Saturday 24 February 2024

The Saturday List #430 - My top ten false economies

Pic Tesco Value Soup Can, 2004 - Banksy Explained
We've all done it at some point, haven't we? You know the feeling. You've had a hard day at work, you have a cold and you really fancy a bowl of nice soothing Heinz Tomato soup and some toast, you nip down to Tesco's (other supermarkets are available) to buy some and you see that the own economy brand is half the price, if you buy four tins. So rather than executing the plan, you decide to save some money, although actually you don't, because you've bought twice as many tins at which has ended up costing you twice as much. You get home, put the soup on the stove, put the toast in the toaster, when they are done, put them on a tray, and sit down to watch the news, with your tasty treat. The only problem is that the soup tastes nothing like Heinz. Rather than feeling comforted, you just feel worse! It is thin, watery and disgusting and you are lumbered with three tins of the stuff. In short, it is a false economy. 

It got me thinking, what are the top ten worst false economies that you can buy. Here's my pick

1. Economy toilet paper. This is the worst. You see the price. Whereas the premium brands are a tenner for six, you can get 24 for a fiver. The only trouble is that when you get home, the sheets are tiny, and worse, when you've done your business and you go to clean up, your fingers go straight through. The ultimate yuk, but you only have yourself to blame for being a cheapskate.

2.  Woolworths football boots. Sadly, this is something that future generations will never know the joy of. My mum was a cheapskate. She loved a bargain. As a result, when I was at school, my mates all had Adidas boots, but I had Winfield boots, the cheap Woolworths brand. I loved Woolworths, but their own brand clothes and shoes were awful. It was a source of much ridicule, quite apart from the fact that they would fall to bits after a couple of weeks.

3. Cheap Plonk. I like a nice glass of wine. I've given it up for lent. But over the years, on too many an occasion, I've been tempted by the price of the cheap plonk. You get it home, you light the candles, put on the Barry White and settle in for a romantic evening, then take a sip. Vinegar would be better. Worse than that, your beau knows you are a cheapskate.

4. Cheap Vacuum cleaners. I don't know how many times we've fallen for this one. Over the years, we've had a number of Henry vacuum cleaners. They are robust, well made and work well. But it seems that every time they finally pass away, we make the same mistake. We buy a cheap replacement, that doesn't work properly and breaks down after a couple of weeks. Never again (Until next time).

5. Cheap hotels. I've only done this once. You know the score. You want a few days away, but you want to keep costs low. You think a bit of sunshine will do the trick. SO you book the cheapest possible hotel. For me, this was in Thessoloniki in Greece. It was cheap. It was very cheap. Sadly, in the middle of the night, I was woken by mice and rats bouncing on the bed. Even worse, in the morning, I was covered in blisters where bugs had bitten me. I vowed 'never again'.

6. The cheap fried chicken shop. When I've had a couple of beers, I have to admit that I am partial to a bit of fried chicken. This dates back to when KFC opened in Colindale. We'd go out of our way to go there, as would half the drunks in North West London. It was the food of the gods. Sadly, KFC generated a whole raft of cheap knock off versions. A few years ago, I went for one in central London after a gig. I was starving. I went in, was given a box full of chicken and chips. As I left, I noticed a hygene rating of 1. Never mind, I thought. It has been deep fried. Sadly, when I took a bite, it was leathery and cold. The chicken had been standing for hours. Worse still, it wasn't cooked through. I just threw the whole lot in the bin. I like to think I spared myself Salmonella.

7. Cheap ham slices. When I was little, every Sunday Dad would take us to 'the Little Shop'. He'd buy freshly carved, thick sliced ham. It was delicious. We'd have it in sandwiches for tea. Mum would rant about the price. She decided to reign in the spending. She bought some cheap, sliced ham from Budgen and told Dad she'd already got some. When the sarnies were served, we greeted it with horror. Dad exclaimed that "this isn't ham, this is rubber". Mum realised that this wasn't a battle she'd win. I've studiously avoided such muck ever since.

8. Cheap own brand tea bags. I've always loved Typhoo, PG Tips and Tetleys tea. On occasion though, I've made the mistake of being seduced by cheap own brands. They taste like dishwater. Avoid at all costs.

9. Flowers from the garage. I think most guys have been there. We forget a birthday/valentines day/anniversary. We decided to repair the damage at the last minute. We nip into the garage, pick up a bunch of flowers and go home. Sadly we've forgotten to remove the £3.99 sticker and it is clear that not only are we a cheapskate, but we are a thoughtless one. They are usually half dead and by the time you get them home are wilting. Avoid at all costs.

10. Processed cheese. I love cheese. A mature cheddar, a nice bit of Roquefort, a good Stilton, to name a few. Sadly though, I have on occasion been seduced by the cheapness of processed cheese. It tastes of nothing and has a horrible after taste. The worst sort is the slices that they put on cheeseburgers, but just about any processed cheese is disgusting. 

What are your top ten false economies. 


If you fancy a night out, why not come and see my band, The False Dots on Sat 23rd March at the Beehive in Bow

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