Silly Saturday – Guide Lines for On Line Shopping

Before Covid 19 you may have had a weekly supermarket shop delivered or ordered the occasional item from Amazon. Perhaps you supported your local shops and never went on line. Now many of us are adding excitement to our isolation by exploring what can be bought on line. You may not want to sell your soul to Amazon, though if you are an author who self publishes on Amazon Kindle you already have. But there is a reason why Amazon is so successful; people look for what they want, find it, buy it in a matter of seconds and it arrives when predicted, or much sooner. If you have nothing better to do, you can track the progress of your present to yourself. Then the magic moment arrives when the door bell rings and there is a real human being come to visit you, the only human you have seen all week and they have left you a parcel on the doorstep. If you are lucky, as they rush back to their white van, they will turn and acknowledge your existence as you open your front door waving frantically and thanking them profusely.

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You have bought a bright red microwave and some luxury toiletries to cheer yourself up, you can’t get a delivery slot with any supermarket, so can you actually buy food on Amazon? The only essentials that are readily available at a normal price are Tassimo pods for coffee machines. I did buy a fruit and veg box from a farm with British grown vegetables – contents may not be the same as in the illustration – I hoped we would get the bag of potatoes but NOT the boring iceberg lettuce. When the box came it was EXACTLY like the illustration, the lettuce will still be going when isolation is over…

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But be careful you know what you are getting when you order food. Fancy a tin of Ambrosia rice pudding, a bit of comfort eating and it’s only £5.99 ( what! ) for a 400 g tin. It might be handy to read customer reviews – 1 star customer review
…whilst we are facing an international crisis and people are facing tragedy, you are profiteering. You should hang your head in shame
Did they not notice the price when they ordered? To be fair, you can order a dozen tins for £24… and at least it is real food.

Here is what else you might find at your door.
Ambrosia rice pudding can earrings.
A genuine replica Heinz Baked Beans tin to hide your valuables in.
Nice fresh farm eggs that are polished wood in a toy egg box.
Rubber pork chops for a toy shop – a shop that is plastic, not a shop that sells toys…
A basket of fruit – made of marzipan.
A breadmaker instead of a loaf of bread.

What surprises have you had ordering on line?

Take your mind off shopping and pandemics with some short stories.

A second anthology from the author of ‘Dark and Milk,’ including recent prize winning short stories. As you would expect, some tales are light, others very dark and you will not know which are which until it is too late! Visit places you may or may not find on a map, discover the Hambourne Chronicles and meet people who may not be what they seem.

Silly Saturday – Sensible Shopping

All of us are under quarantine, but some are more quarantined than others. We’re all isolating, but some are insulating – a combination of being insular and isolated and some of us are incarcerated. Wherever or however you may be, you still have to eat and if friends or neighbours have offered to ‘get a few things’ for you don’t turn down the offer, they may not offer again. Here are a few handy hints to make it easy for you the shoppee and they the shopper.

When they say ‘a few things’ they actually mean at least two hefty bagfuls of shopping.
If they say it’s no trouble, they mean it’s a whole load of extra fun which will fill their empty hours of isolation.
Do be polite and grateful for their help with such phrases as
‘I never shop at Tesco.’
‘I never shop on line, I like to see what I’m getting.’
‘Wednesday’s no good, couldn’t you make it Tuesday?’
‘Make sure they don’t put anything in plastic bags, I’m a plastic free shopper.’
‘Make sure the Sainsbury delivery van doesn’t park outside my house.’

You will need to make a list and it is important to remember that on line some items may not be available and if they go to the real shops, some items may not be available. Make your list clear, it’s not easy shopping for someone else. Here is an example of a helpful shopping list.

One loaf of Happy Fields medium sliced multi grain organic gluten free bread.

One pack of BRITISH butter, unsalted from Daisy Dairies, Somerset.

Two outdoor reared ( in Dorset or Surrey ) pork chops, the ones without the bone in.

A free range chicken, woodland, not corn fed, between 1.5KG and 1.74KG.

A bag of Lincolnshire potatoes, not too big, not too small either, potato size, not the bag…

Bunch of bananas, green, so they will keep.

Ten tins of Heinz Tomato soup, must be HEINZ.

Six tins of Ambrosia rice pudding – full cream NOT Lite.

Two packs of Green Grass Farm Extra Strong Mature Irish Cheddar, the pack with the green stripe and picture of black and white cows, not the red stripe and picture of auburn cows.

Three packets of Fair Trade breakfast tea leaves, NOT tea bags, not the supermarket own brand, the blue and purple box, not the green and red.

Seven packs of Tassimo L’OR Latte Macchiato Coffee Pods, not Costa latte and NOT caramel latte, six or five packs will do if they haven’t got enough.

 

When the day of expected on line delivery arrives, don’t forget to helpfully remind your kind neighbour that some of the shopping is for you by phoning or texting every hour to ask if it has arrived yet.
When at last they phone or message you to say the six shopping bags are now outside your door, reply quickly with a grateful message such as
‘I hope they are not too heavy for me to carry inside’ or ‘I hope they had everything.’
Finally, they may be too embarrassed to mention payment straight away, so don’t you mention it either.

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