Supermarket Price Comparison - Part 2

Monday, 27 June 2011

Continuing on from a recent post - I went shopping in Lidl and Aldi in the hopes of purchasing all the ingredients I required for my latest cooking venture of chicken satay skewers and a beansprout salad, at a lower price than my local Tesco.

I have to say, after doing my first visit to Tesco I did have my doubts about whether I could get everything at Lidl and Aldi.  And it turns out that price-wise, it was not a foregone conclusion as to who was cheapest.

I was rather surprised by the result.

So how did the prices compare?

1 Bell Pepper
I was concerned about this one. I could not recall ever seeing single peppers sold in Lidl or Aldi - only packs of 3 little ones.  On the other hand, if I've got left over spring onions and beansprouts (very likely), I can make up a mini salad for a snack, so a third small one would not go to waste.  However, each supermarket did indeed sell individual large peppers.
Tesco - 80p
Lidl - 69p, or £1 for 3 smaller peppers (equivalent to 33p each)
Aldi - £1.29 for 3 (equivalent to 43p each)

Spring Onions
An impressive result in Lidl for a mere 39p
Tesco - 60p
Lidl - 39p
Aldi - 59p

A blow to Lidl and Aldi - neither of them had beansprouts in stock. A point to Tesco!
Tesco - 50p / 310g bag
Lidl / Aldi - not in stock

Olive Oil
I was a little surprised that the smallest bottle of Olive Oil in both Lidl and Aldi were 750ml.  Technically, you're getting more oil for your money by buying the larger product.  But for this exercise, I'm looking to spend less right now, so Tesco wins this one.
Tesco - 98p / 250ml
Lidl - £2.25 / 750ml of Prima Dona
Aldi - £2.25 / 750ml of Solesta

Wine Vinegar
Surprising Tesco wins again on price but also on value.
Tesco - 54p / 350ml
Lidl - 99p / 500ml
Aldi - 99p / 500ml Solesta

Soy Sauce
Good lower price at Lidl for the exact same product from Tesco
Tesco - 98p (discounted from £1.14) Amoy
Lidl - 59p / Amoy
Aldi - 75p / Bramwells

Sunflower Oil
Another good saving at both Lidl and Aldi for a litre of sunflower oil.
Tesco - £1.58 / 1 litre
Lidl - £1.39 / 1 litre Vita D'or
Aldi - £1.39 / 1 litre Solesta

This one is awkward. Tesco sells by the lb, the other two by kg. I'm trusting an online converter calculator (maths is not my strong point) and I gather that 1lb is just over 2kgs.  I guess that makes Lidl the better value, but my recipe doesn't need 1kg of onions!  I'm saving my pennies with Tesco on this one.
Tesco - 39p per lb
Lidl - 69p per kg
Aldi - 79p per kg

Garlic Puree
This is my one bugbear with Lidl - it doesn't always stock the same things.  Previously I'd purchased my garlic puree at Lidl for an excellent price.  But, it was no where to be found this time.
Tesco - 69p / 90g tube
Lidl / Aldi - not in stock.

Peanut Butter
I was surprised by this one. Lidl's was more expensive than I'd anticipated, but Aldi to the rescue with an excellent 89p on offer.
Tesco - £1 / 340g jar
Lidl - £1.15 / 340g jar
Aldi - 89p (reduced from 92p)

Lemon Juice
Tesco's shocked me on this one - only a single brand on the shelf.  Was it misplaced and the dozen or so other brand hiding on another shelf? It was the last item and I struggled to track it down.  Lidl and Aldi however had none at all.  A lucky escape Tesco ...
Tesco - 60p / 250ml
Lidl / Aldi - not in stock.

Another surprise!  Lidl was a lot more expensive!  Plenty of jars to choose from but the pricing was a disappointment.
Tesco - 99p / 340g jar
Lidl - £1.81
Aldi - £1.29

Chili Powder
Very good value in Aldi, but alas you are 15p dearer than Tesco.
Tesco - 70p / 50g
Lidl - not in stock
Aldi - 85p / 100g

Much to my annoyance I discovered that Lidl does not sell 1pint containers, only 2 pints or larger.  Aldi appears to only stock the 4 pints.  Both better value, but I'm not looking at value here, it's price alone for this.  (I'm definitely considering re-doing this experiment with some refinement.)
Tesco - 48p / 1 pint, semi-skimmed
Lidl - 75p / 2 pints, semi-skimmed
Aldi - £1 / 4 pints, semi-skimmed.

Diced Chicken Breast
Very little difference here. Pretty much the same value for money.
Tesco - £3 / 377g
Lidl - £2.99 / 375g
Aldi - £2.99 / 375g

Long grain Rice
Lidl, Aldi, you both disappointed me here.  60p normal price? Even reduced Tesco has beaten you again. (And it's weird that you two had the same price reduction.)
Tesco - 45p / 1kg bag
Lidl - 49p / 1kg (reduced from 60p) Golden Sun
Aldi - 49p / 1kg (reduced from 60p) World Wide

Wooden Skewers
My primary concern about this experiment. Would Aldi or Lidl have these in stock??  NOPE!
Tesco - £1.75
Lidl / Aldi - not in stock
TESCO - £15.94
LIDL - £14.18 - 5 out of 17 items not in stock
ALDI - £15.56 - 4 out of 17 items not in stock

Not the result I was expecting.

I admit, I thought Lidl and Aldi would be a lot cheaper overall, but even with less of the items available, I wouldn't have spent much less than at Tesco's.  Very surprised by the result.

I guess the main thing to take from this experiment is that you shouldn't assume that particular shops that are deemed to be 'cheaper' by public opinion, are not always so.  Certainly there are various items you can get brilliant value on. For instance, the chili powder - great value in Aldi compared to Tesco's own, but downside is that the selection is more limited; but it's the place for milk if you get through a lot!

That's the other thing - whilst I focused on price alone for this experiment, I wouldn't have got the best value every time.  Going back to milk - £1 for 4 pints, great value, but if I was only buying for me would I finish 4 pints of milk before it went off?  In that instance, it's a waste of money as I'm paying for milk I won't use.  It's not a saving if it's not going to be used.

Things that will last for longer (and will be used, don't forget) tend to be worth paying a bit more to get better overall value for money.  Things like olive and sunflower oil, if you're going to be using them on a regular basis, then the more expensive option works out better than the smaller cheaper one.

So - I ended up purchasing only a few things at Lidl and Aldi before making a return to Tesco for the remaining ingredients.  Between the three supermarkets I did get myself the cheapest products available.  And in future I don't think I'll dismiss Tesco quite so quickly when it comes to shopping.

I am considering doing another experiment like this, but I shall put some more thought into it.  I had hoped this 'recipe' list would be more interesting that 'the weekly shop' but we'll have to wait and see whether I consider doing that in some shape or form.

Oh, and the meal was splendid!  Will have to have it again sometime ...

Oh bloody hell ...

Friday, 24 June 2011

We have gone almost a whole fortnight without a till.

And we recieved even worse news today.

The IT "professionals" who are meant to be fixing our poorly computer, were informed of the great importance of our stock inventory and instructed in no uncertain terms that they needed to back it up ... have not done so and lost our inventory.

There's an insane amount of stock details in that inventory that we are now going to have to put onto a new inventory system: this means going through everything we have and start completely afresh.

It's only likely to take several weeks, no biggie.

[Guess it's a harsh lesson to Nora to have a seperate back up in future.]

Supermarket Price Comparison

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

I'm not much of a cook - my boyfriend is often the guinea pig as I attempt to produce something edible. My cookbook bible is one aimed at students - simple instructions I can do!  I've had some good results with it and I delved into it again a few days ago, looking for something new to try.

So, this week I shall be attempting chicken satay skewers with rice, served with a beansprout salad.

I then got thinking.  How much would this cost me if I had to purchase all the ingredients from my local Tesco?  By local, I mean that mine is literally down the street, it takes me less than five minutes to walk there.  Now, my usual supermarket is Lidl, followed by Aldi.  They are also pretty convenient - OK, it's a longer walk but it's doable in about 20-25 minutes.  Even better when they're practically next door to one another.

I've been shopping at Lidl and Aldi for a while now for a couple of reasons: my mother does the weekly shop there as they're generally cheaper than Tesco, plus it's not as crowded and stressful (we've all been there, trolley-rage, can't-find-this-product-where's-it-been-moved-to-now!? rants).   Admittedly, it's slightly less convenient having to go the extra distance.

But just how much would I be paying for the convenience if I chose to shop at Tesco?  Is there really all that much difference?

Out of curiosity I am conducting some research on this, basing it on my current shopping needs of purchasing all the required ingredients for my chosen recipes.

For the purpose of this exercise, I am going 'shop' as if I do not have any of the ingredients available at home. In reality I do have a few to hand already, but for the sake of a fair comparison this exercise shall assume that I require to purchase every item I need to make the meal.

Armed with a list, I have just paid a visit to my local Tesco and sourced the cheapest available option for each ingredient.  In most cases, it was Tesco's own brand - where it was not the cheapest, I have noted the brand.
  • 1 Bell Pepper - one large pepper: 80p
  • Spring onions - 60p for a small bunch (marked down from 72p)
  • Beansprouts - 50p for a 350g bag
  • Olive oil - 98p for a 250ml bottle
  • Wine vinegar - 54p for 350ml
  • Soy sauce - 89p for 150ml of Amoy sauce (marked down from £1.14)
That's everything for the beansprout salad.  The soy sauce is required in the main dish too, so moving on!
  • Sunflower oil - £1.58 for 1 litre
  • Onion - 39p for a lb (awkward that I can't price a single onion so I'll compare it lb for lb in both shops)
  • Garlic puree - 69p for Gia's 90g tube
  • Smooth peanut butter - £1 for 340g jar
  • Lemon juice - 60p for Consumers Pride, 250ml
  • Honey - 99p for 340g jar
  • Chili powder - 70p for 50g
  • Milk - 48p for 1 pint of semi-skimmed
  • Diced chicken breast - £3 for 377g
  • Long grain rice - 45p for 1kg bag
And finally, I shall require some wooden skewers to complete the dish.
  • Wooden skewers - bag of 100: £1.75
[saving 37p with the two discounted items, 4 items out of 17 were £1 or more]

As I was going round, noting the prices, I did wonder whether Lidl and Aldi could actually match the prices and come out cheaper overall.  Some of these items did not cost as much as I would have expected, so it'll be very curious come Thursday when I make my weekly trip to find out how much I'll save.

Not only that, but can Lidl and Aldi provide me with all the necessary items?  Will they have the skewers I need?  Can I buy a single bell pepper when I can only recall ever seeing bags of three?  Perhaps I have simply not noticed single peppers but it remains to be seen.  A few items I'm certain I can get for less, but there's a nagging doubt in my mind as to whether between the two cheaper supermarkets, can I in fact get everything I need?

I shall be posting the results early next week - I probably won't have enough time on Thursday and I'm off camping over the weekend.  Check back Monday / Tuesday for part two!

[I'm also pondering whether I ought to pay a visit to Waitrose, just to see the differences there as well!  We shall see.]

Simple yet awesome

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Wrapping presents is something that the majority of the population will do at some point - we wrap gifts for birthdays, Christmas, baby showers, weddings, and various other occasions.

Consider for a moment, just how much money do you spend on wrapping paper?  How much does a roll cost?  Do you go for the offers of 3 for 2 rolls?  Perhaps you buy the sheets.  Maybe you do what I do and wait until the new year and snap up several Xmas themed rolls cheap.  I've never seen any offers for birthday wrapping though.  Perhaps I just miss them.

With the paper there comes the sticky tape, ribbon, tags.  The cost adds up after a while doesn't it?  And over the years you could easily be spending hundreds.

Gift bags seemed like a good solution.  I have a few of various sizes.  They can easily be re-used.

But I've come across something else that I'm chuffed to bits about.

Furoshiki - Japanese wrapping cloths.
Easy to use, they look amazing, and can be re-used over and over again.  Storing them is also so much more convenient than trying to find a place for long rolls. (Mine are currently under my bed)  Just fold and tuck away in a drawer. Simple!

There's plenty of tutorials for wrapping with the cloths on YouTube, and various books available.  The cloths come in a variety of sizes, and you can always source your own from material shops to get the patterns and sizes you want.

Overall, I think it's a brilliant way to save money.  I would have to buy several, primarly to account for the number of Christmas gift reciepants I buy for.  Plus I am fascinated by all things Japanese so it's got instant appeal to me!  ^_^

The downside is that I'm looking at a website that supplies them and I'm drooling over so many designs that I would need to spend a few hundred to get them all!!  Must be restrained ... this is meant to save me money, not empty my account ... but they're so pretty ...

Now all I need is an alternative to buying cards for every occasion.

Still Broken!

Friday, 17 June 2011

It's been four and a half days with no till.  I was quite surprised to go to work this morning to find it still hadn't been fixed and even more surprised to be told that we weren't going to get it back today.

Supposedly, we'll have it back sometime tomorrow.

On a Saturday.  Our busiest day of the week with no till.  Joyous!  Something to look forward to.


In other news, Nora has finally twigged that I've been continuing to look for work.  I don't see how she could have thought otherwise - it's only part-time, sporadic days, low income, and the business is not doing well enough for her to offer me full time.  Think I'm hanging around for any longer than necessary?


Better news - applied for another dental nurse position; 4 days a week, half an hours drive away, decent wage.  Would be a nice one to get.

Helpful or not?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

I've just registered with another website - CV Library.

What I particularly like about this site so far, is that it gives you an indication of how many applicants there are for each position.  I've seen; less than 10, a given figure for anything between 10 and 20, and 20+.

Although I like to see that, it is with mixed feelings.  If the job you like the look of already has '20+' applicants, would you be put off applying?   If it has less than 10 then I feel more eager to apply as I feel I have a better chance of being shortlisted for interview.

On the flip side of that, there's no way to know whether this is the only advertisement for that job.  It could be on a number of other websites or in local papers, so you won't have a clue how many people will be applying - the 'less than 10' applicants may well be completely misleading.

It's a double-edged sword really.  Whether or not there are dozens applicants, if I think the job is ideal, then I'm going to apply either way.

Do you think it's a helpful piece of information to have?  Or is it better not to know and just apply and hope there aren't so many hopefuls that you won't even get a message back to say sorry you've not been shortlisted?


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Direct Gov jobs website is one of many sites I frequent in my on-going search.  However, like any site, it has a few flaws - one of which was that it only ever returned a maximum of 100 search results.

But no more!  It appears that someone has twigged that we'd like to see more job adverts without having to fiddle with the filters in a vain attempt to see different listings.

I just did a search and got over 250 results to look through.  Then another 180 in a different area.


Good job whoever fixed that.  Much appreciated!


Monday, 13 June 2011

Do you have job that hinges on something to work?  And if that thing doesn't work, everything grinds to a halt?

In my case, that thing would apparently be the till.

Tills are a pretty fundamental aspect of shops.  Ours is a PC with a nifty little machine to churn out the receipts, fairly standard for most places these days I guess.  Now, ours is not just the till; it's got various files and programs, some relating to our website.

I happened to be working on said files, when I attempted to save a word document of all things, when the computer apparently decided - 'Meh, that's it, I'm doing nothing else today!' and freezes up.

I try ctrl-alt-del.  Nothing.  I try to restart it.  Hmmm, that's just the background image with no icons or bar to seen.  At least the cursor is there - something's working in there!

Phone boss.  Instructed to call a local company for assistance.  Phone local company.  Turn it off and on again - same result as before.  Someone will be along about 3.30pm - 4pm.  Fine.

I'll just have write down every item I sell until then - noting the code, description and price (here's hoping the prices are correct and not been raised since the tag was written), then write out a receipt for the customer with the same details (not that we have anything other A4 lined paper, no book of receipts for use in such an emergency).

By some small mercy, I had no customers for the rest of the day so I was saved from that horrendous daydream of endlessly scribbling receipts in handwriting that starts off neat and tidy before rapidly deteriorating into something resembling a drunken spider that's covered in ink and dancing the bolero across the paper.

Of course, I'm sat waiting around for the guy to turn up.  I can't get on with various tasks left for me by Nora because the files I need are on the till-computer.

Half 3 rolls around, no sign.  No worries.  4 o'clock.  Hmm, would have thought he'd be here by now, but who knows where his last call-out is so is most likely on his way.

Half 4 - I'm back on the phone asking where the smeg this guy is.  I'm promised they will chase him up and get him to phone me.  About ten to five I'm back on the phone.  All surprise that he didn't call me and cue promises that he'll be here tomorrow morning around 11am.

Thank the gods I'm not working tomorrow.  I phone Nora with the pitiful takings of the day and have to leave a message about the non-appearing technician, then scarpered in case she phoned back!

I'll probably get blamed for it somehow.

Law of Sod dictates that when Nora goes in tomorrow, she'll turn the computer on and it'll be perfectly fine.

On the plus side of the day - I applied to another three jobs; another trainee dental assistant post, an admin role in my home town, and for a local supermarket (that I'm sure relies on more than a single till).

It's not enough

Friday, 10 June 2011

This month is proving to be pretty stingy.  By that I mean the number of days I'm down for at the Shop.  The past two months I've had to cover Nora's holiday and sick leave, granting me several extra days work and pay.

However, June has but a mere ten days to offer.

I'm lucky that I'm paid slightly more than the National Minimum Wage but even then, with only ten days I'm looking to get about £600.  Take off a chunk of tax.  Pay my rent, petrol and car parking.

End result - under £300.
I'm sincerely grateful that my parents are putting a roof over my head, because there is no way I could afford food, bills and put money aside for things like car tax, insurance and gifts throughout the year, and have anything left over to save.

That realisation is one of several things giving me an added kick up the backside to continue to hunt for full time work.  Not that I need additional reasons, to be honest.

The income from the Shop is just too erratic for me.  My first month I took home a very healthy sum - June's is going to be very sickly in comparison.   I much prefer consistency - I want to know that I can cover my outgoings without worrying.

So all the days I am not working will be spent sending out applications.


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Apologises for the less than inspired title of this post, but I think it covers my reaction just fine.

I was out delivering my leaflets yesterday.  Now I clearly don't need to dress up for it, so I wear comfy trainers, jeans and a plain top, with a hooded jacket for those spats of rain that come down unexpectedly.  I don't bother with make-up and my hair is in a ponytail to keep it out of my face.

I'll be the first to admit that even when I am 'made-up' and make an effort with my appearance, I don't often look my age.  Probably down to a lot of lifestyle choices of rarely drinking alcohol, drinking lots of water, regular exercise and never touching a cigarette - but in spite of edging closer to 30, I'm still ID-ed on a fairly regular basis when buying age restricted items.  Apparently I look around 10 years younger than I really am.

Might explain why a group of rowdy young idiots decided to try and get my attention by yelling "Hey!  Kid pulling the trolley!!"

Kid!?!?   I may have a youthful appearance but come on!  I'm probably older than they are!
Apparently you don't have to be dolled up to get harassed -
obviously don't take much to impress some people

Yes, I had the pleasant experience of idiotic young men catcalling and wolf whistling at me.  Yelling out 'kid', chanting the name of the delivery company displayed on my trolley bag, followed by lewd remarks of 'sexy mama' and references to my 'booty', sloppy kissing noises ... honestly, I didn't know whether to laugh or not.

Boys thinking they're men, crude remarks, and sticking in groups because they're too scared to do it alone. 
Be still my heart, I'm weak at the knees!

I'll be frank - I was not particularly intimidated by this.  I found it all quite pathetic.  What kind of response they were expecting to get from me, I don't know.  I didn't even look around to see exactly where they were, how many there might have been (although I think there were two or three voices), but I just carried on as if I couldn't hear them.

I kept my head up, kept doing my job at a steady pace and just moved on down the road until I was out of range.   They didn't follow me or try anything.   If they had they would have realised the following errors:
  • I am not a 'kid' by a mile - if anything, judging by their attitudes, I'm probably a good decade older than them
  • I am not going to be scared or intimidated by such childish behaviour
  • Had they dared try anything (by that I mean physical contact of any description) they would learn that people who have black belts don't wear them outside of the dojo so could be anybody - even a young woman who looks like 'an easy target' for sleazy jeering.  (Not saying I'd go all Bruce Lee on them, but they'd damn well back off.)
I've never understood why young men do this.  What are they expecting to get out of it?  Do they think this is how to talk to women?  What on earth is the mentality behind it?  Is it some sort of fun or a genuine attempt to get a woman's attention?  I just don't understand it at all!  Which leaves me feeling a smidgen of pity for them because it is childish and pathetic, not to mention cowardly when it's so often done in a group.  They think they're 'hard men'?  Sorry, you're just little boys without a clue how to behave.  Your mothers must be so proud of you.

Having been bullied as a child, then regaining my confidence over the years with the help of martial arts and good friends - I have the confidence not be frightened by such childishness.  Plus a little saying I came across some years ago - "A woman brought you into this world and a woman can take you back out of it!"  Well said sister!  :)   That thought kept me smiling slyly to myself through the whole thing.

Obviously I did the smart thing and walked away, rather than attempting to confront them.  Main thing was that I did not allow them to scare me.   There's a line between being cocky and confident - had they tried to hurt me, I'd have fought back hard.  I'm under no illusion that I would have sent them running with their tails between their legs whilst I stand victorious having done a Bruce Lee style combat scene.  More likely I would have been hurt too - thankfully it was unnecessary, but I have the guts to fight back and defend myself should I need to.

I wonder, does this count as workplace harassement?

I'm not alone!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Turns out that I am not the only employee of Nora who thinks she is not a pleasant person.

Today was another extremely quiet Monday when a woman came in 'just to have a nose around' and we got chatting.  She asked me how long I'd worked there for and then asked what I thought of the boss.

'Ummm,' I wasn't too sure how to go about answering that one.  For all I knew, she was a friend of Nora's!  But seeing my hesitation she assured me it was fine and that she knew one of the girls who had previously worked there.  Her whole demeanour and tone of voice was reassuring that she wasn't a spy in the camp and I answered as honestly and diplomatically as I could.

Basically I said that I found her hard to work for as she was very focused on what I perceived to be rather unattainable sales targets, that I dreaded calling her at the end of the day with the sales figures because her tone always implied that it was somehow my fault for not taking more (it's never enough!).  Also that she was not overly friendly - she wasn't the sort of person you could have a chat with.

To my great relief, this woman was wholeheartedly in agreement - Nora is indeed a hard taskmaster and the girl who used to work here before me was more than a little relieved to escape!

It's quite nice to know that it's not just me taking things too personally or imagining it - someone else has experienced the exact same thing and found Nora to be a poor employer.

What a money saving tip!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

I came across a fabulous money saving tip last night.  My sister came by and gave me over a years worth of Glamour magazines - not something I'd ever buy but I'll happily flick through any magazine lying around, and I'll admit it, Glamour always seemed to be full of adverts so I didn't have a high opinion of it.

However, as I was flicking through the latest edition, I came across the 'We can make you rich!' article.  I skim over it noting the expected ideas of using coupons, switching energy providers ... then I spotted something that rang a very loud and excited bell.

'Buy contact lenses online'

I'm very short sighted.  I need glasses and use contact lenses for driving, sports and nights out.  My prescription is so bad my optician can't provide daily wear lenses for it, so I wear monthlies.  At a cost of around £70.  For three pairs.

When you are working two part time jobs, neither of which pay all that much, £70 is a lot of money to fork over in one go.  Previously I was able to purchase one pair at a time which was so much easier on my wallet and I loved the convenience of it even when I was in full time employment with a decent income.   Much to my annoyance, my optician has decided I can't do that any more.  If I want them I have to pay the full £70 before they'll even order them in.  I can not afford that much in one go.

I have considered looking for another optician in the hopes of getting a lower price, but for some reason, looking online for lenses never even occurred to me.  I don't know why.  Maybe because I've always got them from a high street optician - long standing habits are hard to break and you don't tend to question something you've done for years.

So, thanks to Glamour, I'm looking online - primarily looking at prices in the first instance.


For the exact same lenses, I could get 6 pairs (twice my usual) for just shy of £50!!   That saves me around £40.

£40 I can put towards my (potential) holiday. £40 for petrol. £40 towards my rent.  That £40 could go towards a lot of different things.

Methinks I shall be ordering my next set of lenses online in the near future.  No way am I paying more than I need to!

I work hard, I don't work miracles

Friday, 3 June 2011

Ever find yourself having a hectic day and yet don't seem to get a lot done?

I had one of those today.   I've been off for a few days (and very glad of the break) so returned to the Shop with mixed feelings of 'yay, work, income!' and 'oh joy, Nora!'  Please note the sarcasm right there.

I arrive to find a scribbled note.  Nora has the plumber this morning so she's left me a list of things that need to be done.  The main window is empty so clearly we're sorting out a brand new display which generally entails moving a lot of stock around.

My tasks are to sort out one of the smaller cabinets with the items that have removed from the window.  A few bits are already in, so no problem.  I also have to find various rings in tigers eye to fill some gaps in another display.  The glass in the main window needs cleaning (this includes the stands).  Finally, there are some beaded bracelets that need to be made up - they're like charm bracelets with coloured beads - everything in this place is colour co-ordinated to they need to match up with each separate display.

So I get to work on cleaning the glass first.  Makes more sense to do that first because if Nora gets back soon she'll want to get on with doing the main display herself.  I do a great job on them; remove every little smear and fingerprint so they look crystal clear.

I then move onto the tigers eye rings.  Get these done and an entire cabinet display is finished, rather than have several half-finished.   It may not sound like much but the way the rings are organised makes this a little awkward - they are stored in little drawers by size, but there are separate sets of drawers for smaller rings and chunky rings.  So I have to go through nearly two dozen drawers, opening the bags marked tigers eye, hunt for a variety of sizes and styles (I cannot put two out the same unless we have no other stock), check the prices and sizes on the till (comparing with what's on the tag already) then write out a new price tag if either is incorrect.  Then they have to inserted into the display board in appropriate places - can't have all the massive stones clumped together for instance - they should be spread out.

This does take some time - in the middle of this two customers come in one after the other so I have to stop what I'm doing to help them.  They are both very pleasant and happily go on their way - I've made about £30 from them, and go back to the rings.

The display is completed, bar one ring which I'm convinced does not have the right stock code on it - the price difference on the till is too much.  If it had been less of a difference usually the price has simply gone up and the tag is old.  So I put that aside for Nora to check when she arrives.

Moving on to the next task.  Filling the cabinet.

This is easily the most time consuming task - and Nora will go bananas if she has half-empty cabinets for Saturday.

I'm double-checking prices, cleaning things up, pinning things up in the cabinet in a way that looks ordered and so customers can see everything clearly, plus getting new stock out.

Getting new stock out is almost as bad as ring-hunting.  Lots of little drawers, organised by stone / colour.  Pendents are always separate from chains so I have to find a suitable length and style to match the pendent, check the prices for both, write a tag out, and tie the tag on (fiddly task).

Thus I am in the midst of this and making some headway with the display when Nora arrives.

It's almost 11am.  Her first question is 'Have we had many customers??'  Answer, two, yes they both purchased something, and we've taken about £30.  Her face falls.  'Oh that's not very many!'   Well, no.  'Yesterday we took over a thousand pounds!'   Impressive, but it is also half-term, the parents are no doubt dragging their children around town so we're more likely to have people pop in, it's also coming up to fathers day, and wedding gifts are generally in demand around now.  I respond in a mildly surprised and pleased manner to which Nora beams and sort of looks at me sternly - 'That's what it should be like all the time!'

Are you being serious?  Oh, wait, it's Nora, of course she's being serious.  Albeit naive.

I swear she has not paid any attention to the fact that we went into a recession.  A lot of people are being a little more careful with their money! 

Not only that, but Nora, in case you haven't realised - you sell LUXURY products!  Jewellery does not appear on the weekly shopping list.

It's a bit much to expect to take in a thousand pounds worth every single day but Nora is far from convinced of that.  Oh, and I happened to check what we'd taken over the week - she's taken a lot less on each day with the exception of yesterday.  So why glare at me for only taking £30 so far?

'So what have you done so far today?'  she then asks.

I tell her and show her what I've done so far.  I'm pleased with my efforts.

Nora scowls.  'Oh is that all?  I thought you'd be finished by now!'

I want to hurt her.

The Little Things #5

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Giving a Gift

It's the social convention that we give gifts on birthdays and various special occasions.  But how much nicer is it to unexpectedly receive a gift from someone purely because they wanted to give you something?

And how nice is it to be the one who gives?

I decided to get a mug made for my boyfriend, adored with various actresses he drools over.  It doesn't sound like much but I put in several hours working on Photoshop to create the picture and then spent time hunting down some ribbon in just the right colour to go with it.

There was no 'reason' as such for me to make him a gift other than I wanted to do something nice for him.  He was a little perplexed at being given a gift so unexpectedly (it's no where near his birthday) but he loves it!  And I felt really good about having done it.

People quite often decide to treat themselves to make them feel good.  Perhaps next time you think that to yourself, consider treating someone else and see just how good it feels - you make two people happy instead of one. :)

That was nice, if disappointing

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Slightly oxymoronic title, I know.  But as mentioned in my earlier post, I applied to five jobs this morning.

I've just checked my email on the off chance there had been any replies. (I never expect to get any this quickly but I thought I might as well look.)  There was a reply from one.  My hopes rose, only to read that the post had already been filled but thank you for my application.

Well, it was certainly nice to get a quick reply - I'm so used to not getting any reply whatsoever than even a 'sorry, you have not been shortlisted' or 'sorry, the job's been filled' is actually rather welcome!

It's a pity as the location was pretty good and it was full time; it would have been ideal.  But the job advert had been posted on the 12th May so it's pretty good indicator that you have to move very quick!

Which gives me hope since two of the jobs were advertised only today and yesterday.  Obviously the sooner you apply the better chance you have.

There's hope yet!

Fresh Start

New month, a new start.

I've decided to branch out a little with my job search.  Office / Administration skills can be applied to a lot of difference businesses so whilst I was searching online last night I spotted a receptionist / trainee dental nurse job advert.

Dental nursing is not something I would have considered a year ago, but having had a good look around, there seem to be a fair number of vacancies for qualified dental nurses as well as trainees.  I figure, why not?  It's worth a shot, so I have applied to five jobs alone so far today.

Most ask for receptionist experience (check) and either a qualification or a willingness to train (hell yes).  If this opens a new career path, then it gives me more options.  There are dental surgeries all over the place so I'm not limited as to where I could find work.

So the CV was again tidied up a little, covering letters/emails written to express my desire to learn blah blah blah, and five applications made.

Two are in my home town - who knows if that gives you an edge, being local.  One is hardly a five minute walk from home, but the downside is that that one is only 2 days a week.  However, if it gets me some experience in the role then that's something that will add weight to future applications.

I feel much better having found some jobs to apply to.   I keep hitting these periods of depression whilst job hunting - one minute I'm pumped up and eager to apply, the next I'm convinced I'll be stuck at Shop for ages and that there's nothing out there, why aren't I even getting an interview for some crappy filing job I could do blindfolded?   Moods go up and down like a yo-yo.  I'm also finding it hard to discuss this with friends - seems the only thing they can think of to say is 'Oh you'll find something!' then change the subject.  Thanks for the moral support guys, real helpful.

Hence, my hope that by applying to a new work field I may have better luck.

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