29 October 2008

Help the pensioners in Zimbabwe

Please watch this video about the struggle of pensioners in Zimbabwe. If you are in a position to help, then email icanhelp at niemand.co.za. Your UK pounds, US/CAD/AUS Dollars, or Euros will be worth a small fortune in Zimbabwe. Thank you for your time.

28 October 2008

Crunched by the "Credit Crunch"? Here's how to save some money this Christmas.

I guess we're all feeling the pinch a bit this year, and probably cutting back a bit of Christmas expenses, too. Well, here's a way you can save some money not only on your Christmas shopping, but anything else you may be buying between now and Christmas.

I'm sure you've heard of Carl's Emporium by now. Have you have a look at it yet? If not then go there now and search for anything you like. In the middle of the page next to the menu on the left of search results you will see a list of companies that sell the item you searched for under the heading "Retailer Matches", and on the right will be a list of items from with the cheapest at the top of the list under the heading "Product Matches". If you click on the heading "Product Matches" then you will get a page full of products.

Now you're probably thinking, "So, what's the big deal? These prices aren't much cheaper than I have seen before, and some are even a little more than I have seen elsewhere.", but that's only if you decide to buy from Carl's Emporium and earn me commission. Yes, I receive commission from anything you buy from Carl's Emporium. So, how about I GIVE YOU ALL MY COMMISSION this Christmas? How do I do this? Simple. Have a look in the top right hand corner of Carl's Emporium and you will see a button under "Make money with your own shop". By clicking on that button you can get your own shop for FREE which will work and look exactly the same as Carl's Emporium! You can buy everything you need from your own shop and still earn commission from yourself, thus saving you money on nearly everything you by! Why stop there? Why not tell your friends and family about your shop and encourage them to buy from it as well? Maybe some of them will even want their own shop, too. If you want to earn some serious money then there are plenty of marketing tools to hand to help you get the word out, even ready made flyers you can print out and hand out to your neighbours, or anyone you want to. If you don't have a printer then they can also be delivered to your doorstep already printed!

You have no excuses now, so visit Carl's Emporium and start saving money, or even earning from your very own shop!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. If you are interested in anything else I am up to then please also take a look at Harding Internet.

17 October 2008

Protection money.... er... I mean, TV licensing in the UK

Click on the picture on the right if you want to read it.

Just for the record, I don't have anything connected to any equipment in my house that enables me to watch any TV broadcasting, apart from what I can see on the internet. The TV license doesn't cover the internet, nor does it need to due to the way the internet works. On the internet they can stop anybody from watching their programs and charge per view if they wish. The problem with using the airways is that the signal is pumped out into the air & they have no idea or control over who is watching it. They assume every house without a TV license is guilty before they even bother to find out if anybody actually lives at the address, let alone watches, or even owns, a TV!

I have been fined in the past when the rules were different. In the past the licensing authorities weren't interested in whether or not you used their services. Just owning a TV or other device that was capable of receiving TV signals was enough for them to issue a fine. You didn't even need to have an aerial. I have always used a TV to help with my video editing because it never looks the same on a computer screen as it does on TV. There are monitors about without the receiving equipment built into them, but they are professional devices and way out of my budget range.

The current law states that a device actually needs to be used for receiving a TV signal to qualify for a license. I put this to the test once & waited for the day their "inspector" came knocking at the door. My wife let the inspector in to examine our equipment. The inspector asked my wife to change channels on the TV remote control to see if we could pick up any TV channels. No channels showed up & the inspector told us that we would not be bothered for six years. Six years? I wonder why six years. Maybe that's how long it will take them to create something on TV that I will think is actually worth paying for! Ha ha!

The "inspector" did not take any interest in the VCR, DVD recorder, DVD player or Freeview box that were on the shelves next to the TV. The "inspector" didn't even ask if we had any other equipment connected to the TV! How many people actually change channels on their TV these days? Most change channels on their digital boxes, whether they be Sky, Freeview, TopupTV, or whatever. Even before digital TV a lot of people changed channels on the VCR instead of the TV. Some inspector! Just for the record, we had disconnected the aerial once the TV license expired. We had tried to pay the TV licensing for a day's worth of TV so that my wife could watch South Africa playing rugby against the Brits, but couldn't get through to them on the phone, so they lost out and we got free TV for a day. I don't know, you try to do the right thing, and... Oh, what's the point. Outlaws seem to have a much easier life sometimes.

Here's a question. Why is Freeview so named if it isn't free? Surely Trading Standards should be looking into that one.

It makes a change to receive a letter from TV licensing that isn't threatening to take my car away or threatening to send me to prison. Up to now they haven't even had my name, but thanks to the anti-privacy laws of United Stalingrad...er...Kingdom, it seems that these parasites are able to get information about me from places where I choose to do business! In a free society I could just take my business elsewhere, but this isn't a free society. Actually, I felt more free living under Apartheid, but that's another discussion for another time. I believe all retailers of TV receiving equipment are bound by law to ignore the little box that I always make a point of ticking in the contract, the one that says, "Please tick here if you do not want to receive offers from third parties". Unfortunately the privacy laws don't apply to government departments, and their offers often aren't very reasonable!

Well, now that TV licensing have my name they are being a bit nicer to me. At the moment, at least. Really, though, what business is it of theirs if I buy a VCR/DVD/HDD unit to use to play the twenty pence charity shop videos I buy for my daughter? Another reason for buying that particular model is to convert my videos to DVD, plus copy my daughters videos & DVD's to the built-in hard drive to save having to keep changing tapes & DVD's, but can I do that? Oh, no! More rules and regulations, this time for copy protection. It's not like I'm making any money out of this, or even doing the over rich media companys' fat cats out of any money. I just want a little convenience in my life, using the technology that is available today, but the fat cats are only interested in the contents of my wallet. I'm wandering off the topic again!

I'm sure the TV license story is going to continue, so watch this space. I could always phone them on their high rate phone number to tell them that I'm not interested in receiving the constant stream of crap they spew out into our atmosphere, but why should I line their pockets with a premium phone call when I'm not interested in using their service? I also have a high rate number, which I give out to any company that gives me a high rate number. They earn off me then I'm going to earn off them! Maybe I could write to them, but that's a stamp, envelope and paper I'll have to pay for, plus a trip to the Post Office. Not to mention the time spent on creating a formal letter when I could be rambling on in my blog. No, they will have to come to the door with a warrant and a couple of Police officers before I will let them in, and what a disappointment it will be for them to find out that I don't have an aerial connected to anything! All that wasted money and time they spent on harassing me, and all for nothing! Who is paying for their £20k+ salaries? Well, if you pay your TV license then you are. They would need to successfully prosecute and receive full payment from at least 40 people per year per staff member to cover their salaries with money from the non license payers. Yes, the fine is up to £1000, but from my own experience they only fine under £400 the first time, then just over £500 the second time. I would be happy to opt out of watching BBC channels, but they don't allow for that, so I can't watch anything until the laws change.

If you are on Facebook there is a group you can join who are petitioning against the TV license. Just click here to join the group. Signing the petition is optional, but has an amusing video about TV licensing, just be warned that it contains a lot of foul language. If you aren't on facebook then you can see the video and/or sign the petition by clicking here. There are many more websites campaigning against TV licensing. Just click here to see a list. Some also make the laws a lot clearer.

If you want to check up on any facts, you'll find the TV Licensing website at www.tvlicensing.co.uk.

You will find a lot of TV related products at Carl's Emporium. just put what you are looking for in the search box and do your shopping at famous name stores.

I've managed to get some professional help with the design & logo of ShopperRama, so keep an eye on the shop for some major changes, soon! ShopperRama is fully functional, so go ahead & make a purchase if you wish.

16 October 2008

Tesco gets it right

Just a short note for anyone who is following the Tesco "saga" to say that my Tesco delivery arrived on time and complete this evening.

Do you shop online with Tesco, ASDA, Sainsburys or Ocado? Have you ever wondered how your shopping prices would compare to other supermarkets? I use mySupermarket.co.uk to do all my online shopping now. I can compare prices to other supermarkets before I go through the checkout. mySupermarket.co.uk is a great tool for those of us having to tighten our budgets in this time of the "Credit Crunch". It could be a great time saver for you, plus you could get a pound each time you recommend a friend to join. It's free to join, so why don't you just join up now and have a look around? Just click here.

15 October 2008

Tesco is cheaper than ASDA!

After the fiasco of the last delivery I had from Tesco, I thought it would be a good idea to try ASDA home delivery. I know ASDA have a far better service, or at least they did when we used them up in Tyne & Wear, but I also had to make sure I wouldn't be spending anymore money, being on an extremely tight single parent's income.

I always thought ASDA as being cheaper than Tesco, especially after they were taken over by the often sued cheapskate USA giant Walmart, but then everyone knows ASDA, AKA the Pikey store, are cheaper than Tesco, right? WRONG!

My household budget for two weeks is £60. I decided to use mySupermarket.co.uk to do my shopping this time. mySupermarket.co.uk are free to join and allow you to do your shopping as normal (even importing your favourites list from the supermarket you usually use if you wish!), then at the end of your shop you can compare the cost of your shopping to other supermarkets that deliver to your area.

I pulled in my favourites list from my Tesco account to add the basics, then I added a few more things from the shopping list I update as I throw something in the bin (a great system to prevent forgetting something!). The total came to £70, £10 over budget for me, so I did the comparison to see how much I would save by getting my shopping from ASDA instead. Well, ASDA were over £10 more for the same items plus their delivery charge is £1.50 more! So, I had to shave off a few items we'll have to manage without this time to bring the bill down to £60, and duly placed my order with Tesco again.

Let's all cross our fingers and hope it goes as it should this time!

Carl's Emporium is all up and running and awaiting your orders, so please have a look around, do a search for a few things and compare prices with your usual supplier. I'm doing everything you can think of, even finance, insurance, Christmas gifts (click here for your child to receive a letter, SMS or phone call from Santa!), toys, gadgets, you name it & Carl's Emporium should have it! Let me know what you think, thanks :-)

02 October 2008

Tesco groceries delivery "service"

Why is it that people around me don't have any problems with Tesco's delivery service, and their "after delivery has gone wrong" service? I've had such poor service with them in three areas of the UK and on a regular basis, so I surely can't be the only one. Can I?

I did a quick search on Google and found an almost endless list of people having problems with Tesco's delivery "service", so those people around me who aren't having any trouble have just been lucky so far.
The biggest problems I have had with Tesco is missing items in my deliveries. Not just one or two items, but in the days of carrier bags it would be a whole carrier bag missing. Now they use large crates instead of carrier bags and I was missing a whole crate full of frozen items from my shopping yesterday. It was delivered after customer services had closed, so I sent them an email to let them know that my frozen items hadn't arrived, and two loaves of bread had been squashed by a 2 litre bottle of drink and a 750 gramme jar of marmalade!
I didn't hear anything from them until this evening, and they kindly phoned me on my high rate number to earn me a few pennies :-) Well, if businesses can earn money from us phoning them, then why not the other way around. The driver arrived after 8pm with my crate of frozen produce and I humped it up the the kitchen upstairs. There was nothing in the crate that I had ordered, so I quickly came to the conclusion that the driver had given me somebody elses crate. The drive had phoned me from his mobile, so I tried to get hold of him first, but go the answerphone, so I phoned customer services. They weren't sure what to do, but took my number and promised to phone me back.

Anyway, a long story short, the driver came back with my frozen goods and informed me that the wholemeal bread was out of stock (we are talking about the giant, Tesco, that's open 24 hours a day... no wholemeal bread... maybe they were all squashed!). Customer services came back to me with a refund on the bread and the delivery charge. Well done this time, Tesco. Last time I had to wait 4 months before they eventually got my refund correct! I changed over to
ASDA after that episode and stuck with them until I moved into an area where Tesco were the only major groceries delivery supermarket. Notice that I said, "were"?

I just found out that
ASDA now deliver in this area. Woohoo! Their after delivery service is amazing, plus if they replace an ordered item with a more expensive one when they don't have stock of the cheaper one, they price-match it. If something arrives damaged then they refund double of it's an ASDA brand item. Now that's what I call service. Most of my value items from Tesco have been replaced with more expensive items in my recent orders, sometimes four times the price of the cheapies! Yes, I can refuse to accept the item, but then I have to spend time and money going out to get the time myself, which would make the home delivery pointless.

Let's see if ASDA down here is as good as the ASDA I loved up in the North East of England. Just a shame they were taken over by a US company. Maybe that's why the service is better. England has a lot to learn about service. And manners!

Have you had a look at my mobile phone shop? I do gadget insurance as well.

3rd October 2008... Guess what? The
Tesco story doesn't end there! The local Tesco left a message on my phone at ten to eight this morning to say they are picking my order and could I please phone them... Well, I tried a few times through during the morning, but was engaged. In the afternoon it just rang. Just after 2pm I get a knock on the door. It's a man in Tesco uniform, come to deliver the missing items from my order! Yes, the same items I received last night! I told the driver that I had already received them and he told me his instructions are to deliver them to me, so I took them. Four weeks of frozen goods for the price of two. Not bad. Maybe this lack of communication between departments isn't so bad after all, so keep up the good work, Tesco!

So, who do you think I should do my next shop with,
Tesco or ASDA? Use the comments section to answer. I think ASDA, personally. I didn't mention that my previous two orders have broken eggs, although the membrane was intact & it really wasn't worth the cost of the phone call to complain. Also, the order they just made a mess of contained two bananas instead of the 2Kg of bananas that I ordered. They only charged me for two, so don't want to confuse the situation any more for their poor little brains! I did double check the email confirmation of my order to make sure it wasn't me who made the mistake with the banana order, and it wasn't.

Carl's Emporium will be up and running by 5th October 2008, but you can click here for a sneak preview!

01 October 2008

Drink Driving

I have no idea who this poem was written by, but I have seen it circulate a number of times through email and Facebook. It's a very moving poem, and so true. i just hope no one I know is ever in the position of this youngster.

I went to a party,
And remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mum
So I had a sprite instead.

I felt proud of myself,
The way you said I would,
That I didn't drink and drive,
Though some friends said I should.

I made a healthy choice,
And your advice to me was right,
The party finally ended,
And the kids drove out of sight.

I got into my car,
Sure to get home in one piece,
I never knew what was coming, Mum
Something I expected least.

Now I'm lying on the pavement,
And I hear the policeman say,
The kid that caused this wreck was drunk,
Mum, his voice seems far away.

My own blood's all around me,
As I try hard not to cry.
I can hear the paramedic say,
This girl is going to die.

I'm sure the guy had no idea,
While he was flying high,
Because he chose to drink and drive,
Now I would have to die.

So why do people do it, Mum
Knowing that it ruins lives?
And now the pain is cutting me,
Like a hundred stabbing knives.

Someone should have taught him,
That it's wrong to drink and drive.
Maybe if his parents had,
I'd still be alive.

My breath is getting shorter, Mum
I'm getting really scared.
These are my final moments,
And I'm so unprepared.

I wish that you could hold me Mum,
As I lie here and die.
I wish that I could say, 'I love you, Mum!'
So I love you and good-bye.

Click here for more information about drink driving.