Monthly Archives: November 2012

Supermarket Sweep – Part 2

A couple of final comments about supermarket shopping – namely internet shopping and stealing!

Internet Shopping

I used to do shopping by the internet whilst I was pregnant. Not because I was too lazy to walk round the shop, but for the fact that the smell made me nauseous. I won’t say which supermarkets I used but there might have been a hint of orange, but then every little helped. Generally, things were OK. 9 times out of 10 the groceries arrived when they said they would. But when they get it wrong, boy do they get it wrong.

I had one delivery driver refuse to take my shopping into the house, due to that famous “elf and safety” despite the fact that I was visibly pregnant and all he had to do was step through the front door (not even a step) and deposit it in the hall. Now, you’re probably screaming why couldn’t you do it, but my response would be that every other driver did and I was paying for delivery. One complaint later and delivery fee refunded.

Occasionally my shopping was seriously late to the point I had phoned up customer services several times and was getting to know the person who answered the phone. Little tip I would like to impart – if your shopping fails to turn up within its allotted slot and is much later than half an hour after the deadline then you complain and ask for a full refund – I did and got it. Twice! (Complimentary bunch of flowers the second time) So never forget you have the right to complain.

The other thing that can be very amusing is the substitution option. Generally this means that if they don’t have the item you specified, the shopper uses his/her discretion to pick a substitute item, usually a different brand.

Or so you would think!

One week I ordered a packet of spaghetti – the long stuff you put in a saucepan to boil. When the delivery arrived the driver told me what was substituted, as this generally gets put in a different coloured bag. That’s OK, thought I, any other type of pasta would be fine. Little did I know until I unpacked the shopping that “Dopey” from the “Snow White” had actually been packing my order. Can you guess what they gave me as a substitute? 

No? 

A TIN OF SPAGHETTI HOOPS!  Grrr, yet another phone call to customer services.

One final thing is to always check use-by and sell-by dates. Obviously when shopping yourself you check dates very carefully. Internet shopping doesn’t work like that. You see them going round the stores, picking out frozen stuff first, so it thaws before you’ve finished and then gets sent to you and just picking up items without checking whether it’s in date or broken, etc. IF you receive goods that are use-by the day you get your shopping or the following day. Phone up and complain, you may be able to get a refund on these items.

My final gripe, is one that does happen all too frequently. Supermarkets are aware it happens and yet are powerless to do anything. STEALING.

And it’s not who you would generally stereotype this kind of person to be. All too often it is a nice middle-class person. I have witnessed this offence on several occasions, only to be told by the supermarket manager that they can’t do anything about it.

Why not? Stealing is stealing in whatever shape or form. It doesn’t matter who you are.

Stealing is against the law.

You may not think you are doing anything wrong as you wander round the supermarket and feed a bread roll to your screaming youngster – but if you don’t pay for it you are.

Similarly is you pick up a bunch of grapes eat a handful and then put them on the shelf a few aisles further on YOU ARE STEALING.

Ditto those who take bars out of boxes. Taking stuff and not paying for it is ILLEGAL.

Yes, yes, yes, supermarkets make so much money they won’t miss a few grapes, etc. But supermarkets do actually lose quite a lot of money each year due to theft, even though it’s absorbed by the huge profits they make.

My argument still stands, if you don’t pay for it you are stealing and no better than someone who steals a car, or breaks into a house and steals anything they can get there hands on.

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Supermarket Sweep – Part 1

Mmm, supermarkets! Love ’em or loathe ’em, they are essential establishments for the vast majority of us. What would do without BOGOFs, buy one get second half price, not to mention the “they’re a bit past their shelf life but if you’re game they’re cheap!” and in all fairness the choice?

Having said that, however, there are several things that can leave one feeling a little exasperated! And the next couple of posts I shall get these little irksome annoyances off my chest 😉

Checkouts

Why is it shoppers seem to think it’s OK to try to put a trolley load of shopping through the “10 items or less” checkout? This is not as daft as it sounds. I actually witnessed a woman with a mountainous trolley push her way in front of me and proceed to empty the stuff onto the “10 items or less” conveyor belt. Cue a volley of abuse when the checkout staff politely pointed to the sign and asked her to reload her trolley and go to another till. What part of “10 items or less” did this woman fail to understand? Why did she deem herself to be immune from this particular little detail of the checkout in question? She may have been in a desperate hurry, who knows. But even in a great hurry, one would have thought she would have the intelligence and the courtesy not to be quite so arrogant, or alternatively had the foresight to plan one’s shopping trip to leave enough time to pay for such a huge amount of shopping.

I do, however think that some supermarkets are over-zealous in their attempts at keeping 10 items or less to just that. I have been in the supermarket and have seen people turned away from this till with 11 or 12 items and made to stand in the large trolley queues whilst the “10 items or less” remained empty and void of shoppers. I think that when the shop is not busy it would be appropriate for checkout staff to exercise discretion if there are only 1 or 2 items over 10.

The other thing that slightly irritates me is the paper/lottery/cigarette tills at the front of the store. Please supermarkets, leave them as just that! When the shop is busy this queue becomes the longest in the shop and an extension of the “10 items or less” till for those that have the couple of items over 10. If you want a paper/lottery ticket/cigarettes get them before you do your shopping or after. I appreciate that the great British past-time is queuing but I only went in for a paper I don’t want to have to queue for as long as I do if I’m doing my weekly shop! Is that too much to ask?

Oh and whilst I’m about it, how about re-opening a cash only till. I know cash is very much an alien concept these days, but sometimes I just don’t feel comfortable using a card for 2 items that cast me precisely £1.47!

Finally, self-service checkouts. Innovative, yes. Annoying, definitely. The great thing about them is you get to scan your own shopping. Fantastic. Less queuing time, generally, and you don’t have to pack like a madman because the shopper behind is encroaching in your own personal space whilst you are trying to pack and tut if you go slow! (Oh, I just love that, I purposely slow right down to the point of having a conversation with the cashier just to annoy ;-)) BUT, how annoying is it to get the “skip bagging item” or the beep because the weight device didn’t actually feel you pop the item in the bag because you put it on top and you have to ask for assistance and feel like the IT duncehead because you’re asking every 2 minutes. And whilst I’m on the subject of the assistants, is it part of the job description to look at everyone like they are some kind of master criminal about to leave the shop with a hot can of baked beans?? Finally design-wise leaves a lot to be desired, if I’m using cash I want to know my change is going to appear somewhere in the vicinity of where I put my money in, not from a hole that looks like a reject from a Las Vegas one-armed bandit, ditto the receipt. Aside from this though I do recommend self-service especially if you have a small child in tow, getting them to help with the scanning makes it much more fun!!

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Strong Woman

An inspiring poem for everyone from http://dingdongitsmrwrong.wordpress.com

Strong Woman.

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Bucket List – #2 & #24

Very exciting week on the bucket list front.

Have managed to get the lead in the next am-dram musical – yay me! So, that’s another notch on number 2 😉

Obviously I have to duck all the compulsory dagger throwing from people who didn’t get the part for the next few months, but it’s going to be so much fun  and I’m very excited 😉

I worked really hard (probably the hardest I’ve ever done in my life) for this audition. I knew I would be fine with the acting and dancing, but the singing part has always been my weakest area, and one of the songs I needed to hit squarely and start in my belt voice otherwise it would all have gone horribly wrong. I spent the weeks leading up to audition have seven shades of panic about this song and then I had a Eureka! moment, or rather found the most wonderful advice and it worked.

When it came for me to stand up and audition I was confident and for once sang the best I ever have in an audition situation. Literally I could not have sung any better had I tried. I walked away feeling fantastic – and knowing that I couldn’t control the outcome knew I had done my best.

When I found out I had got the part I was over the moon – and SC was made up for me too 😉

And the next bucket list task in progress is learning to swing on a trapeze. I have found a static trapeze class and am going to go in the next fortnight with a couple of mums from school. I shall let you know what it is like. We’re all very excited about it 😉

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Envy

Yes, that whole “covet thy neighbour’s ass” commandment!

Now, according to Wikipedia, envy, like greed, can be characterised as an insatiable desire. They vary, however on two counts:

  1. Firstly, greed is largely associated with material goods, whereas envy may be more general;
  2. Secondly, those who commit the sin of envy, not only resent that another person has something they perceive themselves as lacking, but also wish the other person to be deprived of it.

Nice, huh!

Now we all get envious, to varying degrees, pretty much every day.

You see someone and think “Wow! What fab hair, wish my hair was like that.”, or “that woman looks amazing so quickly after giving birth, I wish I knew her secret!”, and one for the lads “nice car! Bet he pulls the birds in that!”

Yes, this is theoretically committing the sin of envy, but it is very light-hearted, with no animosity or malice. We just wish our hair could look good, not that we wish the other person’s hair didn’t.

But, what if we let that envy eat us up? What happens when we let the green-eyed monster get larger?

Nothing good!

Imagine a sulky child, not being able to get what he/she wants at the toy shop. What do they all cry out?

Yes, that’s right. “It’s not fair!”

I want does not equal I get!

Something SC knows. He knows that I want never gets – but he is that cute, he then rephrases it with “I would like”, and when he says “it’s not fair!” I give him a cuddle and remind him that life, unfortunately is not fair, and we have to learn to deal with it. This happens, usually after he’s lost a game we’ve been playing!

But we are not an eternal child (we wish we could be, but we are not). So when something happens that we feel is unfair – we don’t get that big promotion, Hollywood doesn’t come a-calling, we get sidelined for a younger model, etc, etc, etc, what do we do?

We can stamp and shout about how it isn’t fair, dissect the situation in the minutest detail to work out why we were not the chosen one, and keep going on, and on, and on about it to everyone and anyone we meet. Not only griping about what a big mistake it was, because we are so much better, but that the other person is rubbish and not ‘fit for purpose’, so to speak.

Is that going to get us sympathy? Is that going to get us what we want?

No!

We might get sympathy initially. But the constant harping and snide comments will win us no friends in the end. And more importantly, the situation will not change. We will still not have the promotion, glittering career, or man/woman back!

We will be left with nothing!

So how do we stop the green-eyed monster from rearing its ugly head in the first place?

OK. we can have a little cry and a moan, and maybe a little petulant stamp of the foot. Hurt pride takes a while to heal and we wouldn’t be human if it didn’t hurt, just a little.

But we have to remind ourselves that it isn’t the end of the world. It was clearly not meant to be.

Time heals, is a very true saying. And yes, we may be hurting inside every time we see the person that got the job, or the person that got the man/girl. But if we keep our own counsel we will not let the green-eyed monster win and will not lose the respect of others.

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Love Is … Like An Audition!

… most of the time all you hear is “Next!”

Occasionally you get a recall, maybe even a few for one part, before it comes down to a choice between you and another actor. Then generally, you always lose out!

Not for want of talent, but it could be for all manner of reasons, too tall, too short, too clever, too ugly, too fat, too thin, too outspoken, too quiet. There will always be something.

But, you know what? None of these things are your fault. You cannot change who you are.

Eventually, after so many auditions and recalls, that you lose count, you get a part.

Most of the time these parts are not permanent – they will be contracted for a couple of years, until you outgrow the production. Either because you don’t want to renew your contract as you want a new challenge, or because the casting director feels the need to breathe new life into the production – if this is the case it’s generally their loss 😉

Once in a lifetime though you will find the perfect part for you. There will be no need for ‘hamming it up’, forcing emotions, trying your utmost to remember lines, ‘the method’, etc. The role is suited to you. It will be a totally natural and organic performance “darling”! You and the part in perfect harmony.

This role is the one we all search for. Some of us find it. Some of us just keep missing the damn call 😉

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Crystal Healing & Chakra Rebalancing Session

WOW! OMG! etc, etc, etc.

I’ve just had a crystal healing session and it was AMAZING.

When I arrived at the practitioners premises I had to fill out the usual medical form, name, address, etc. Then she told me what she would be doing. The session, in a nutshell, involved seeing which chakras were out of balance, then opening up the chakras, allowing the negative energy out, positive energy in and closing the chakras back again.

I’m sure the sceptical amongst you are sitting there tutting and saying “what a load of codswallop!”

Anyway, I lay on the treatment table.

First of all the room was cleansed, the practitioner then gave me a clear crystal to hold throughout the session – she clasped my hand to establish a connection!

Then the practitioner took a crystal on a pendant and held it over each chakra centre to establish which ones were out of balance. As the pendant was held over the centre it would either not move, or move according to whether the centre was out of balance or not.

Again, for all you sceptics out there saying “Surely the practitioner could just wiggle it anyway?”

Yes, she could. But seriously, you could tell which was a movement made by the normal, natural process of just holding something still and not (trust me I watched her wrist and hands like a hawk!)

My solar plexus and heart chakras were seriously out of kilter.

The solar plexus is connected to mental alertness and confidence and the heart is connected to emotions.

And since I have not been feeling my best recently this did not surprise me in the slightest!

Then the session really began and I shut my eyes and relaxed.

I had to take 3 deep breaths and then she set to work.

I felt her place a crystal above my head and hold it with her hands to open the crown chakra. After several minutes she moved away and placed the next (different) crystal on the next chakra centre and so on working down from crown to base.

After she moved to another centre I could still feel the crystal on the previous points and it felt cold. I have to admit, I peeked when she moved away from the heart chakra and could not believe that there was no crystal there!

I could feel where all the crystals had been and at each point it was really cold.

So I went back to relaxing.

The practitioner continued working – no idea what actually happened after I closed my eyes – I know theoretically (because she had explained) that once the chakras were open she would place a circle of clear crystals around me to release all the negative energy and then turn them round so that they would allow positive energy to flow back, then she would close them up.

As my eyes were closed I became more and more relaxed and it was then it happened!

You know when you are just waking and your eyes aren’t properly  open but you can sense them opening and with every blink see some lights and shapes, which get bigger and bigger until your eyes are open.

Well …

… that’s what it felt like. – and I know I’m so not going to explain it very well, but I felt like my eyes were opening, although they were shut tight.

I could see them (apparently) trying to open, and it was as if a blind was opening, as the blind was drawn back I thought I could see sky. There were some clouds, but on the whole it was blue, and there were trees either side. It was as if I was lying on the grass looking upwards.

Then snatched bits of conversation popped into my head and just when I thought I’d cleared my head to relax again, up popped another snippet. I saw people too, some from my past and some from my present.

And all the time, the blinds were being lifted. they closed because I became conscious of them and thought my eyes were actually opening.

It is very difficult to explain and you’re probably thinking I’m making half of this up, but I swear to God I am not.

Whilst I was lying there, I could not feel the crystal in my left hand and my right hand, although it was resting on my right leg it didn’t feel as if it were at all, and I felt almost like I was floating.

It was only every so often I realised I still was breathing, I would physically feel myself take some breaths and then I would be totally unconscious of it again.

And still, the coldness remained where the crystals had been placed.

At one point towards the end, my entire body went really cold and then began to warm up.

It was then that the practitioner took hold of the hand that held the crystal and asked me to take 3 deep breaths and then slowly open my eyes.

Once I had my eyes open, she took up the pendant and placed it over the chakra centres that had been unbalanced and it did not move this time.

I felt totally relaxed and at peace.

There are, as with everything, after care recommendations such as not smoking, drinking, reducing caffeine intake and increasing water intake, plus relaxing, which I shall try to do.

I did tell her about the coldness, the eyes open sensation and the conversations.

She explained the conversations were probably blockages that were freeing themselves, and the coldness was just the chakra centres working on restoring calm. The blind opening sensation was clearly my subconscious going to a higher plane! (cue laughter!)

If you are of a mind to try it out, I would recommend it. As with anything holistic it’s best to go somewhere that has been recommended you by a friend.

I shall be going back when I feel out of balance again, until then I shall enjoy being connected to the universe once more 😉

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