Archive for August, 2009
Over the past year or two, most of us have had to cut expenses. While it’s relatively easy to go from eating out twice a week to eating out once a week, some of us have had to go beyond that, doing our best to cut out unnecessary expenses wherever we can.
But grocery shopping presents us with a complex psychological environment in which it’s deliberately not easy to fill our trolley with the things we need, pay for them, and leave.
Supermarkets have played on consumer psychology for decades. For example, the produce greets us first thing, because it appeals to our sense of going to the market to get things we need, whether we buy the fresh produce or not. Here are three other ways supermarkets try to pry more money out of our wallets.
1. Locating emotionally invested choices away from the ends of the aisles. For example, people are particular about their coffee. If the coffee is placed at an aisle end, customers will feel rushed into grabbing a tin of coffee and moving along so as not to block shopper traffic. If coffee is placed in the center of an aisle – requiring the maximum number of steps from either end – the shopper is more likely to pull his trolley over and evaluate his coffee choices.
2. Stores want their customers to do three things: shop the high-margin areas of the store, fulfill their needs, and fulfill their wants. Placing the needs so that you have to pass through the “wants” and high margin areas first maximizes the chance customers will stray from their list.
3. The least expensive items are set out so you’ll encounter them after having bought your more expensive items. The theory is that you’re more likely to spend on little extras if you’ve already invested in the top-end items on your list.
There are numerous ways to fight the temptations supermarkets are so good at presenting. Everyone knows not to shop when they’re hungry, but there are a few other strategies, too.
2. Visit the butcher late in the day when you’re more likely to see items marked down for quicker sale. You can freeze extra servings for later.
3. Some coffee lovers say that if you mix a jar of cheap coffee and your favorite coffee, the cheap coffee will absorb some of the full bodied flavour of the expensive brand, and drastically cut your coffee expenses.
Got proven tips on how to make it through shopping day unscathed? Please share them with us below!
The August bank holiday has arrived, meaning all-day drinking and late afternoon incidents of glassing are on the cards. But before you begin that long and inevitable stagger to casualty, there’s just enough time to squeeze in some corking deals, individually wrapped and delivered by the pages of Hot UK Deals:
Remember when Take That were good? No? That’s right, because it never happened. Some folk rate the abilities of this grown-up boy band and the songwriting abilities of big Gazza Barlow, but not us. You’ll never catch us badly harmonising while singing Patience in the office, and that’s a fact. Still, even when we see the best efforts of Take That’s early years at this price – Never Forget: The Ultimate Collection on DVD for £3.83 delivered – we’re slowly reaching for our credit cards too. Those cheeky, lovely scamps.
Everyone loves babies, right? Wrong. Anybody who has spent a considerable number of months wiping their arse will know that catching crap in a nappy and scraping it off a youngling costs a fortune. Good news, then, from ASDA – a 6 pack of Johnson’s Baycare Wipes will only cost a piddling £5. Now if that isn’t cause for one too many pints of Magners this afternoon, then you must be dead on the inside.
Finally, what about cats? Brilliant, they are. Except when they stick a claw in your face at four in the morning, bite you, ruin your furniture, cry at the back door all the bastard time and refuse to eat any of the food you’ve bought them. Apart from that we love cats, which is why we’ll be buying this big book all about them. It’s no less than the Encyclopedia of the Cat for only £2.99 at WH Smith (RRP £25).
(deals found by HUKD members millarcat, smudgemobile and spruce-moose)
If there’s one thing the French are brilliant at, it’s striking. And mime artists, obviously, but mostly striking. The reasons can be many and varied, important or trivial – it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that they can get together on a whim and make a lot of noise about nothing much, so long as it causes the most inconvenience to fellow countrymen and, where possible, the rest of the world.
So when La Poste got their heads together with the transport authorities to help their customers out, it seemed as good a reason as any to strike. The idea is to let residents who miss a parcel delivery (or a letter sent by recorded delivery) have it forwarded to the ticket office of their local metro station – saving them from going out of their way to the local post office to collect it. Once a person has signed up, they’ll receive a text message to confirm the station has received an item, which they can then pick up any day of the week up until 11.30 at night – perfect for stopping by after work or a night on le sauce.
That sounds altogether useful, but those working in the ticket office had other ideas. Only one station is taking part in the trial that begins next month, but a third of the staff working on the entire metro line went on strike in protest. Union spokesman Cédric Ménival said: “We have more important things to do, like looking after passengers’ security and giving them information. What will they ask us to do tomorrow? Sell bread?”
Ah, some good to end this sacred day of our Lord. No doubt you spent Friday in mourning after discovering the eBay listing for a Manchester stag party in requesting a dwarf had been removed. We were heartbroken, as you’d expect. To think that somebody would be denied the chance to be handcuffed to a pissed-up Mancunian twat – it brought a tear to the eye.
But good news! After all, Sunday is a day for blessed miracles. The listing has re-appeared on eBay, so if you have a friend on the wee side who fancies some extra coin for entertaining these chaps in what can only be described as the Hawaii of the North, then the gig could be yours.
Using the likes of Babelfish is all well and good when you want a foreign phrase translating into a string of English words that make less sense. It’s a universal problem – Bitterwallet reader Jason visited a restaurant in San Remo where the Italian owners attempted to satisfy their English patrons but made a orecchio di un maiale of it:
Even after seeing the menu we decided to try and eat there. After 45 minutes of crap service we walked out. Just as well, because I didn’t really fancy bone holing the Milanese.
Some light mock iPhone ad fodder for your weekend teatime:
If we were 87 year-old Denis Norden, we’d say that next is a story to file under “about bastard time, too” – although Norden wouldn’t say bastard, unless he’d had a very large glass of gin: a shadowy organisation named the Movement for the Containment of Christmas is threatening shopkeepers who dare to slip into the Yuletide spirit too early.
Four businesses in Leeds have received letters warning them not to sell Christmas cards before November and a charity shop in Headingly has had its locks glued. Police have confirmed they are investigating the letters as well as mysterious phonecalls received by staff and hooded characters caught on CCTV posting the letters, which read:
MOVEMENT FOR THE CONTAINMENT OF XMAS
This is a very polite but very serious reminder not to display Xmas cards until 1st Nov.
We will put superglue in your locks if you do.
Peace and goodwill
(The MIND shop got done on Sunday)
Genius. Either it’s an individual concerned at the continued commercialisation of Christ’s birth, an outraged Bitterwallet reader or a just a regular mentalist. Either way, we’re secretly with them on this one, aren’t we? If it’s you, get in touch and tell us whether you’re likely to start scooping the organs out of prostitutes next. We’d quite like the scoop if you are.
As part of Newcastle Upon Tyne’s inner city redevelopment, the city council has taken a more liberal attitude towards drugs. As somebody has pointed out, it’s the sort of business that’s right at home between Greggs and a kebab shop called Munchies. Google Maps - it really is the gift that keeps giving:
It’s True Or False Friday here at Deals Of The Day. Why not get your friends together, gather around the screen, make some savings and pit your wits against one another when it comes to figuring how the validity of the claims below?
THE DEAL: A 43-piece forge steel tool set in a metal box. Get some DIY done over the bank holiday and severely injure yourself using some of the items in here. Only £17.61.
TRUE OR FALSE? The funniest tool in any tool box is the bastard file.
THE DEAL: A Bestway 10 foot swimming pool and filter pump. All for £19.99 with free delivery. Splish, and indeed, splash.
TRUE OR FALSE? This item is also ideal for breeding turtles in, and a packet of turtle seeds as well as a small grant is available from the government, subject to status.
THE DEAL: The complete 6 series of superb cult US prison drama Oz. The whole kaboodle for £54.93 with free delivery. Once you’ve watched it, you’ll never be the same again.
TRUE OR FALSE? The final episode of Oz revealed that the whole thing had been the figment of the imagination of a small autistic boy, and that the prison was set inside a snow globe.
(deals found by HUKD members markewatson, FatRocker and andywedge)
TRUE OR FALSE – all statements are FALSE. Except the first one, obviously. Highlight of any young boy’s first metalwork lesson that one.
If you’ve got a spare couple of hundred quid flip-flapping about in your pocket and you’re looking to invest in a games console this bank holiday weekend, there’s a red-hot deal for each of the big three available right now.
First up comes the Xbox 360 Elite bundle for £199.99. As well as the console, you’ll also get Resident Evil 5, Fight Night Round 4 and an extra wireless controller. There’s free delivery and the possibility of another £10 off if you’re eligible to use the 5% off code that you’ll find at HotUKDeals.
You can also pick up an official Xbox 360 play and charge kit for the unfeasibly cheap price of £4.99 right now. So you should.
If you’re of a Wii-type of an animal, you can get the stand-alone Wii console, which comes with Wii Sports, a Wii remote and nunchuck for only £139.97 delivered at the moment. Something here for voucher fans too – an extra tenner off if you use the code that’s waiting for you at HUKD.
Finally, there’s the PS3. Prices are dropping ahead of the launch of the PS3 Slim, but there’s nowt wrong with the good old 80GB PS3. If you fancy one, you can nab one right now for just £199. No vouchers and no bundled games with this one, but if it’s game offers you’re after, get over to Dealspwn and see what they can do for you.
If you prefer to spend the bank holiday in a more traditional way, you can come round to BWHQ and mow the lawn for us. It’s about seven feet high and in serious need of a scalping. Vince went out to tackle it a couple of weeks ago and we haven’t seen him since…
* Bag of chips used in comparison weighs eight tons.
Facebook. It’s very, very bad for you. How many times have we told you not to share every detail of your life on there? Your identity can be cloned, banks account fraud can be committed in your name, and if you’re fuckwitted enough you can tell everyone about getting “the love cave between your legs” filled in by somebody other than your fiancee:
Although the page on Facebook was genuine, it wasn’t posted by the individual in question, which is a shame. The perpetrator is likely to have been a hacker from within 4chan; according to TheNextWeb, a Christian dating website was hacked and the details used to cause mischief on member’s social network accounts.
When it comes to the recession, budget airlines have put their fingers in their ears and are shouting LA LA LA LA LA very loudly. At least that’s what the headlines would have you believe. After last week heralding additional routes for Newcastle, Jet2.com has this lunchtime announced a new base of operations at East Midlands Airport.
The seven new routes on offer from the budget airline are Lanzarote, Dalaman, Corfu, Heraklion, Paphos, Tenerife and Sharm El Sheikh. All routes are now available for departures from May 2010, with starting fares from £59.99 one way including taxes. Last week new routes for Newcastle were announced, departing to Dalaman, Crete, Gran Canaria, Paphos and Sharm el Sheikh.
Between the two announcements Jet2.com are claiming up to 700 new jobs will be created. Now we can’t knock that – more passenger choice and new jobs are very commendable – but will this be all there is to this story? Let’s look at Ryanair – on August 11th, Ryanair announced a massive expansion in operations at Leeds-Bradford Airport, increasing the number of destinations served to 17 and creating 1,000 new jobs. Less than a week later, Ryanair announced it was closing down all services out of Manchester with the exception of a single route. 600 jobs will be lost.
Jet2.com’s main base of operations is Leeds-Bradford Airport, where they now have Ryanair potentially outgunning them in terms of prices and PR. Jet2.com clearly aren’t happy about the situation, not least because they seemingly weren’t told Ryanair were moving in on their patch. While it’s unlikely Jet2.com will quit Yorkshire, it seems from today’s announcement that Jet2.com is gearing up for a turf war; Ryanair already operates nearly 40 routes from East Midlands airport. It’s good news for the consumer in the short term (unless you live in Manchester) but will both airlines survive?
So the good news for iPhone loving music chums is that the Spotify app has now been approved by Apple and will be available in the App Store shortly. This means you’ll be able to compile playlists on your desktop or your iPhone – choosing from millions of songs – and then cache them offline so you can effectively keep any 3,300 songs on your handset at any time.
The bad news is that to use the app, you’ll have to subscribe to Spotify’s Premium service at a cost of £9.99 per month. Although this means you can enjoy music on your desktop app at far higher quality (320kbps), access to exclusive tracks and none of those bleeding Kate Moss ads, it’s going to cost you £120 a year. And unless Spotify have done some extraordinary deal with Apple by which it can operate as a background app, you can’t do anything else with your handset while music is playing. That, frankly, is a complete pain in the arse.
So on the one hand you have access to millions of tracks on your iPhone or iPod and you never need bother with iTunes again, and on the other you’re £120 out of pocket. So which is it to be? Vote, comment and let us know. And if you’re not an iPhone fanboy, chances are you’ll pay the same price if and when Spotify is released for your handset, so don’t be shy and vote too:
The first in an irregular series of stuff we want off Santa…