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FastFreddy2

Autumn/Winter 2015

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Oopsy...

Returned the leather courts tonight, and am keeping the patent ones. I have NO IDEA where I might wear them, but I want to keep them for a while anyway. They will sell on an auction site if I get fed up with looking at them/trying them on (never gonna happen). I justified keeping the patent shoes by deciding to sell on the Zara courts mentioned.  

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Even if they were 100% hidden you would still know you were wearing them and that would no doubt be entertaining to yourself - and that's all that matters. Weirdly enough I am not that into heels, for someone on this site - only tall boots, which I had always associated with heels and femininity - but I can never resist the idea of sneakily doing something offbeat or something you're 'not supposed to do', especially if it is entirely legal and not harmful to anybody. So get yourself the tickets and the scarlet pumps and go for it.  

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Good luck, Freddy, if you go - whatever you wear.

I'm not a Philistine, nor unduly tight-fisted (unless you ask my wife!) but I am totally unwilling to go to any sort of live performance (theatre, ballet, opera, concert, stage show or whatever) that costs more than, say, £20 for the seat - and not even then if the cost of travel etc is significant.   I simply don't enjoy something of that sort enough to justify making a big dent in my pocket - as with luxury hotels or holidays and the like.   More to the point, on the last few occasions I have been tempted by (or treated to) such an event, the aggravation of getting to the venue, being ripped off for any extras and finding a poor seat/view and mediocre performance has made the whole event less than worthwhile - I would have been better-off (in all senses) to watch it on the TV!   That said, I do enjoy live theatre at one or two of the small provincial places which are easy to access and have a sensible price structure.   And, if going alone, I am likely to emulate you and Shyheels and dress to suit my mood without making a fool of myself.

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I too am aghast at ticket prices these days, with the West End being particularly expensive. I had mentioned the 'best' seats priced at £99.... Last night I checked the same seats for Saturday performances, and the later dates on the run ... Same seats £125. :o Rather frighteningly, I'll almost guarantee every ticket will sell. :blink:

If I were to pro rata those 2½ hours (at £50 an hour) for a two week holiday, I'd be budgeting £8,400 per person. Why make this comparison? Well, since my 2 week holiday (when I took one) would come in at under one tenth the £8,400 price, I can say the tickets are 10 times more expensive per hour, than a foreign holiday. This can be a useful benchmark for working out a potential value-for-money comparison, which plainly, this isn't.

That said.... I currently avoid spending £600-£800 each year now, by having a stay-cation at home. Averaged out, I have one of these expensive nights, perhaps once a year. Viewed with that in mind, my 'blow-out' night is in some sense, my yearly "holiday-in-an-evening". As sad and frugal as it reads. 

The other glaringly obvious thing to me when I consider it, is how often do I go to the opera or have I ever been? Perhaps 8 times to date? The two notable visits were the Albert Hall gig, and a night of arias at the Barbican. These were 20 and 30 years ago respectively. No performer or promoter is getting rich off me. ;) :D

 

Subject to the gig being in Italian, I think I might be going.   

 

 

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You are right to look at it in the terms of how many times gave you been to the opera. This is a big thing, a major treat, and there are times when it pays to push the boat out. Sure, the price might seem high, even unconscionable, but you're a long time dead. Money is for spending. Doing something special can be a wise investment in life. The cost will seem little enough someday when you're in your 80s and looking back...

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12 minutes ago, Shyheels said:

 Sure, the price might seem high, even unconscionable, but you're a long time dead.

 

Completely agree. As does my shoe collection. ;)

 

12 minutes ago, Shyheels said:

Money is for spending.

 

My millionaire/longest standing friend would disagree.....

My wife would tell you, that I would disagree .....

Reading above, I suspect Puffer's good lady wife, would say he would disagree .... ;) :D

 

In this instance, I would see it as an investment in my general well-being. It's been a terrible year (on top of a couple of not great years), and none of us are getting any younger. The encouragement is welcome. B) 

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If it has been a lousy year then by all means do not even consider the cost. A hundred quid is small potatoes over the course of a life, and cheap when you think of the joy you will get from going. Book those tickets!

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Yes, money is for spending - but spending wisely.   As I often have to remind my wife (when she cadges £10 to get yet another new outfit from Millets), I will spend a pound as willingly and frequently as any man - but I like to get at least £1.25's worth for it.

I was very reluctant to shell out about £110 for my MJ boots (delivered) as that seemed a great deal for just another item of footwear that would get little wear.   But I realised that they were not only special, and fulfilling an unrealised ambition, but were actually good value in terms of the bespoke workmanship they represented.   I don't regret it, and the £110 would merely sit in an account earning possibly 1.5% net if I hadn't spent it ...   Well, that's my excuse, anyway.

Must dash now ... off to post my begging letters (unstamped) and note to Santa.

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39 minutes ago, Puffer said:

Must dash now ... off to post my begging letters (unstamped) and note to Santa.

You are plainly a man who can teach me a thing or two about saving money. ;) :P :D 

Mrs Freddy is impressed. (Though I might have chosen the wrong word? :D)

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I don't wish to learn about saving money. I don't throw it away, but I do not stint on things that seem important to me. I spend freely in such cases, and in this I am enthusiastically supported by my wife. We both are happy to splurge and count the cost later. We do not gave much and are by no means rich, and in general our wants are very modest indeed compared with most. No fancy cars etc. But if we wanted a nice night out, a trip to the theatre, we don't sweat it.

again, we are not spendthrifts, but happily push the boat out for things that matter to us

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4 hours ago, FastFreddy2 said:

... Mrs Freddy is impressed. (Though I might have chosen the wrong word? :D)

I hope you don't mean that she has been forcibly enlisted in the Royal Navy after being nabbed by the press gang?   But, if so, did you engineer it in order to save all the extra Christmas expenditure on such trivia as her food and clothing?   That's got me thinking ...

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1 hour ago, Shyheels said:

I don't wish to learn about saving money. I don't throw it away, but I do not stint on things that seem important to me. I spend freely in such cases, and in this I am enthusiastically supported by my wife. We both are happy to splurge and count the cost later. We do not gave much and are by no means rich, and in general our wants are very modest indeed compared with most. No fancy cars etc. But if we wanted a nice night out, a trip to the theatre, we don't sweat it.

again, we are not spendthrifts, but happily push the boat out for things that matter to us

A sensible overall view.   But by 'saving money' do you mean (a) accumulating it (e.g. in a savings account) for the future; or (b) reducing expenditure by buying wisely, (e.g. getting a discount) without sacrificing the nature or quality of what you want?   (I am merely curious; different people have different ideas about 'saving'.)

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We sure don't have what anybody would call savings - in the sense of large sums squirreled away against a rainy day. We do always look for sales and bargains, the old three-for-two, discounted theatre seats, flights, holidays. My wife is a wonder at finding such things. Sometimes the sheer depth of the bargains she is able to find create their own compelling momentum - who can pass up 70 per cent off?

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7 hours ago, Shyheels said:

who can pass up 70 per cent off?

 

Me. :D

About 40 years ago I listened to a man vs woman narrative on the radio. It wasn't overly serious, but the theme of it went something like this ...

 

Her: I saved us £200 today.

Him: Marvellous, well done. How did you do that?

Her: I bought a new £1000 cooker that only cost us £800 because it had £200 discount on it.

Him: But we don't need a new cooker?

 

I will admit to be 'a sucker' for a bargain, and will buy something I hadn't intended to if it is cheap enough, but I do need to have a obvious/immediate use for it. For example, in Sainsbury's the other evening shopping for jeans. (There's a surprise.) While there I past the discounted chilled puds section to get a good phone signal, and spotted a discounted Summer Fruits cream trifle at 70p rather than the £1-40 it usually sells at. I went home with one, much to Mrs Freddy's delight. :D 

My resistance to shoes 'bargains' is almost zero. A shoe or boot I like, would become a must have with 70% discount. ;)

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We are like that with travel destinations...

we don't buy for the hell of it. It has to be something we like. If we like it, especially travel, and there's a big discount, we pull the trigger!

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I have all the supermarkets (except, alas, Aldi) within easy reach and absolutely no store-loyalty.   We have little brand-loyalty either; we avoid most branded items unless they have demonstrably better qualities than own-brand or unbranded items.   My wife and I shop wherever is cheapest at the time for certain items, balanced by overall convenience - we don't go to three or four places in the same shopping trip but would take advantage of best buys when in each shop or area.   A quick (but not slavish) check on a website such as http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/ (recommended, but not infallible) gives a good invitation as to the preferred source.    And of course any sensible discount coupons (such as £5 off a £40 spend) are taken into account, with immediate needs bolstered by non-perishable extras for future use if a target has to be reached.   (I pride myself on adding up the cost of items in my head as I walk round, and usually stop when I reach the 'target'.   I am rarely wrong with my total at the till, unless something has been mispriced - in which case I may be prompted to query it - or can only be estimated until it is weighed.)   If all this sounds like a Scrooge-like fetish, it is justified not only by the real savings that can be made but also by the useful mental (and physical!) exercise required.

My wife does not have quite the same nose for, or pursuit of, a 'bargain' as I do, and sometimes deludes herself when shopping.   By that I mean that she will buy something that we need (or she thinks we need) because it is 'on offer' without thinking about the real worth of what she buys as well as alternative sources that might be better/cheaper.   I can't really blame her for falling for the first trick in the seller's portfolio but it would be better if she considered the bigger picture.   

The above considerations apply similarly to non-supermarket purchases.   Brand-avoidance may be more difficult (or dangerous) but a little research pays dividends, especially when buying consumer durables - everything from an electric kettle to a range cooker, or a TV or a car.   Here, ease of use/reliability/longevity are key factors and the game is then to find the best price for the preferred item, allowing for any advantages or otherwise in the seller's location, service etc.

What I will not do is to spend money without thought on any non-trivial impulse buy, however flush I may be.   Or buy something that may be both good and desirable in itself but which is so expensive that I could never regard it as giving a worthwhile 'payback'.   So, the YSL boots at c£800 will never be mine, however much I may admire them, and however big the likely discount.   (That said, if I saw a pair at £100, I would probably surrender!)

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Our brand loyalty, such as it is, is totally based on perceived quality. No blind followng of brand names here, but we will pay more for what we consider a better product.

We are indulgent though in some way, yielding to things that mean something to us or would make a difference or be special in some way.

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Mrs Freddy can 'nose out at bargain' at the supermarket, now she has a handle on the "xx" per £ or per kg label they often provide. She likes using the one supermarket though as she does the bulk of the shopping and it is a chore. She insists the familiarity of the venue allowing her to minimise her time there. I would and have tried others, with ASDA being my preferred choice (on balance). There is an ALDI not far away, but parking isn't a pleasant experience. 'Standard procedure' is to check the items bought at discount were actually registered at the till as discounted products. Some supermarkets are legend for this, and the one we use is the leader-of-pack for it.

Overall, Mrs Freddy is less resistant to a 70% off 'bargain' when it comes to clothing for herself. She has two large wardrobes here, literally crammed full, most of which I'm adamant hasn't seen the light of day .... Her version of my shoe collection I suppose.

These days we seldom buy household goods or electricals, without some reference to retailer reviews or a review site.

 

  

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Cycling clothes on a good sale usually get me. Other than that, And my nice boots, I am hardly a clothes horse.

 

my wife has an astounding ability to find bargains, coupons, bonus points or preferably all three.

 

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47 minutes ago, FastFreddy2 said:

Mrs Freddy can 'nose out at bargain' at the supermarket, now she has a handle on the "xx" per £ or per kg label they often provide. She likes using the one supermarket though as she does the bulk of the shopping and it is a chore. She insists the familiarity of the venue allowing her to minimise her time there. I would and have tried others, with ASDA being my preferred choice (on balance). There is an ALDI not far away, but parking isn't a pleasant experience. 'Standard procedure' is to check the items bought at discount were actually registered at the till as discounted products. Some supermarkets are legend for this, and the one we use is the leader-of-pack for it.

Overall, Mrs Freddy is less resistant to a 70% off 'bargain' when it comes to clothing for herself. She has two large wardrobes here, literally crammed full, most of which I'm adamant hasn't seen the light of day .... Her version of my shoe collection I suppose.

These days we seldom buy household goods or electricals, without some reference to retailer reviews or a review site.

 

  

Good points, Freddy.   The cost/weight ratio is very important; it is not always the larger pack that gives better value.   My wife dislikes shopping of all types - particularly as her eyes are sensitive to fluorescent lighting - and never shops more often or for longer than is absolutely necessary.   I quite like wandering round a shop, whether buying or browsing (apart from heel-spotting), so am happy enough to do the major supermarket shopping etc - which ensures that it is done 'properly' :rolleyes:.

I assume you are saying that you find Asda unreliable at recording discounted prices properly, rather than most reliable; is that so?   (I cannot say I have had that bad experience with Asda - although I do find it adept at advertising 'specials' which are nowhere to be found on getting to the branch.   And when did you last see any sort of discount coupon issued by Asda?)   I do quite often shop there; the local branch, although not large, is quite convenient.   (It was formerly a branch of Wickes; alas, no plasterboard or sand available.)

Reliable reviews of consumer goods are a must.   There are some (e.g. Revoo) on line, or Which? is available in the library.   (Avoid those, such as typical of Argos site, which consist of little more than a purchaser saying 'I bought one last week and I like the colour ...' which says nothing about usage.)   I've just been persuaded to buy a new vacuum cleaner; Which? (and others) pointed at Miele being by far the best for a standard cylinder type (borne out by our own experience) but they ain't cheap.   But the optimum model for us (not the dearest of several variants, some costing £200+) was available from a retailer we know of in Brighton at £130 'collected' (£20 less than anyone else) and easily bought online and picked up a couple of weeks later when I was visiting family in the town; a result all round.   I could have bought something 'satisfactory' for half the price but here I think the extra cost for proven reliability/performance was worthwhile.   But it's thin gruel for the next week until our finances recover ... (either that or the butler's wages are cut).

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Product reviews are always a bit dodgy. You need quite a number of them to get any real sense of what something is like. Too many times there will be a one-star review for something just because it arrived two days late ir the person who bought it ordered the wrong size, or they get five star reviews just in sight, out if the bix, before the so called reviewer  has had a chance to use the product.

 

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3 hours ago, Puffer said:

I assume you are saying that you find Asda unreliable at recording discounted prices properly, rather than most reliable; is that so?   (I cannot say I have had that bad experience with Asda - although I do find it adept at advertising 'specials' which are nowhere to be found on getting to the branch.   And when did you last see any sort of discount coupon issued by Asda?)   I do quite often shop there; the local branch, although not large, is quite convenient.   (It was formerly a branch of Wickes; alas, no plasterboard or sand available.)

 

 

Au contraire, I refer to Messrs Tesco Tricks and Deceit Co. Ltd. Who use a yellow sticker system, often placed beneath something that isn't 'on offer', but might relate to something in close proximity. They are also keen to exploit the 'special offer' of 8 items (toilet roll) that is actually a more expensive buy than 2 off 4 packs. :blink: Catch them at the right moment though, and the price of their short dated produce is hard to beat. IE, two off loaves of bread, at 10p each. (Both straight in the freezer.)

I like ASDA because there is some chance their jeans will fit, and they are slightly more sincere with intention of providing value for money. When I leave Tesco, I am compelled to check I have a full compliment of fingers .... ;) :D 

 

As for reviews, I always go straight to the lowest ratings. I read 5 or 10, as I'm looking for the Achilles heel of the product. 'Wrong colour', 'slow delivery' or anything like it are discounted. Two or three "broke down on second day" type reviews exclude the product unless they were posted in 2012, and the 2015 reviews are all exemplary.

Miele would be my preferred brand for a cylinder cleaner too, if I only I had the where-with-all for one. That said, my 'work' vacuum cleaner is a Goblin 1000 which I have owned since 1983/84. Given what I paid (not much) and the service I've had, a Miele wouldn't have been overly expensive if it lasted as long. The chap I buy bags from, is amazed I have a working one. So am I given the debris it has collected for me over the years. The bag in it is currently full of brick dust. I can't count how many time it has been so. Mrs Freddy, rather unkindly I think, describes it as a Family Heirloom. Women! :D 

 

 

Edited by FastFreddy2

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1 hour ago, FastFreddy2 said:

 

 

Au contraire, I refer to Messrs Tesco Tricks and Deceit Co. Ltd. Who use a yellow sticker system, often placed beneath something that isn't 'on offer', but might relate to something in close proximity. They are also keen to exploit the 'special offer' of 8 items (toilet roll) that is actually a more expensive buy than 2 off 4 packs. :blink: Catch them at the right moment though, and the price of their short dated produce is hard to beat. IE, two off loaves of bread, at 10p each. (Both straight in the freezer.) ...

As for reviews, I always go straight to the lowest ratings. I read 5 or 10, as I'm looking for the Achilles heel of the product. 'Wrong colour', 'slow delivery' or anything like it are discounted. Two or three "broke down on second day" type reviews exclude the product unless they were posted in 2012, and the 2015 reviews are all exemplary. ...

I know what you mean about Tesco (and others) with misleading labels and bulk-buy savings what ain't.   Caution is always needed.   I don't find much in the way of short-dated discounts at the local Tesco - except perhaps about half an hour after Sunday opening, when a lot of Saturday leftovers are nicely priced - and it's even better at Morrisons (which is, admittedly, a larger shop).   I'm not often out at either on a Sunday morning but I can be sure of a quick kill if I happen to be there.

I agree with your approach to reviews, whether of consumer products, holidays, restaurants, books or anything else.   Probably 50% of all reviews (if readable at all, considering the ignoramuses who often write them) are so bigoted, biased or irrelevant that they should be discounted.   Of the others, one does need to eliminate the out-of-date or mistaken (e.g. someone not realising what the reasonable limitations of the purchase were, or misusing it).

Surprisingly, one of the best vacuums I have ever known and used was (and still is) a cheapo Argos 'Challenge' bagless vertical cylinder type, given to me at least 6 years ago by my son after he had used (and abused) it for various tasks.   It has been my 'DIY' vac ever since, sucking up all sorts of on-site debris without complaint, provided the filters are kept clean (not difficult).  I did, early on, have a problem with a wire to the switch fracturing, but that was easily repaired.   Such cleaning is not a task I would entrust to a Miele (too delicate!) but the latter is excellent for normal household tasks, including pet hair etc (if you have any - we don't).

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Tonight, I visited two Zara shops in London, both had the long boots in size 40 (UK7). Neither store had a 41.

I measured the width of the shaft at ankle and calf, and conclude they would be snug on my legs. The heels on the 40/7 was around 125mm so a whisper under 5 inches. I'm still half-glad the 41 has been kept from me. They are NOT worth £140.

I had mentioned before, there was a Plan B, to do with a PU pair of long boots priced at £39. They were ordered this morning. :huh: I have not included any detail, as to avoid the mandatory 'jinxing' of the order.

While out and about window shopping, I had another look at the Office red patent courts. They're on my list. :D

 

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Good luck!

As you say, perhaps it is best that Fate has kept the Zara boots out of your reach. Although Fate usually likes to dance these temptations before us rather than keep us on the straight and narrow, so a size 41 may yet well pop up.

Going for the PU pair eh? I know an expert on PU, PVC and faux leather - you could always query him for advice! :-)

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