Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Come on admit it, we all love supermarkets?!? Struggling to find a parking space, all the people, negotiating our trolleys up and down the aisles, trainee checkout staff. It’s blissfull.

We’ve not tried doing the food shop on line yet but I don’t like waiting in for people and I’ve never really fancied the idea of someone else deciding on ‘suitable alternatives’ for me. But they say don’t knock something ’till you’ve tried it, so maybe sometime soon we’ll give it a whirl.

Anyway, my wife and I LIKE the struggle and the challenge of doing the foodshop ourselves, it’s extremely satisfying, really, and I want to carry my own shopping over the threshold thank you very much, even if it is persisting it down.

So every weekend, we tootle off down to Tesco’s – the people who insist that they are “helping us save money, every single day”.

Hardly bloody likely, we must put the best part of ten grand into their coffers “every single year” but unfortunately we live in a time when convenience is king. When I think about it though, it would be cheaper to give up work and start growing the stuff ourselves. Now there’s an idea.

So, we arrive at the carpark. In fairness to Tesco’s, it’s large enough, but if you are able-bodied, not a mother with child, toddler, guinea-pig or whatever other restrictions they feel fit to impose on parking then it’s a bit of a struggle.

We’re still calm though, even though we’ve been circling the carpark trying to find a parking space for the last ten minutes. Finally, we catch someone vacating a space, well for the time it takes them, maybe emigrating’s a more appropriate word – Patience is a virtue.

The trolley we choose seems decent enough. Although, after taking on the minutest of payloads ie. one newspaper and a tin of beans it somehow develops a mind of it’s own, and moving it let alone steering it becomes virtually impossible.
Why do some people insist on clogging up the aisles?

They bring the whole family, including great aunts and uncles with them, the more the merrier I say. Then they bump into the family from down the road and voila, you’re faced with twenty odd geriatrics, toddlers, pregnant wives and their househusbands blocking of the aisles – joy.

Why do old people insist on doing their weekly shop at the weekend?

They can shop any day of the week, they can shop when it takes half the time to shop, they can divide their shop into five and do it Monday to Friday if they like, but oh no, they wait until the weekend and then descend on the supermarkets in their droves, you can’t move for old dears at the weekend, bless ’em.

No problem though, the aisles are clearing a little, actually, we’re doing quite well for time but hold on a minute, they’ve moved the bread, AND the milk, we don’t mind though, we love a game of hide and seek. When we finally find the new, improved locations (eye-level is buy-level) you’ve guessed it, there out of stock.

The check out experience is just that, an experience. My favourite part is when having just watched you load 115 items onto the conveyor belt the assistant asks “Do you need any bags for those?” I always feel like saying “No thanks, we’re going to carry each item out to the car individually.”

But we always smile and say “Yes please” mainly out of politeness but partly because I honestly believe that if we said we didn’t they would take us at our word.

Supermarkets don’t like us using their bags anymore, it’s another cost saving exercise that they can wave the green banner at but they still feel grudgingly obliged to offer us them, so subsequently they have reduced the quality of the bags to such an extent that they tear if you put anything heavier than a newspaper in one of them.

The assistant looks at you in shock-horror if you ask for a wine carrier, so if you’ve purchased more than one bottle of wine (heaven forbid) then load them into one of their plastic bags at your peril.

Having taken out a remortgage to pay the bill, even though we had 53 BOGOFS, (Buy One Get One Free) 27 discounts and God knows how many special purchases we struggle past all the people who insist on checking their bills right in front of the exits and out to the car.

Finally, ten broken plastic bags later, everythings stowed in the car and we tootle off home again. Having put everything away in it’s rightful place we come to the best part of the day, a well earned drink down the pub, but that’s another story.


We buy things for many reasons, we buy lots of things we need and lots of things we don’t need. If you have serious designs on making money it is vital that you understand why people buy.

# Necessity:

We can’t live without things such as food, water, shelter etc, so we have to aquire them. However there is a subtle difference between actual necessities and perceived necessities.

Human beings can be extremely impulsive and exposure to products and services can make us think that we cannot live without them. Furthermore we are very susceptible to the power of peer pressure. ‘The kid next door has got a new bike so our kids have to have one.’

We actually feel guilty or bad if we don’t buy our kids everything their conmtemporaries have. Thus, we as a society leave ourselves wide open to exploitation by the advertising industry.

“An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.” –  Pliny the Younger (62 AD – 114 AD)

# Emotions:

Our emotions play a great part in our shopping habits, lots of people comfort-shop, they buy things to give themselves a boost. Our mood is easily manipulated and our senses our susceptible to music, visual displays, enticing smells etc.

We buy for fun, we buy things that give us pleasure, we buy things that make us feel good, we buy to escape reality.

Mementos are also big sellers, there is nothing we like more than something that reminds us of a cherished memory – The power of nostalgia is immense.

We are all capable of greed, we all love a bargain, we all buy bulk items that we will never use.

# Real benefits:

We are fortunate to live at a time of great technological advancement, the labour-saving devices that have become available to us over the last 50 years have been astonishing.

Most of us like to improve ourselves, we will buy something if it will educate us or our children. Education is now available to a large proportion of us whereas less than a hundred years ago it was only available to a priviliged few. Furthermore the internet has made it possible for us to access information like never before.

We also buy things that we hope will make us money, we invest in all manner of things from jewellry to stocks and shares.

“To have little is to possess. To have plenty is to be perplexed.
Lao-tzu.” (604 BC – 531 BC)

# Image:

Everyone loves to look and feel good. image and prestige are both key buying motivators, if something makes us look good in the eyes of other people then we will buy it.

# Health: If we don’t have our health then we have nothing. People will pay to become healthier. Too often though we think we can get a ‘bargain’ a ‘quick fix’. Prevention is always better than the cure, moderation in all things

# Influences:

I started my career in retailing so I know a bit about sales psychology. I think the most important thing you can convey to someone in order to get them ito buy from you is TRUST.

We all like to buy from people we trust, someone that is going to make sure we get value for money, someone who is going to guide us through the minefields of their particular product or service. Trust is a key ingredient of repeat business.

Top advertisers and retailers are extremely adept at influencing our decision making when it comes to buying things, they create the right ambience for their products and services. They appeal to our ego’s, they make us think buying their goods will improve us in all manner of ways.

Personally, apart from life-saving products I think freedom and space are the most important commodities. If we can acheive these things then we owe it to ourselves to find the time to enjoy them.

“Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy those are who already possess it.” F. Rochefoucauld (1613 – 1680)


I’ve written numerous articles on this subject in the past many of which I’ve posted on various forums and blogs across the internet and they have always created a lot of interest and reaction, not all of it positive I might add!

There is a lot of moral high ground concerning the subject of looks and ageing but all I can say to the people who congregate up there is that people spends billions of pounds every year on anti-ageing products and procedures so lets stop being so hypocritical about it.

The fact of the matter is that the majority of people want to look better, this may or may not include wanting to look younger. Personally, up until the age of about 23 I hated looking young, I felt that it held me back, it’s only in the last 10 to 15 years that I have actually started to apreciate the fact that I look younger than I actually am.

‘To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early or be respectable.’ (Oscar Wilde)

Regardless of wether you want to look, feel or act younger than you actually are there are certain simple things you can do in order to look and feel healthier.


# Facial hair: Always keep your eyebrows neatly trimmed, bushy/long eyebrows add years to a person and the ‘uni-brow’ is not a desirable look. Definitely no nose or ear hair this is the height of unsightliness.

Some men can look attractive with beards or stubble but they do add between 5-10 years to a man’s perceived age.

# Moisturising: Come on, we are living in the 21st century there’s nothing unmanly about a man who moisturises. Good hair and facial care is bound to pay dividends.

# Sun: Use good sun creams and no sun beds.


The body is most definitely our temple and if we put crap into it we can’t complain if it malfunctions.

# Quit Smoking: The biggest single thing you can do for your body is to free it from the torture of cigarette smoke, trust me it will thank you incessantly.

# Food and water: Eat fruit as soon as you get up, it creates a good chemical reaction in the body, conversely, never eat fruit on a full stomach, ie as a dessert because it creates the opposite effect. Buy fresh fruit and veg and stick it in the fridge so that you see it every time you go for something to nibble on. Drink lots of water.

# Exercise: Do a little every day, some is most definitely better than none, plus try and get more fresh air, again 5 minutes is better than nothing.

# Posture: Stand straight(er) and walk faster. If you saw a person hunched over and shuffling along would you think they were important or even worthy of respect? Good posture makes you look taller and feel better.

# Clothes: Wear smart clothes, they do not have to be expensive, if you are used to or like ‘comfy’ clothes start wearing ‘smarter’ clothes indoors and they will soon start to feel more comfortable.

‘Youth has no age.’ (Pablo Picasso)


# Psychology: People tend to be as old as they want to be, you can be old at 20 and young at 90. I am not suggesting that a person should suddenly start acting as young as their kids, they’d just look stupid but I am a big believer that people of all ages should strive to get along with one another.

We are all living our lives on this planet at the same time. The universe has been around for billions of years so why should age gaps prevent us from communicating effectively and sincerely with one another.

# Meditation: Meditation is as important for the mind and soul as food and water is for the body.

# Laughter: Smile and laugh as much as possible, there is no better medicine or anti-aging product available to mankind than the positive effects on the body of smiling and laughing.

‘Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.’ (Sir Arthur Pinero)


Most of us like to keep our homes looking clean and fresh and irrespective of differing taste there are simple rules we can follow in order to acheive a quality look.

My wife and I are quite fortunate, she has a very good eye for design and I spent the first five years of my career in retail furniture, so together we usually come up with some pretty good ideas.

These are the steps we take when planning the decor for a room:

# Decide on your budget: If you can afford it bring in the professionals, yes it’s more expensive but you will acheive a much better finish, more quickly and it will last much longer. Even if you want to DIY getting quotes doesn’t cost anything and you will pick up some really good ideas.

# Decide on the look you want to acheive: Utilise what is already there but do not plan round things that can be easily removed or replaced. For example, if the room already has solid-wood flooring you would probably want to keep it but don’t plan round existing wallpaper, furniture etc. I personally like the minimalist, clean-line look.

# Colour scheme: Pick a feature colour(s) but use it sparingly, the bulk of the room-colour should be relatively neutral.

# Walls: Dado’s may be a bit dated but they are great if you have pets, top half wallpaper, bottom half painted lining paper. Hence bottom half is easily and cheaply replaced and also you can keep painting it different colours. You can use feature walls in a similar way, but subtle is best, all four walls painted red? – No.

# Furniture: Again, I prefer modern to traditional, I wouldn’t go for something too trendy though because it will date just as quickly, There is a lot of classical furniture out there both modern and traditional that will look just as good in ten years time.

# Protect it: The biggest harmers of furniture and fabrics are pets and sunlight, fit door handles that prevent your pets from gaining entry to a room when you are out. Likewise, fit blinds to protect your suite and other furniture from fading.

# Storage: We all accumulate clutter so it is vital we have plenty of storage space so we can keep it out of view, don’t have a thousand books on display, either get units to house them in or buy a Kindle.

# Flooring: Personally, I like solid wood flooring, with the exception of the lounge we have it fitted downstairs throughout, we paid a lot of money for it but it will last a lifetime. Dark carpets only so they don’t show the dirt and tiles in the bathroom.

# Tradesmen: If you do decide to use skilled tradesmen for kithen/bathroom fitting then select the tradesman first and then the furniture not the other way around. Use store fitters at your PERIL.

# Fixtures and fittings: Finishing touches and light-fittings make a room so I wouldn’t be tempted to skimp on them. However, not everything that looks expensive is expensive, as long as you have some good peices the rest will simply blend in.

# Pictures and mirrors: Big mirrors obviously make a room look bigger, and a couple of big pitures are preferable to lots of smaller ones. Limit the number of family photos, you know what each other looks like.

# Bringing the outside in: Get as much light into the room as possible and paint and decorate with lighter shades. The room will look better and bigger.

# The overall look: If the overall look of the room is relatively neutral it enables you to go a bit crazy in one area ie a brightly coloured suite or lots of colurful accessories and this will give the room impact. A patterned suite on a patterned carpet with patterned wallpaper – NO!

Even if it’s all the same pattern? – STILL NO!

Happy decorating.


No matter what we think about money it is vital to everone’s existence. Money often gets a bad press but placed in the right hands it can do amazing things.

Money is meant to be fluid, to flow from one person to another, it is not meant to be horded.

“Money can’t buy you happiness but it can buy you the kind of misery you prefer” (Author unknown)

Many people prevent money from comming into their lives for a variety of reasons. Some people don’t think they are worthy of it, it’s not the money they cant handle it’s themselves. To allow more money to come into our lives we have to believe we are worthy of it.

How do we do that?

We must practice what it is like to have lots of money, get used to the ‘feel’ of being rich. In fact if we want to be good at anything we must practice how to do it. Hang out where rich people do, save up and buy quality clothes and products. Start dressing, acting and thinking like a wealthy person.

Ignore your shortcommings:

Too many people get hung up on their weaknesses instead of concentrating on their strenghs. Just because a person has a limited education, comes from a poor background, speaks with a common accent etc doesn’t mean that they cannot become wealthy. On the contrary most rich people have major shortcommings in other areas of their lives.

“Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, it comes in handy.” (Groucho Marx)

Money can come to us from many different sources.

Too many people think they can only get money from their jobs. This is such a limmiting belief. Money can come to you from everywhere if you let it. Start thinking positively about it and it will start to flow to you.

Right out of the blue last week I got a cheque from the taxman for over £1,000, the week before my wife found a £20 note whilst clearing out a drawer, the week before that we received an insurance cheque for £850.

Start expecting it, asking for it, wanting it, thinking positively about it, stop moaning abouty the lack of it, being grateful for it and it will start comming to you.

Yesterday, I dropped a penny down the side of my car seat and spent 15 minutes retrieving it, not because I’m a skinflint but because I respect money and what it can do for us.


Clothes shopping is definitely a passtime that divides the sexes. Most women love it and most men hate it. Personally, I can just about tolerate it, I like OWNING new clothes but going shopping for them is a different matter.

I always try-on new clothes before buying them because they can look totally different on than they do hung up in the shop. I always tend to be with my wife when I shop for clothes. The reason for this is probably a combination of her motivating me to buy them and me trusting her taste, if she doesn’t like it I wont buy it.

Her judgement I can handle but most of the male changing rooms in the Uk have a waiting area where all the repective wives and girlfriends congregate. The upshot is that you end up modelling the clothes not just for your own partner but for a host of other women you have never met before as well.

By the end of a clothes buying session I feel that I know these women personally, afterall, most of them will have commented, to my wife more than me, on how I look in numerous different shirts and pairs of trousers. ‘Shucks, the mere thought of it is making me feel all embarassed.’

How come there’s no waiting area for the men in the female changing rooms? They probably use the space to stow all the ‘unsuitable’ shoes and handbags.

What is it with women and handbags? (closely followed by shoes)

Why do women have to posess upwards of thirty handbags? I just dont get it. Yeah, okay they need somewhere to put all their girlie-stuff and I understand the need to match the handbag to the outfit but 30, 40 or even 50 of the damn things, it’s just absurd.

I think a more realistic luggage allowance would be 20kg for men and 100kg for women, ‘That’s including shoes girls put those back in the wardrobe NOW.’ On our last trip abroad I was only allowed 2 pairs of shoes, whilst my wife somehow scraped by with 7.

Why have women never got anything to wear?

This is another fashion mystery, how can it be physically possible to have nothing to wear when you spend half your waking life shopping for clothes?
Most items women buy go straight in the wardrobe and next see the light of day when they decide to have the ‘old season clearout’. Why buy something if you are never going to wear it, guys will wear things until they are worn out and THEN utilise them for wearing whilst doing the gardening or DIY.

I once left my wife alone for 10 minutes in our local village center and when I met up with her again she’d bought a new dress! I vaguely remember her saying something about how it was an absolute bargain and it would’ve been foolish of her NOT to buy it…hmm. Foolish of me more like.

There is no doubt about it women love clothes and a word to the wise for the boys, women ALSO like men who wear nice clothes, I’ve even heard women describe men by what they were wearing and not by what they looked like.

‘Scary, consign that old wardrobe to the gardening shed guys and go out and buy yourselves a new one. That’s if you can you can get past all the women blocking the entrance to the male changing rooms of course.’