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Every Little Helps – Top shopping tips

Writing.ie | Member Blog

Deirdre Conroy

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A Real Shop








Got up super early this Monday while Gentlemen Lodgers and Cost Centres were captive to zzzzz’s. Cost Centre #2 needed a lift to his final exams and I wanted to beat the traffic, though we are only three miles away. I try to write early in the morning, like serious successful authors say they do, except I find I tackle one word of scrabble from the night before instead.

I am saddened by the death of Donal Walsh, the brave Kerry teenager, taken at sixteen after his battle with cancer. That despicable word. The good really do die young. His message to other teenagers is cool, his parents must be incredibly proud and equally devastated. It reminds me we must treasure and forgive our sons when they stray wayward. Easier said than done.

I didn’t intend to write about this, its just when you get up on Monday morning you never know WTF is ahead. And I was going to write a cheerful post about top shopping tips. Which I will anyway.

Here’s what I re-discovered about being out early, having dropped CC#2 to the RDS and watched him with a lump in my throat, saunter, seemingly carefree, with a bottle of water and a sheet of paper. The sign that says UCD Exams, gives me a labour pain.

I carried on with hairy mutt to Tesco Merrion, apparently the most expensive Tesco in the world. I’ve researched this, not extensively, but I’ve tried Lidl and Aldi once or twice and get lost in the aisles, get frustrated trying to find the coffee or cereal we eat and give up. And find the total bill no less irksome than a Tesco one. Except they do loyalty cards and I had clocked up 22 euro of free money. So, what’s not to like?
A lot. They really squeeze the Irish suppliers, so there is hardly a margin to survive on and that’s how you put people out of business, this is clearly a fact, as Philip Boucher Hayes said it in his RTE documentary, What’s Ireland Eating and they don’t want to be sued, you know.
It’s over two weeks since I’ve done the Big Shop, pre hospital I think, so emergency Spar runs in between. But with four men in the house, there was a dearth of loo roll, I believe we were down to one sheet per bathroom, no washing powder or dishwasher tabs, it was time to do an actual shop and there’s nothing I loathe more than pushing a trolley in Tesco. Most products are now reduced to two choices, own-brand and one other cheapo they found in eastern Europe. Once you’ve got used to where to find the stuff, they switch the location or randomly place special offer alerts in front of items not on special offer and you find you bought two of something you don’t need. And to give them back you need to join the long customer service queue, every second time I find an overcharge or dupe like this.

However, arriving before 9am on a Monday, the carpark is empty, no four-wheel drives to scrape my slim car. The aisles are empty; nothing has moved since my last visit, the checkouts are even empty. And Top Tip for saving money, the wine section is closed, so no temptation to see what special offers they have on a merlot or a pouilly fuisse, I mean, at ten euro its £7.88 in old money. I still convert. Sadly. Wine was way dearer eleven years ago. So, big saving there, on the pocket and elsewhere.

Mutt and I still have time for a walk on Sandymount strand and it’s still not ten o’clock. I phone ahead to CC#1 who is still in bed and put in a request to have shopping unloaded and stored, my second biggest hate. It’s time for me to get back to writing and get ready to meet a film-maker at lunchtime. Which turns out to be a great flowing chat with his producer colleague and well, watch this space, as they say.


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