Thursday, 29 September 2011

100% Satisfaction

When I was 13, every Friday at school was ‘Charity Day’ – and we were invited to donate odd pennies to the school’s chosen charity for the year. We always asked our Form Teacher, Mr Watson, for a contribution. He said “For every shilling [12 pennies] you collect, I will give you 3d more”. I was the Class Charity Monitor**.

pre decimal currency

So I would count up the money and say “One shilling” and he would hand over 3d, and I would repeat this until we’d finished. But I confess that I always put his 3d into the left hand pot – so by the time we had collected 4 shillings, he had given us 12d plus a further 3d. Instead of 25%, he was contributing over 31%. About half way through the year, he suddenly realised what I was doing! [I was the budding mathematician, and he was just the history teacher, after all] I didn’t feel too guilty- it was for charity.

I did feel vaguely guilty today, however in M&S. They had sent me some vouchers – one was for £1 off £3 worth of desserts, the other was 15% off food and wine purchases.


I calculated £1 off £3 of puds plus 15% off £10 = £2 + £8.50 = £10.50

I got twinpacks of puds normally £1.89, but today “Two for £3” and the “Dine In” offer would have cost £16.64 if I had purchased the items separately. So original full price this would have been £20.42.

The vouchers said “cannot be used with other vouchers” so I went in and bought £3 of puds, and the ‘Dine in for £10’ offer – but put them through the till as two separate transactions.

Here’s where things went crazy and I felt I was somehow swindling M&S - the computer in the till calculates the 15% reduction before charging the £10 – so I paid £10 - £2.49 = £7.51 [as £2.49 is 15% of original price] That’s 23% off, not 15%!

original price £20.42– I paid £9.51- a 53% reduction

That’s a generous main meal, plus veg, for two, and 8 portions of dessert, and a bottle of wine [normally £6.49 a bottle]

That was all I got in M&S – the rest of my groceries came from Sainsburys- where I spotted 500g of olive spread at £1, next to a 1kg tub labelled “Bigger pack, better value” costing £2.25. You do have to be alert these days –bigger is not always better!

however_you_dress_it_upGill has a great roundup of food thriftiness here today.

Other people are beginning to mention Christmas. It’s never too soon to start planning. Personally I would rather collect a little on and off throughout the year [gifts and foodstuffs] so I can take time when December gets here to concentrate on the spiritual side of it all. As this ad says!

**I got this job because I was good at maths, reckoned to be trustworthy with money, and I was too short to be Blackboard Monitor!

1 comment:

  1. That was a cute story.
    I wish it was possible here to shop in an M&S. There used to be on in Victoria and I was a faithful customer, but it closed in the late 90's. You know, you can't buy wine other than at a special wine and spirits store in BC. Very inconvenient when one is shopping for a dinner party.


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