Thursday, 19 December 2013

I am a vulture

Well who would have thought it, people coming to blows over a bag of yellow sticker carrots, ha ha. Things are getting out of hand at Tesco in Slough, apparently. When the veg trolley is wheeled out into the shop there is a lot of pushing and shoving going on, and folks are knocked to the ground in a desperate bid to bag a few bargains. Read all about it here.

Thank goodness we are a bit more refined here in North Lincolnshire. I haven't seen any behaviour like this, a few of us gather in anticipation, we hover, we drift off and come back again, and we choose a few item for ourselves leaving stuff for others to pick up. An Asian woman who I see likes the peppers, chillies, and oranges which I don't buy, and she doesn't want the green salads and veg that I want. We don't annoy the assistant while waiting for our turn to get what we want, it's all quite civilised.

I can understand why people are getting in a scrum though. If you don't qualify to receive parcels from a food bank, and you have a lot of mouths to feed, or your income is very low, what else can you do. Normal prices are just too expensive.

I have skimmed through the comments in the news report, and some of them are quite scathing towards people who go yellow sticker shopping. Mind you, that's to be expected from those who have enough money to live on. They haven't a clue what it's like trying to live on a small income, and watching every penny you spend. I take their comments as a personal insult. According to some people, I am a scrounger, a loser, I am greedy, I have no respect and no manners, I am a scavenger, I lack morals, and I am a vulture. Well I don't give a stuff what anyone thinks. I have to make the most of the money I have.

Some of the comments in the paper suggested that shopping at Aldi and Lidl is a cheaper alternative to Tesco. Well I don't agree with that. When I can't get any yellow stickers I will go for the Value, Savers, and the Basics or whatever you like to call them. I get a few items from Aldi, but the majority of what I buy is cheaper in Tesco, with a Value label. Lidl is up the other end of town, I've had a look in there, but came out with nothing. It's not worth my while to make a detour to go there. I don't find anything in Farmfoods, too much convenience and processed food in there. I get a few things from B & M, and Home Bargains, the Cash and Carry, the market, and an Asian shop. I traipse around the different shops to make my money stretch that bit further. Carrying heavy bags, or wheeling my shopping trolley. I would absolutely love to be able to go to Tesco and buy anything I like, stuff the trolley full, get everything in one place. Wheel it to the car and bring it home, no hassle, but it ain't going to happen.

I am managing to keep my head above water, with just enough to pay for what I need, and a bit left for a few treats. I have no spare money to update my house. No money to replace broken or missing tiles on the roof, no money to replace one window, no money for a new door and window on my front porch. I have no spare sodding money, so I will carry on hunting for yellow stickers, because that's how I survive.
Toodle pip.      

53 comments:

  1. You most certainly are not a vulture, like most of us you are doing what you can to get by! I did giggle at the photo that they used to illustrate yellow stickers - something £6 reduced to £4.20. Whatever that was I wouldn't have bought it at that price!!

    Jeremy Vine covered this today - http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03lnbbm/Jeremy_Vine_19_12_2013/ It's about 33mins into the programme.

    When I get rid of this stinking cold I'll be back at Tesco looking for yellow stickers because it does help me. And I'll be only taking what I can use for me and my cats.

    Chuffed I won your quiz!!!

    Linda xx

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  2. Ah but you are wealthy in honesty, resourcefulness, kindness, mercy & creativity..........& the greatest wealth of all......peace of mind.
    I wish you & yours happy Christmastide & a bargainous New Year.
    Metta.

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  3. I listened to quite a heated debate on Radio 2 this afternoon about this, and apparently this kind of fighting happens at a lot of stores. The crime here is that normal prices are so high and so many people do not have the money these days. There is no shame in being on a budget and sensible and intelligent people try to live within their means... but what happens when someone starts nabbing all the yellow stickers before you get a look-in Ilona? It might be hard not to say something... and it could be very easy to end up in an argument over it.

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  4. ive seen this , theres a man goes to Asda in Lincoln at the final markdown and he just scoops up everything he takes his 2 small children as bodyguards . It can get quite heated

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    1. I wonder if the guy is desperate or just plain greedy?
      Carolx

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    2. I think some people are greedy, but it's difficult to tell, not knowing what their home life is like.

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  5. I do look out for yellow stickers but am aware not to be greedy and nab the lot.

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  6. I buy lots of yellow sticker items from various supermarkets but I would never get into a fight over it. I have seen people taking almost everything reduced. I've also stood in one supermarket where a crowd had gathered round the reduced items in the fridge. One customer was picking up each item and shouting out what it was along with the price to see if anyone wanted it, so the people at the back got the chance too. I also had one lady offer to swap reduced items with me when she overheard that I was looking for something she had already picked up. So there are still some nice folk around. Confession, my biggest bargain was a pack of 6 fresh cream doughnuts for 5p. And I ate them all over 24 hours!! I felt a bit sick afterwards but we were in a lot of debt and at that time feeding myself for 5p for a day was worth it.

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  7. I was lucky in Morrison last week i got two turkey crowns for half price , it would be after i had bought a full priced frozen turkey crown though , its a good job we like turkey , looking forward to grabbing some yellow stickers after Christmas, i have lots of space in my freezer ready , i wont fight for it though lol , have a lovely christmas xxx

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  8. I can't say I've seen any aggressiveness, I really refuse to believe yellow sticker shopping is that bad. Very occasionally I will see some mildly rude behaviour that makes me roll my eyes, but nothing like what has been described in the dm. TBH I think the daily mail just like winding people up so they will comment with their 'outraged' opinions - and why bother over the opinions of strangers on the internet? Debbie

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  9. Nobody should have to justify shopping for bargains. We all do what we have to do to live our lives as comfortably as we can.

    Those that judge have more money than sense. I shop around all the time. My family think I'm nuts sometimes, but they all benefit from my bargain hunting.

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    Replies
    1. Even though we are now out of debt, I still look for yellow stickers and shop around for bargains. As you say, the family benefits from my bargain hunting.

      Delete
  10. I too buy yellow stickered goods whenever I see them- this includes for me meat aswell. I see it not only as money saving but also stopping quite as much being sent to landfill. It makes plain old common sense to me.
    Arilx

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  11. We don't have those great sales daily in the states..at least not in any of the shops near me. I would happily buy them too, except that it would be about a 20 minute drive one way to get there...I don't understand why people with plenty of money cannot understand those who watch theirs...
    many who watch theirs have actually saved millions over years and years, by being frugal!

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  12. I knew this sort of thing would happen. What you describe sounds very much like the people fighting over Christmas bargains. Soon perhaps every place will have similar things. Maybe even in the north. I can see two people gripping hold of a 2p bag of carrots, screaming and having a tug-of-war. Eventually it will be with umbrellas and clubs; then cleavers and hatchets. Sooner or later a police officer or security person must stand by and supervise, or no one will get those carrots: they'll be put in a locked skip out back. And all over an innocent bag of 2p carrots.

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  13. yes I heard this on the radio too. One lady said customers were taking golf clubs into the store where she worked, in order to fend off other shoppers!

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  14. I agree with Billie Jane, having seen 50 and even 75% reductions in high street shops during this last week, it makes me realise how over inflated the prices are to begin with. The shops will still be making a profit with these price reductions, it's criminal charging big money for tat that has been made for pennies.

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  15. The Jeremy Vine show always seems to be full of nimbys and other self righteous prats. Theres a saying about walking a mile in someone else's shoes and no one can draw any conclusions unless they know their circumstances.
    I saw a comment earlier that asked why you had no money despite being a lorry driver. People think its well paid but thats only because of the long hours.
    Its all down to doing what you have to do to make the money go round. I love getting reduced stuff because it leaves money for other things.
    Its unfortunate that discount brings the worst out in people and its much better when its orderly. Its not much fun for the staff either.
    Dave.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Dave. I deleted that comment.

      Delete
    2. Hi Ilona, i thought you must have done.
      People think driving is well paid but its the long hours that boosts the pay. A lot of jobs pay a low hourly rate plus bonus so when you have holidays you only get basic pay.
      What anyone earns and what they spend it on is their own business.
      Dave.

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    3. Hi Dave, I was going to allow the comment, then changed my mind. I don't have to justify how I spent my wages, and as you well know, lorry driving is not the best paid of jobs considering how many hours you have to put in. Everything I own I have paid for myself, that's the only comment I need to make.

      Delete
    4. My dad, brother in law and best pal's husband are all lorry drivers! They work long hours and have to be away from home a lot. Not well paid either.

      Delete
    5. To add insult to injury us truck drivers have to have undertaken 35hours of training by September'14. I'm quite certain that i'll have to pay for my own training at a cost of around £250 and an unpaid week off work.
      Things are no better for employed drivers. Some have to use their holidays and others unpaid saturday mornings. The most creative one is a company that deducts £3/ week which equates to £150 for a £50 course.
      As usual other EU countries are exempt 'til 2016.
      Occasional drivers, mechanics etc. have recently been exempted but cannot claim back any money that they spent on training.
      I was considering doing mine in the New Year but from what i've read there is only around a third of drivers done theirs up to now and with such a lot of drivers to train in such a short time i'm thinking that the price might go up or it'll get put back.
      Dave.
      I'm waiting for my festive takeaway,
      a good King Wencelas pizza,
      Its deep pan, crisp and even

      Delete
  16. Hi! I so the bulk of my shopping at tesco and find that value brands are the same price, if not cheaper, as Aldi. For example the plain yoghurt that I buy, pasta and even crisps.

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  17. I got a gorgeous extra special pie in Tesco tonight reduced from £5.50 (blooming expensive) to £1.38. It was superb! Fried up last nights left over spuds and a bit of wilting kale with a splash or Worcester sauce and a clove of garlic. Marvellous it was.

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    Replies
    1. I like it when you can find really expensive food at a fantastically cheap price. It's like winning a prize for the effort you have put in.

      Delete
  18. My eldest currently works in a shop not too far from Slough, and hates it. It's a job he's done before down here & loved, but he finds most of the customers up there very unpleasant; stressed, curt, rude and dismissive. And the management are both driven and chaotic. He needs to live up there (temporarily) for other reasons, and the job just about pays his sky-high rent, but it seems to me the closer to London you get, the higher people's stress levels & financial worries. This story would not surprise him at all, sadly.

    We're only 90-odd miles away, and in an area that's probably even more expensive, but things are still perfectly civilised at Yellow Sticker time down here!

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  19. I live in a small village which has no shop and no bus service; the nearest supermarkets are Waitrose (4 miles away); Aldi ( about 300 yards further on) and Tesco (8 miles in the other direction).
    So once every 10 days or so, I take my shopping list to Aldi first, topping up carefully at Waitrose. If I need to go to town I visit Tesco for my shopping. So I can only take advantage of yellow stickers when they are available (not often!). I have witnessed some very bad manners in Tesco by people gathering around the 'reduced items' shelves, jamming their trolleys across behind them, while they grab everything in sight, to examine and then throw back on the shelf when they don't want it after all. Chavs!!!
    I'd rather go without than fight my way past such people.

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  20. We all love a bargain. It's a shame people have to fight over one though. Some people are really struggling now with rising costs. I haven't been to Tesco for a while, since doing shopping for a family member who lives a distance from a store.
    Best wishes
    Angela

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  21. You're an eco and economical shopper, who shops for just what they need, not a vulture.
    My Sister still buys in the expensive shops and now I don't live over the fence from her, wastes a lot of food. To me she still buys for a family of 4 really. She won't eat the same type of meal in the same week, and dislikes freezing leftovers. She does now and again, then discovers stuff in the freezer that is years' old and has freezer burn!
    But, she has a good heart and will give her time and share stuff with anyone.
    Here here for yellow stickers!

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  22. Anyone who belittle someone for being frugal has never been in your position. They make judgements on other people without thinking about what it would be like to be in that situation themselves. I have an aunt who can't understand how we live the way we do. She has never wanted for anything. She has never even had a job. But she makes sure to let me know she thinks it is awful the way we pinch pennies. So what? She lives her life the way she can, and the way she wants to, and I live mine the way I want to and have to. She isn't offering to pay my bills, so until she does that, I really don't care what she thinks. Inflation doesn't touch everyone. Prices go up and up, but not the wages. I would love to be able to go and just buy what I want at the store, but that is not the way it has worked out. I am not going to bother trying to keep up with the Jones", instead, I am going to be thankful that we have been so blessed, and i am going to be thankful for what we have. There are so many who have less and the numbers just keep growing. How another person can sit in judgement over someone is just beyond me. Just because they were luckier or richer or whatever. Still doesn't make them a better person than I am. So you keep on doing what you are doing and so will we. Love the blog. Have learned a lot from you. Keep up the good work and keep your chin up. We are in this together. What a world we live in when someone in Britain can teach someone in North Carolina, USA how to do something. It's not such a big world after all. Sincerely, AngelaB.

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  23. Dear Ilona,
    I hope that you won't let other people's bad behaviour define or disparage what you are achieving. I read a number of frugal websites and I think it's becoming a fashion, like people going on the wagon or losing weight - I've been learning that another UK 'frugal' blogger I've been following is having 3 lapdogs fed and groomed while paying a small fortune for a custom exercise trainer! It seems some people might visit frugal for a couple of years due to bad spending decisions in the past, but as you've assured us - you're in the trenches with us. It's too bad that things are getting so competitive.
    Best of the season (from Canada)

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    1. Dear from Canada. Yes, I am in the trenches with you, I genuinely need to be frugal, not just playing at it, it's how I live. Thank you for your thoughts, you've noticed ;- \

      Delete
  24. We eat almost exclusively yellow sticker bargains, having 3 superstores (Morrisons, Tesco, Asda) within 2 miles makes it easy to do a nightly trawl. I think the diesel costs less than £1 to visit them all, but the savings make it worthwhile.

    There's a few regulars, we're a bit like a club I suppose, with some visiting on set nights in the week, most of us are pretty friendly and share out the bounty available. But there's a few who we call grabbing gannets, hell-bent on taking everything, pushy and even abusive with it, treat the staff like some sort of sub-species. I've had things snatched from my hand between shelf and basket, even the staff looked surprised.

    There's a lot less to pick than there used to be, so many people are struggling, a lot of them who wouldn't have bothered now look very closely at prices and are happy to to take mark-downs at 25% or 50%, leaving not much for final reductions.

    Visiting every night, I don't take anything we can't either eat immediately or freeze, so I'm not fighting for any particular item, and have become friendly with most of the regular staff, who I make a point of being pleasant to and thanking them when they knock something down. They seem to respond to a pleasant voice and friendly manner, and I've even been directed to the best bargains. But I've seen some customers being curt, unpleasant and even quite abusive to them, horrible people who know the staff can't retaliate.

    And I don't care what other people think, there's nothing I'd like more than to have enough money to buy everything without worrying about the cost. As somebody commented, try walking a mile in my shoes before you condemn me.

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    1. I think when I move I will look for a place within walking distance of several supermarkets. That would be good :o))

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  25. Its gets very heated in the local Tesco by hubbies work and it is always the same few faces. When you think of the food that gets wasted and thrown away by supermarkets, restaurants and homes is infuriating really when so many are now having such tough times.

    X x

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  26. Surely if we dont buy the ys stuff it goes in the bin? It used to be that you could pennypinch so as to afford nice things but now its to survive. Its nobodys business what we earn or how we spend it but it is important that we all blog and chat online to share the good and bad days, to keep each other going through these tough days. I love your honesty and straightforward writing and enjoy your trips out. For someone who is mainly housebound (as you know) with hubby its my window on the world. hugs Ginny

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  27. I have been in a position where we offered the kids an ice cream or have to walk home instead of the bus, they took the ice cream. That's being without money....I've been there and for quite a few years. Until you've been in a position of not having enough money you are not qualified to make a comment. You carry on Ilona and good on you.
    Briony
    x

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  28. I never saw my comment, but I gather you deleted it before I read it.
    It wasn't meant to be insulting. I love your blog, read it often. I just wondered why you have so little money. I'm sorry if it caused you offence. It wasn't meant to be taken that way.
    Please forgive me.

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    1. Thank you for coming back on this. Because I allow Anon comments I am extra vigilant when moderating. Yours was of a similar tone to the ones I get from a troll. Anyone who has been reading for a long time will know about my financial mindset, but for anyone who thinks I should have amassed a load of money during my working life, I will repeat what I said elsewhere, for those who missed it.

      I have never believed in long term savings, and neither have I splashed the cash on frivolous spending. I have not been in debt except for my mortgage. My short term emergency fund is there to cover for things which might go wrong. All my money has gone into my house. Even holidays had to stop for a while because I was so skint. I have lead a normal working life, doing a job which didn't pay particularly well. The only way to increase my wages was to do more hours, within the legal limit of 60 per week, and to be honest, 60 was enough.

      Apology accepted, no harm done. Please keep reading.

      Delete
    2. I shall keep reading. Than you for being so gracious. As I said it wasn't meant to be unkind. Just a bit nosey I suppose!
      I can drive, but there is no way I could have been a lorry driver, you have my utmost respect.

      Delete
    3. This is a nice ending I think.

      Delete
  29. I've been sniggered at over the years for doing what i can to make the money go round. My priorities have always been making sure that we keep a roof over our heads and decent food in our bellies.
    I've been laughed at because of the cars i run (the last one was £120, ran it for 4years, repaired and serviced it myself and got £50 for scrap. £17.50 a year depreciation.)
    Dave

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  30. Could I weigh in here... Please feel free if you would like to delete this.

    I used to work as what they call a code controller. That is the person who reduces the items in price. When I did that job I was a student. Can I say it is actually quite scary. You are trying to do your job, you either have a printed out list or a hand scanner that tells you the items that need to be removed from the shelf thrown away or reduced. I used to have people rushing up to me with items demanding I reduces them. Please be nice to the staff. They will get to the items when they get there. They have orders from their manager. let them get on with their job, they are not paid very much and it can be quite stressful.

    I worked in quite a small local store so there was maybe slightly more reductions than a large store due to turn over.

    In the end the manager used to have others help gather the items, and then I actually had to stand out the back or even in the fridge because of people trying to grab stuff. I used to put it all in a trolley and the manager ended up wheeling it to the front of the store.

    If people grab stuff and push and wrestle with others, the shop has a duty of care to their staff and other shoppers, by doing this, they will not reduce. They will either put it in the skips and pour bleach on it all to stop people going through the bins and eating food that is out of date or they will get the government to let them give it all to the food banks.

    I was very happy last night to have been late going home and walked past the little tescos. I went in for a pint of milk and on the way by there was bread reduced to 30p. I was very pleased with that. I also think that there were quite a few bags of carrots that were reduced to 20p. that is a really good price.

    There is also the side that by reducing they are saving the food going to landfill which I am all for. People have to make savings, myself included. But if everyone goes at it like a scrum, these reductions will be removed as the stores wont want to pay for the extra security staff just to guard a 20p bag of carrots. Be nice people in Slough you will ruin it for everyone. Its Christmas, help each other like the lady above said, call out the items. Let others benefit also.

    Sorry its a long comment Ilona. It is something I feel quite strongly about

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  31. Thank you for your informative comment, Sol. I appreciate that you have taken the time to put your thoughts into writing. It's a shame that a few greedy, or needy types are putting the whole system under threat of abandonment. I do hope the supermarkets find a way of carrying on with the sticker system, and that the left over food is put to good use.

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    1. Yes, I've come to appreciate the staff, I know they're doing the job they're told to do, and can only do so much at once, so I always try to be courteous to them. Some customers don't seem to understand this and can be quite rude to the staff, to the point of being abusive,

      I've seen them pick up the items they want and approach the person with the reduction gun and printer to demand their chosen item is further reduced then wonder why when they're told it will be done in rotation.

      I've also noticed each department has it's own system, and the guns and printers aren't inter-changeable, something which the grabbers don't seem to have grasped and blame the staff member.

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  32. You do what you have to do Ilona and I wouldn't worry about any negative comments about it. I am retired now also and have no pension because I worked in an office where there were no opportunities for employer related pensions. We don't have what you call yellow stickers here where I live in US so I don't have the chance to buy things on sale, but any time there is something where you get buy one and get one free I go for it as long as it's something I use often. Other than that, I'm just stuck buying food at regular prices. Food is getting ridiculously high priced and I try to keep the food budget down but it's hard.

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  33. Our yellow sticker at Mr T go out at about 8pm every evening, i have got so frustrated with it, sorry to say and i am not racist at ALL but Asian people start to queue up, about 20 or so every time and as soon as the chap with the trolley comes out they bombard the poor sole and take almost everything that he has, i was stood waiting to pick something and in all honesty i came away with nothing..this happens every time so i have stopped going. I have found that Mrs A has all there bits reduced early in the morning and very often at about 8.30 am you can pick up large collies etc for 20p.. now that is a great saving ..also found that Mst Marks reduce every evening at about 5pm, came away with sandwiches and cakey bits, oh and stirfrys for about 25p each :) xx

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    1. Yes, at risk of being labelled racist, a little tale from a few years ago when I lived in Manchester.

      It was in Sainsburys, and confectionery would be marked down to 10p at the same time every night, when a horde of Nigerians (I think) would gather and grab just about everything.
      One night the poor girl on the reductions was so intimidated she asked them to stand back while she did her job. This produced a torrent of abuse and racist comments, their ace card is always "it's because we're black you're discriminating, and get the manager"
      She did, and he turned out to be Nigerian, he trumped their ace with a torrent of whatever language they speak.
      Exit one disillusioned crowd of Nigerians and one very relieved staff member.

      Delete
  34. I don't much care for shopping in the supermarkets. They are all massive corporations that squeeze farmers and milk producers and then sell at an inflated price. I have had spinal fusion in the last two years and now have fibromyalgia and this is my excuse not to go very often. I am still eating potatoes and onions that I grew on the concrete outside where I live (I sat down on the concrete and dug my little plastic pots with my hand trowel). My friend does call in to supermarkets if he is passing. I live in Lincolnshire and the yellow stickers are still too expensive for us but if we see something that is reasonable, we will take it. Even if we wanted all the reduced items, we will only take a little and leave the rest for everybody else. At the start of December we went into Morrisons in Peterborough because we were passing. One man pushed me and then he and the woman he was with laughed as they scrambled to get into the store. Oh and by the way, I agree with the commenter above that some "frugal" bloggers say that they cannot afford this/that but yet have two incomes coming in and if u scratch a little further they let slip they can afford gym membership & personal trainer! What they mean is that they are accruing their personal wealth. Natalie

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    1. Danneke here
      Ilona, there is no crime being careful, frugal or a yellow sticker buyer, just wish I could get out at the times my local shops do their mark downs, I did a small shop in Aldi today and got some small bargains that would have cost a lot more had I shopped in Sainsburys , household articles like loo paper is a lot cheaper in Aldi. I use a steam cleaner for floors etc so I do not have liquids for this and that to buy, another saving, for laundry about 5yrs ago I bought some special wash balls, no need for powders these have little stones inside the balls and they do the cleaning in the waher, I must have saved a small fortune with the wash balls, I think Lakeland do a similar product.if any one wants to save money on laundry bills. Like Ilona I worked all my working years, brought 3 kids up alone from them being a young age and I had nothing for us or for the home unless I could pay for it with cash. I bought my own property and scrimped and saved and because of saving and a small pension from my nursing days it means I can not get any help, being a few pennies over the cut of limit for benefit help but I at least can hold my head up and say I do not owe anything and I like Ilona am not ashamed I am a frugal person

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  35. There is nothing wrong with being frugal at all. As for the greed and acting so foolish over the yellow stickers...that's REALLY wrong! My theory is that even the 'over privileged' types are feeling the pinch in this economy. They are not used to waiting, sharing, and more is always better for them. I've been an Aldi shopper since the 80's here in the States. My more 'well to do' friends and relatives used to look down there nose at the idea of being seen there. Now suddenly, we see the snooty types among us also shopping there, but they grab up and fight over every bargain, complain loudly when they have to wait in long lines, and are just generally unpleasant. Aldi's used to pride it's self on saving overhead by having modest buildings, but since the 'bigger, better, shiny' lot have discovered it, they are all being made into supercenters. I've noticed the prices starting to creep up. Luckily, there is a similar store that opened a few doors down that is still 'under the radar'....for now. We lowly peasants, vultures, (what ever label applies) shop in polite peace. So to sum it up, I think that we are hearing about all this craziness is because people that have never had to struggle for anything, that never had the chance to do some character building work for what they need, never had to pinch pennies before, are having meltdowns trying to keep up their materialistic life styles. This new store does the reduce sticker thing and has a whole aisle dedicated to all the mark downs. I've found some really good bargains and often been the only one there.

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  36. I agree with all of what you have said. People are just too quick to jump on the old sarcastic comment wagon! When they are retired they might see things differently. I'm sure you normally look out, but things like roof tiles, doors and windows, do come up on Freecycle. We had to replace a couple of tiles recently and luckily for us, our neighbour had saved some of the same sort from years back when he built his extension.

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