Category Archives: Shopping

The Bag For Life

Remember this bag?

It was introduced by Super Valu supermarkets (in Ireland) prior to the introduction of the Plastic Bag levy in 2002.

During the build-up to the new tax everybody complained. It would never work and it would drive people away from the shops, businesses argued.

Convinced that footfall would suffer, Super Valu (and possibly a few others) decided to get one up on the competition by adopting this “Bag For Life” policy.

The idea was that if & when the bag broke or deteriorated they would replace it -free of charge. For life.

It was “The Bag for Life”.

…At least this is my recollection of it.

I asked if this was correct in my local Super Valu recently. The staff member looked at me for a moment, counting my heads it seemed, before bursting out in tears of laughter. She had never heard the likes of it in the past nine years (since the levy) but it did ring a bell with her and she’d be interested to hear if it was true herself.

We discussed it for a while and she admitted to me she had lots of these bags at home and she’d love to replace them with new ones.  Looking left and right she tried to find a manager for me to talk to, but there were none available. Meanwhile a queue had built up behind me and it was the only til open (being early in the morning). She asked if I did want a replacement bag. I said no -but I am curious about it. I know Mrs. Rumm threw some out a few years back and I’d like to know if she deserves my eternal scorn for doing so.

The staff member offered to go find the manager but I told her to leave it -“I’ll be back,” I assured her, “we’ll do it then.”

My question is, AM I WRONG?

I searched online and so far the only thing I can find to suggest I’m right is this page from The Fingal Independent in 2000.

In case that link goes dead at any time, here’s the relevant paragraph:

– – – – –

Manager Shea Smith is planning a one-week promotion to give away the ‘Bag for Life’, which will normally cost 10p.

A very nominal sum given the supermarket’s promise to replace it free of charge if even after bearing the weight of many kilos of comestibles it tears or breaks.

– – – – –

…Or maybe The Bag for Life (“Our Children will thank us for it”) means something else?





I was shopping yesterday with the kids. The younger one (4) was starting to get a bit annoying so I plucked him up and stuck him in the trolley seat. He still fits. Just about. He starts school at the end of this month, so you can imagine he’s not pleased when I do this.



Anyway, he got over it and soon settled down.


When we reached the checkout there was a short queue so we found ourselves looking into each other’s eyes. He was laughing quietly to himself as he looked at me.


“One day you will,” he nodded with a big grin on his face.


“One day I will what?” I asked him, stumped.


“One day you will hate me.”
He said it, still nodding and smiling, like he found it a wise and amusing prediction.


“What!?” I gasped, laughing slightly nervously. “Why would I hate you one day??”


He paused, then with perfect timing said


“…because I will be the best gamer.”


Porn Queen AKA my Review of Transformers 2

The words “I’m not a prude” are usually followed by proof to the contrary. So I shall allay any expectations by not using them.

Have you ever found yourself in a group where people have gotten increasingly carried away with themselves, taking things a step further and further into unsavoury behaviour? I’m sure you have. We all have.

I remember walking home with friends late one night when I was eighteen years of age (more than 20 years ago now!). There were around ten of us there. All male. Some general horseplay and possibly rowdy-type behaviour was going on (I honestly don’t recall, but I can imagine). When you’re inside a group like that you don’t notice and don’t see yourself as others do.

Suddenly one amongst us leapt in the air and smashed the window of a parked car with his foot. It’s not the type of thing any of us was familiar with. Why did he do this? What happens next? How did it come to this? Why did my friend believe it was an acceptable thing for him to do?

None of that mattered. No questions were asked. There was a yell of glee and an air of excitement and we all ran.

Continue reading Porn Queen AKA my Review of Transformers 2

Gift Pricing -How much is yours?

Speaking of Two Lovers the other day reminded me of an unrelated event from a few years ago…

I asked Mrs. Rumm what she would like for Christmas. She told me a plain white gold wedding band. The one she already had was the standard gold type. She wanted a white one to go with different outfits. Or something. Who am I to question such things?

I recall buying the wedding rings with her first time around. Both of us wanted nothing other than “a plain ring”. Nothing fancy. As a result, the two rings we bought were each in the region of £40 (Irish punts). Our taste in jewellery hasn’t changed.

Now it was maybe six or seven years later… 2004ish. We had a new currency (the Euro). We had gone through an economic boom. Prices were higher. So adjusting for currencies (bring it to, say 55 euros), inflation (80ish?), a bit of greed (90ish), some more greediness (100ish), gold price fluctuations (….?) ..and a bit more on top, I estimated the absolute maximum cost such an item could possibly be would be 130 – 150 euros.

“OK,” I said. “No problem.”

Next day I entered a Jewellery Store (this sentence seems odd to me, but if I said “entered a Jewellers” it’d have a whole different connotation to my dirty mind).

“Can I help you?” enquired a pleasant-looking, well-presented male assistant in a calm voice that sounded like melted chocolate flowing over a lush carpet.

“I’m looking for a plain white gold ring for my wife,” I informed him, “Nothing fancy.”

“OK,” he smiled softly and lead me to the counter. He pulled a tray of rings from underneath. The first thing I noticed was the lack of prices.
The second thing was all these rings had something fancy about them -diamond studs, ridges, fancy engravings, etc..

Instead of jumping immediately to the vulgar issue of price, I hummed and hawed and finally asked if he had anything plainer.
“I’m really just looking for plain white gold -no decorations or anything.”

He considered this quietly and carefully before selecting one of the more plain bands from the same tray. It had only a few small indents here and there.

“Yeah, it’s not too fancy, I suppose,” I had to concede. “How much is it?”

“That one is 600 Euros,” he said as though his voice was massaging my temples.

Shocked, I couldn’t help myself.

“Six hundred!!?” I gasped.
“I told you it was for my wife,” I said, “not my girlfriend!”

Without batting an eyelid, the assistant creased his brow and nodded as though this made complete sense to him.
“I think we may have something more plain in our other store,” he confided. “I can ring them and have it here by tomorrow.”

“A simple, plain white gold ring?” I enquired, slowly turning towards the door.

“Yes yes,” he nodded.

“And how much roughly would that cost?”

He waved in the air and shook his head as though conjuring a nominal amount between old friends.

“Pah -no more than three-fifty,” he informed me, his voice having lost some of the chocolate softness.
“Come back tomorrow I’ll have it for you,” he smiled.

In truth, I almost felt bad not going back there the following day. It seemed a breach of trust somehow that instead I went down the road and bought the first one I spotted for less than two hundred -and that was difficult to find too let me tell you!

I still don’t see how it could be possible for something like that to jump to more than four-times its price in a few years. Madness I tells ya!

– – – – – – – –

Full disclosure: I can’t say for certain if the “I said wife, not girlfriend” line is truly original. It’s possible I heard it somewhere before. It sounds like something Rodney Dangerfield might have said. Either way it was fun using it. …A little disconcerting that the guy didn’t even flinch, but fun nonetheless. 🙂

Two Lovers Please

I like movies. I like non-formulaic movies with at least a little thought in them.

I’ve heard good things about the movie Two Lovers -at least enough to make me think I might like to see it. I’m sure it is a good movie, but I won’t be going to see it.

I generally go to the cinema alone. I prefer it that way, but anyway my wife has little interest in movies even if we did get time off together.
So the thought of walking up to the ticket office alone and saying “Two Lovers please” is just too much. I could buy online and collect at the door, but I despise the idea of extra charges for such things -THEY’RE SAVING MONEY BY HAVING NOBODY THERE why should we pay more??

Another film I felt awkward buying a ticket for was “Michael Clayton”. Thankfully I hadn’t realised how awkward it was to say it until I was standing there with cash in hand saying it. It just felt wrong somehow. Not entirely sure why with that one.

Are movies with people’s names harder to say at the ticket desk?

I recall having a similar dilemma paying for Amelie. I think that might have a longer name in some countries (?) but around here it’s just called Amelie. The problem for me there though was the young couple who paid before me asked for two tickets to “Ay-muh-lee-uh”.

Even though I knew it to be wrong I had a sudden burst of …FEAR, is the only word I can think of, that I was about to say it wrong.
It induced a kind of mental stutter that heard me purchasing “One for the same please”.

Have you ever felt awkward saying something or someone’s name?

[By the way, this post was first made (by me)  in a reply to a Jett Loe post in The Film Talk]

The Entire Life of A Happiness

I think Happiness is mis-sold, overvalued and under-appreciated. I mean the emotion/ state-of-mind rather than the (excellent, though difficult-at-first) film by Todd Solodnz.

Happiness is difficult to do right -and almost impossible to maintain for very long. All’s it takes to rain on a day-long flotation of upbeat positivity is often a dismissive sigh, a shake of the head or an eyes-a-sky selfish shrug from a “friend” for it all to come crashing down.

I’ll give you an example of the birth and death of Happiness…

Continue reading The Entire Life of A Happiness

Shoulda Coulda Woulda

I was shopping again. I know, I know. I won’t keep going on about supermarkets, but let me relay this quickie…

I buy most of the shopping in this house -for 2 adults and 2 children. As I was finishing up, I passed by the drinks area and noticed some Polish beer I had bought previously. Knowing I had one bottle of same already at home I thought I might as well buy another. As Noah himself used to say, “Pair the beers”.

(Yes, I’m not sad enough to buy beer one bottle at a time thankyouverymuch. I do already have other types of beer in the house -not a vast selection or anything, but probably enough for a person or two to last a night if need be, if they didn’t mind mixing & matching & possibly swigging a can or two out of date towards the end of the evening. But this was a kind of ‘specialty beer’ and I only wanted one more).

Continue reading Shoulda Coulda Woulda