily tablet will it? No, but it isn’t about the tablets is it?

It is the constant claims by suppliers that they can help us to improve our lives. Yes ‘every little helps’ providing ‘every little’ is available. Needless to say I walked out without spending a penny.

Talking of every little helps, LIDL also has too little in stock of advertised promotions.

The chilled offers are often sold out within a couple of hours on the first day.

We are told WIGIG, which I know to be ‘When It’s Gone It’s Gone’. I did not spend years in the grocery trade not to know a WIGIG when I see one. I have had my share of experiences with BOGOFs and I have also had a few SODOFF’s, which is what the staff says behind my back. LIDL, get more stock in! Not everyone wants to shop bang on 8am.

Advertising hits us from all angles.

Why the banks still send me reams of information goodness only knows. They know I’ve got no money. Maybe they want my debt.

They’re good with debt.

I thought they were all struggling to pay millions in bonuses so a big postage bill will be the last thing they need.

Informing us that their terms and conditions have changed, for the worse, has to be a drain on their resources.

‘In order to offer a better service to our customers we are increasing charges’.

No you’re not, you are increasing charges to pay for bonuses and the directors’ Christmas party and the directors’ birthday parties. You are increasing charges to fund the extra cost of sending me a notice telling me that you intend to put up charges’.

I don’t know how you feel about junk mail but I find it something of an imposition and mine usually goes straight in to the bin or rather it used to. The latest craze for unsolicited junk comes from those companies who promise cash for gold.

I am in the national database as a fool who has squandered everything on pleasures of the flesh. Why bother me? Do they think I can afford jewellery for myself?

This is one junk mailer you can really hack off. You might think this is not funny but it amused me. I filled their very strong bag with stones out of the garden and posted it with a letter with these words.

‘Dear Sirs saying ‘than you for your unsolicited appeal for gold. I have spent a full day mining these nuggets especially for you. I feel positive that you will remember my name and not send any more mail. Have a nice day’.

I signed it ‘The Gold Meister’. Do you think I’ve done a bad thing? Probably but maybe it’s the schoolboy in me.

Another good way to make a point is to collect all of your unwanted mail for the month, pack it all in to the biggest envelope you can find then write on ‘return to sender’ or ‘not known at this address’ and send it the most annoying offender. Let their office sort my mail.

I’ve just had a thought.

Maybe if it weren’t for the junk mail mountain our dedicated postmen and women would have nothing to deliver and we would lose a fundamental character of our ‘Britishness’.

Who would bring my Marks and Spencer vouchers, my Co-op divi and my Tesco points?

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