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BabyGoShop we use a courier and RM so will carry on as usual, just making sure customer knows options - post delivered today as normal!
prem2pram I feel RM has small Internet businesses by the short and curlies, for many couriers are not an option
PAHAccounting What about the impact on Royal Mail, people switching to Online transfer of data, and information? i.e. banking, invoicing etc
ChiggsLtd Strike will devastate my biz-my products are cards-lightweight & inexpensive so couriers not an option. My biz is in RM's hands
Ellen_Carroll our clients are keeping a log of late deliveries so will come
peter_source Crossword clue: Postman. How many letters? None!
postingdates We've seen a lot people on our Last Posting Dates site as people are getting concerned about Christmas post.
sassalynne We work from home. As we are classed as a residential address we often don't get post until after 4 (yes, 4).
partysprite I've already noticed a drop in traffic to my website, and as my items are low weight a courier will cost me.
RolandMillward Documents being faxed or emailed as far as mortgage applications go.
eSpares Send thousands of parts out daily-now have alternative couriers in place so our customers aren't impacted.
SpannerWelch My postie was early today! Says he thinks he's off tomorrow, though. He didn't seem sure - communication limited to top dogs?
shorthairfan i shall make sure i send all my letters by email
mummylooksfab we will have to switch to a more expensive courier and take the hit. Its still better than letting customers down!
Terry tjk1964 Simple don't post anything Thursday & Friday!
Jo Balecreativejo I won't be sending RM btwn now & Xmas unless its recorded delivery! Had too much lost last time :-(
Liz Morrislizmorris I'd like to know as well! not much choice for very small business, but to inform customers and grit their teeth
hunkydory homehunkydoryhome using 2 couriers and avoiding posting anything royal mail between now and monday.
Jo Balecreativejo as a sml business we'll be sending everything via courier & taking a hit on the cost :-(
AndiBingy I will be avoiding the postal strike by not using post! Post is a bit 17th Century these days!
davelee I'm terrified about the postal strike. If only scientists could come up with some way of sending messages with a computer
JULIANBRAY I've saved my junk mail so I can post it to myself thru letter box over next 48 hours so won't notice the strike at all.
Hi, just to let you know i switched to a water meter over a year ago. i was paying £530 pa for my water, now it's £120 pa.
i Recycle my rain water for the washing machine, showering and the toilet.
Some weeks ago a loss of pressure caused me to talk to 3 Valleys, our water company. A few days later I decided to read the water meter. To my horror it was whizzing round and had clocked up over £1000 of water.
I duly reported it and the formalities were served. I learned that as this was the first leak since the meter was installed the excess consumption would not be charged. The cost of fixing the leak which involved a by pass was covered by my house insurance. Conclusion, check the meter yourself.
NEW TIPPING RULES
Shocked to find out this practice happened. Staff should get the min wage + tip. My tip is for the waiter/ess, not the owner! peterramsden
Tips should be an extra, on top of wage. But tips should also be split out amongst all staff, not just waiters. patrickjpr
I do tip if the service has been good, but always ask who gets the tip. Owners ALWAYS say the staff, so quietly ask staff! Happy_Bag
Pple are doing their job for a wage, if h/ever the srvce goes abve and beyond a tip is in order which shld NOT form their wage cc_star
Tipping is normally about waiting staff, but there's so many more people involved in a good 'experience'. Cooks, cleaners, etc PaulOckenden
ENERGY SAVING TIPS
Last winter I left heating on 24/7. Worked out 15% cheaper than trying to heat a cold house up twice a day from. hallrm
There are gadgets you can buy that fit on a kettle that let you boil enough for 1 cup at a time and can last all day from.fadmedia
We work Economy7 eagerly! All happens in that time zone! Looking to add photovoltaics on roof. All clothes drying-under car port! CoachConfidence
Use blankets - no need for central heating until well into winter. baiduyou
Wear non-iron clothes. An 1800 watt iron uses as much energy in a hour as a 60 watt laptop uses in 30 hours. countersquare
Turn your thermostat down by just ONE degree and you can cut your heating bills by up to four per cent. KellysDavies
GROW YOUR OWN
We grow a lot of veg, best so far 5.5 kg marrow :) Groovephase
Inundated with courgettes but that's what you get for planting 3 plants. Toms, onions, melons & 3 pumpkins & squash 2 harvest. thefrugallife
We did but in pots as we live in a flat. Didn't relly work - Lots of leaves, no produce :( nicolajoiner
courgettes, beetroot and beans galore. pics, recipes, etc at http://foodfrom4.com ianphischer
We had a summer fayre in the office due to lots of folks growing their own http://twitpic.com/e8sde Sirenpr
Our own Victoria Plums in Rum - twitpic here http://bit.ly/1k2s2p HoptonHouseBnB
Chillis and tomatoes (eating/giving away as they ripen). Potatoes (a lot of shepherd's pies). First year of doing it. Fab. swottybarnham
Our crop was teensy but the kids LOVED It - and finally understand food doesn't grow at Tescos - hurrah cuddledryhelen
At home we grew chilis, tomatoes, peppers, peas, onions, cucumbers, corgettes, beetroot, leek, lettuce, potatoes. We ate them. JustinMcKeown
I had occasion to take a short four day break in Cornwall recently.
The total cost estimate was £600 and that for two adults and a little bit. It rained for three of the four days.
Next year, I am taking the family abroad for 14 days. We will be guaranteed 12 days sunshine in October. The self catering holiday has cost six of us £1120 for a 3-bedroom villa and a 14 day car hire.
The airfare cost us about £270 each. Total £472 each person. England is beautiful and we pay for it.
This year my family and I stayed in the UK for our summer holiday. Normally we go to France and have in recent years been to Florida twice. However, this year we decided to stay in the UK to save a bit of money.
We stayed in a lovely cottage in the Lake District and had a very restful and enjoyable week. Although it was not unbroken sunshine, as we had in Florida, this did not dampen the holiday in any way as there were lots to see and do. The cottage was well appointed and very reasonably priced compared to our other holidays. We are definitely looking to book again for next year.
My family enjoyed a couple weeks holiday right here in Britain this summer. We stayed at historic cottages with the National Trust and Landmark Trust. It was a wonderful time exploring interesting parts of Britain new to us. I lost my job last spring so we opted to save money on a staycation.
My wife, two children aged nine (girl) and six (boy)) and I decided on a UK holiday this year with a week in The Lake District, three nights in the Yorkshire Dales and four nights in Northumbria. We swapped buckets and spades for walking boots and binoculars.
It would not be so surprising that my wife and I enjoyed the holiday but to learn that our children want to do exactly the same next year. We did not save against our usual two weeks in France but we feel that we got much more out of the holiday as a family due to the stunning beauty of the north of England and the warmth and friendliness of the people.
Just wanted to say that we suspended our camping trip to France and headed for West Wales instead. Had a fantastic time, facilities were superb at Blaenwaun Caravan Park situated 4 miles north of Cardigan, in Mwnt.
Fresh organic beef from the farm for BBQs, great scenery and views and a beautiful beach within walking distance. Family could feed the goats, pigs and ducks, play on the climbing frames, swim in the sea. Lovely restaurants, farmers markets, and events in nearby Cardigan. Will be heading back next year.
I had a holiday in Cornwall this year after looking into similar holidays in France. Barc_alpha
We had two camping trips in the UK this summer. Kids loved it. UK hols def as good as abroad, but the weather is a gamble... creativecharlie
No.Given the silly cost of petrol to get anywhere, typical hotel and food prices+ low standards etc Turkey was a better option JSorrels
Yes, after a week at Glastonbury, we spent a week on the beach (literally) snowballthrower
On the lovely Cornish coast. growthcompany
NEW SUBJECTS FOR SCHOOL TIMETABLES
A lot of school time is spent learning interesting but not so useful things when some essential life skills (e.g. cooking, safe use of food in the home, household maintenance) are not taught at all.
Should schools before school leaving age not prioritise essential skills for adult life before teaching thing like the Roman invasion of Britain?
I am a great believer in "respect for the environment". I taught my daughter this through extensive outdoor activities like camping, cooking and money matters.
I think teaching children "life skills" is as important as education.
Guided tour of a landfill site on the national curriculum to demonstrate implications of waste and litter. Vile but effective! robertz
Kids should also be taught about debt, cash flow, investment and communication skills. cruickers
How to manage money and budget. katesull
Managing personal finance - should teach kids how to lead healthy financial life lots of examples of what not to do right now. meribel
A better understanding of people with disabilities. hallrm
National Service like they do in Germany & used to do here. Dizzywiggins
How to budget at school and the real cost of credit/taking out loans. Ellen_Carroll
Kids should learn about where in the world their food comes from, and the living conditions of the people who produce it. Countersquare
Respect for animals and basic animal welfare. CyberEmma
SHOULD GRANDPARENTS BE PAID FOR CHILDCARE DUTIES?
it would be nice...
When we g-p get money for sitting, we could just give it back to them, it 's a good way to help, instead of the money going out of the family.
Grandparents often do a wonderful job and I see no reason why they should be paid, but by the children's parents, it's a ridiculous idea that the state should be paying.
Rob McAuley, Belfast
WHERE DID THE WITHDRAWN SAVINGS GO?
Received via Twitter
Probably because a lot of pensioners that previously relied on income from their savings are having to dip into their capital.
Hopefully people shopping around for higher rates so its money thats moved not just vanished?
I took my money out and used it to pay for a new web site, the missus bought a Gucci bag! CommentLuv
Savings went under the mattress ;-). Any figures on loan repayments, maybe people paid off loans.
Probably to buy houses to let.
I withdrew mine, then paid them in somewhere else. Do the paid in figures match the withdrawn figures?
Perhaps it was moved to higher interest accounts. paulhenderson
I suspect on shoes and clothes!
Probably paying off debts and funding their own unemployment. Probably NOT into shares.
People are withdrawing money to pay household bills not to buy big ticket items.
I withdrew my pitiful savings to go on a skiing holiday. That had been the intention for those savings though, not spontaneous.
On paying loans.
WHEN DID YOU LAST WRITE A CHEQUE?
I write a cheque each week for the milk bill. I send birthday money presents via a cheque. I exchange cheques with friends who have bought things for me e.g. theatre tickets on their credit cards and get cheques from them if I do the same.
Yes I can use email/electronic cards etc but other means are still the most personal.
Use cheques for horse riding each week, much safer for the staff! Always pay by cheque for special promotions eg Radio times posters/DVD etc, seems safer than using card details.
I'm self-employed and often work in customers' homes. Businesses cheques are vital for me because I get paid once I have completed the job. I never know how long a job will last because customers frequently add extra work once on site - cash is non-starter in these circumstances.
I work in areas where mobile signals are not always possible or very unreliable, so that rules out that means of payment.
Also people forget the old adage whatever security can be invented will be circumvented!
Electronic systems are convenient but not always the most reliable, secure or best solution.
Frequently use cheques as avoids giving details of debit & credit cards for people to use fraudulently. Otherwise I pay cash at places such as garages.
I am self employed and do my sales at outdoor and indoor shows. Cheques are often used to pay for items instead of cash. My concern is that with this new swipe technology using mobile phones etc, what happens when you cannot get a phone signal in the middle of a field at these outdoor events?
Of the 14 cheques I've written in the last 14 months, 11 have been to a school. One was to HMRC as they messed up my (self assessment) online payment and then tried to take it out of next year's tax until I sent a cheque as some sort of voluntary payment (as I'd wanted to make online) to sort things out.
Then there was one to Dynorod (and they let me keep the pen), and the other went to CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) with some raffle ticket stubs.
Received via Twitter:
Have not written one in ages but received about 20 as wedding presents last October!
For my milk man, and he wouldn't accept it.
DVLA last week.
Sent four in last two years - mainly small suppliers. Strangely we get more lost in the post than ever arrive.
Most of our wedding costs were by cheque. For services like reception venue, photographer etc.
It's been 487 days. I just checked!
Schools always want cheques too. "Cheques made payable to OCC" - they're banked by the council.
Last cheque... This morning to HM Court service (it's OK I'm a claimant not a defendant :)).
My golf course is unmanned so has an honesty box, so it's cheques every time, saves having to find the exact money.
Sent cheque to pay admin fee of Nigerian investor who's promised to transfer his fortune to my bank account after I...oh wait
I lost my cheque book in the house, but still receive payment by cheques 95% of the time.
I still get some equipment delivered by suppliers that insist on COD (cheque on delivery), very annoying.
Just school/children's activities here too! And the occasional eBay item - I use about 5 cheques per month.
Had to write a cheque to open an ISA at a bank that didn't have my current account...had to order a book and everything!
Since Dec. have used ONLY cash - when it runs out you stop spending! Prefer cheques when owed tho, as won't spend it!
I have a client, says she can't pay 'cause she doesn't have my bank details - sending a cheque clearly hasn't occurred to her!
I still get quite a lot of cheques, don't write a lot though!
Getting on for 2 years...
Can't remember the last time I wrote one, but even my nan bank transferred some money for a pressie @ xmas rather than a cheque.
When I was forced to. And it annoyed me. I found a mucked up one in my sock drawer that had to do. They need to be shamed away.
Actually, it was yesterday!
Tend to use them only for paying for plumbing or other work done on house or for sending money to friends/family.
Last Friday to pay for my daughter's swimming lessons, I've also got 2 cheques to cash - birthday money from grandad.
The only time I write cheques any more is to pay my accountant for his services!
Sent cheque last week to my son's school to pay for educational trip.
January 2008 to my mother for a PS3.
The only times I've used cheques recently are as a fall-back when the usual electronic method has gone wrong.
Three yrs ago. I always pay by card for everything. my gravestone will read 'she never carried cash'.
Only ever use them when opening a fixed bond - last time was a week ago to open icici account. Written 2 in last 3 yrs.
Last cheque written about 18 months ago. With the demise of cheques (and letters) I've forgotten how to do my signature!
About three or four times a year and always for school trips etc.
Write cheques regularly to pay people who run kids' activities eg toddler music group. Accept cheques in both my businesses.
To the taxman in January. I like to have a paper trail.
About two years ago, for a bill. Do you think we will return to the barter system? I hope so.
My daughter's Brownie Subs are always by cheque. Also lots of promotional purchases on food items are by cheque or PO.
I have an unused cheque book due to lack of funds.
I think cheques should be banned. just an excuse to delay payment and a massive faff for people like me who are bank averse.
When I was a student! About 5 years ago. I asked my bank not to bother sending me one but they insisted.
Haven't written a cheque for a bit, but will be heading to the bank later to pay in two of the beasts.
At least one a week.... for my cleaners
I'm still only part way through my first ever cheque book, which I got in 2002!
I wrote a cheque in december to open a savings account.
On Saturday - to give someone some money I'd collected from friends as a gift towards a new laptop for her.
Last time I wrote a cheque - to pay a parking ticket about two months ago.
Can't even remember the last time I wrote a cheque! Started internet banking in 2004 and never looked back :)
I write cheques only when paying contractors for work to my rental properties .
For my daughters birthday party as they didn't take Credit Cards - bizarre in this day and age
Personal cheque for deposit on rented flat.
Nice to see an article about dog (pet) welfare on your programme, but please remember that dog groomers and trainers ALSO provide services you mentioned and are just as important to mention when discussing animal welfare.
Other points to note are that learning how to interact with your dog, supply good nutrition and investing in having your dog professionally groomed are just as important, arguably more so, than having insurance - as prevention is better than cure.
Darren Elkins, woofwash
Beware pet insurance... as the pet ages, premiums increase tremendously, as do the 'excesses' paid by the owner when claiming. In our experience, as well as being less worthwhile, it also seems to become harder to claim, as any loophole the insurer can spot is pounced upon, in order to avoid payment. Ted Maudsley
I think everyone has their views about what makes a good CV, but it is not clear to me whether you should include:
- Your age or date of birth
- marital status
- salary in your last jobs
- Email address
- Mobile phone number
I am particularly worried about sending my CV to an employment agency I know nothing about, because of identity theft.
Peter C Jackson
Received via Twitter:
Don't lie! in this day of linked in, Facebook and the like - back checks are easier to make than ever before.
My CV tip is to tempt them with snippets of info you know they will ask your to elaborate on in interview.
Look for keywords in the advert and put them into your CV. Many companies search by keywords...
A dynamic paragraph at the beginning of your CV helps excite a recruiter and encourages them to read on...
Bullet points to outline achievements helps the reader of the CV so they can assess if you suit the job.
Keep your CV short. Too many pages and people get bored.
Spell check! get at least one other person to check it. Also if sending electronically give it a useful filename not just cv.doc. eg firstname_lastname_cv.doc
My top tip is check your online profile actually matches your CV. Employers check facebook these days.
Keep a CV to 2 sides A4. Focus on achievements. Show how you've made a difference. Be honest. brmbds
Don't lie! You will get found out, try to keep to 2 pages at most offering more info if required. Keep it clear and concise. Tawny75
You told us on Twitter...
Falling pound? Good for me as overseas buyers are back on eBay. Now back selling to USA & Japan. Sadly we go to Italy on holiday...
Only the big companies are being reported on news. I work for a 25-person company where a third of jobs were lost on 2nd Jan.
SO over it! The UK is obsessed with the recession where other countries are getting on with life so they can recover quickly.
Actually our company had its best quarter ever last quarter, and are looking to grow aggressively this year (10-20 new hires).
Not finding it so terrible. I'm aware I'm pretty lucky but really not bad atm. Know I need to remember it for future tho.
Air of dismay in Sheffield. it's impossible to judge whether any Government interventions will work.
Pretty dire up here in rural North Wales. 4 local biz gone in last 12 months.
It's not too bad around here. Sole traders are very busy, some busier than normal.
We've never been busier. Really.... we're recession beaters!
Difficult to know what is real and what is fear. Some Customers have stopped buying, but are they broke or just frightened?
Two of my friends have been fired and another is waiting to hear. It's becoming hard to ignore the fact that all is not well. tlodge
Lots of talk about it, lots of fear about it, very few people actually hit by it though.
Trowbridge, Wiltshire. Beginning to bite! Housing market dead. Layoffs in factories, M&S Food to close, Woolwoths,, MFI gone.
Mixed I think. Things are slow for me but I've only just moved to Liverpool - other geeks seem to be surviving.
Nonplussed. We've known about it; we're going to have to face it; let's get on with it.
Pretty grim. One neighbour lost house, other lost job.
Web work appears to be moving ahead as normal - business is good.
Gradually emptying high street in Exeter is the most obvious sign and our business is quiet, people just aint spending.
JCB and Wedgwood closures have devastated Stoke-on-Trent - I was made redundant from a London based firm in October
Christmas can be special by making gifts at home, buying locally, writing lists and being less greedy when stocking up on goodies ... oh - and I just bought all my cards for 2009 in the sales :)
lowcarbondiary (via Twitter)
It's really simple - I make a lot of the presents I give. Saves me loads of cash and gives me pride. Christmas 2009. here I come.
eSpares (via Twitter)
BRITISH DESIGN CLASSICS
I would like to propose: -
1) "Cat's Eye" safety road reflectors
2) The screw propeller
3) D H Comet, first jet airliner
4) Hovercraft/air cushions
5) Ejection seat
6) The Hawker Harrier
7) The Spitfire
8) Penny Black
Ted Prangnell, Ashford
My nomination for a design classic is the original version of the Picot stove-top kettle. I am looking out for one to buy in antique shops and markets but so far no luck.
Elaine Vassie, Argyll
The BBC has its very own British Design Classic: Ceefax.
The greatest icon in British aviation history is the Vulcan Bomber. (www.vulcantothesky.org)
I'd suggest the Police Telephone Box.
One of the only surviving examples on the street, I believe, can be found in Glasgow.
Dyson DC01 UK - Design Classic.
Well, how about the iPod? While we all know Apple is an American company, their designer, one of the most successful and celebrated in the last 10 years, is British!
TO HAGGLE OR NOT TO HAGGLE
Our original contributor Marc Lockley replies...
Chris (below) is quite right when he says some stores will haggle and others won't - it is their choice. However, whether you buy there or go to a store that will listen to your bargaining skills is YOUR choice. If you shop around you will potentially find that other stores will haggle and you may even find their asking price cheaper anyway!
Ian's point (below) about outlawing haggling is one that I have never come across before. One thing I would say is that retailers have invariably haggled with their suppliers to get the best price/value they can. In fact, something like a coffee bean has been through over 10 points of negotiation before you drink your mocha cappuccino (from farmer through cleaning stations and finally in the store) - why should haggling stop with the retailer?
The embarrassment point is one I covered on the programme. There is a fundamental difference between haggling and negotiating. Haggling is seat of the pants stuff that has limited success, around 2 in 10, and would be embarrassing for many Brits. What is in it for the shopkeeper? Why should they give you a discount? You have provided no justifications or motivation for them to consider your request.
Negotiating involves preparation (and there's plenty you can do - including thinking about what will motivate the salesperson to give you a better deal?) that will increase your confidence levels as you realise that you deserve a better price. A great example of that this week involved me seeing a fridge freezer I wanted that was on sale at one retailer for £420 and the same make and model at another for £325.
Also, if the price tag was THE price you should pay, then why are there so many bargains on the shelves today that will be at full price in February? The price tag is the starting point for many (not all) shops.
Contrary to Ian Thompson's views (below), I believe that the customer has every right to haggle, especially when it comes to consumer electronics / white goods. These types of stores expect it, and so if we're to get a reasonable deal, we haggle. For example, we don't haggle at checkout in Tesco's. Why? Because they won't haggle with us. The stores choose whether or not to haggle, and if we can, we most certainly should - prices would be artificially high at some stores regardless of whether or not we try to do a deal.
Unfortunately, as Ian quite rightly comments, those who feel embarrassed to haggle, lose out. Thankfully though, the supermarkets offer a limited selection of the white goods at the right price.
I disagree completely with haggling or negotiating a price down. Firstly it assumes either that the shops are pricing their goods unfairly or you can't afford it, in which case you shouldn't be buying it. Secondly, if everyone started haggling the shops would have to generally increase their prices to maintain the same profit margins.
People like me who wouldn't dream of trying to get the price down would then lose out because we would then be paying over the odds.
To me it is a cheap and nasty and degrading practice that should be outlawed.
Ian Thompson, Shipley
INTEREST RATE CUTS
As a mature house owner, no mortgage, fixed pension, this is the last straw, it is only the savers who will be able to go out spending and why should we to save those who took a gamble?
I agree with a previous article, let's have a different rate for savers, this country will take years to recover from this cut if ever...
I am retired with no mortgage but have savings in various accounts and the interest tops up my pension. With falling interest rates I am in effect paying more tax and have a reduced income. Should there not be a scheme to assist investors as well as those with mortgages? It would also help the banks and building societies to have more funds to balance the books.
John Marden, Kent
I don't have a mortgage but have savings. I was going to change my car next week but I am scared by falling interest and and have postponed the purchase.
Cutting interest rates is not the only answer.
Tony Preston, Lancs
Since those running the system seem to be the ones who've broken it; why can there be two interest rates, one for savers and one for borrowers?
Everyone is waiting anxiously for the bank rate to go down. Good for some. Very Very Bad for Pensioners relying on savings to boost their pension.
What is good for the borrower is not good for the saver and since pensioners are a significant percentage of the population with spending power Gordon should be looking at ways of not penalising the savers.
All that will happen in this sector of the population is we batten down the hatches & spend nothing. I'm not looking for handouts but if Gordon can bail out the banks could he arrange an over 65s savings rate that would not cost anything and get a section of the public with considerable disposable income spending again.
Why should small savers pay 20% tax in these current conditions? Immediately increase the ISA limit or reduce the tax burden. Give first time buyers tax relief on mortgages- Remember MIRAS & before?
...but what about those of us who have lost our jobs but don't have the luxury of owning our own a home, where is the help if we get into trouble paying our rent?
The Government is concentrating on those who are lucky enough to own their own home or have a family and forgetting those of us who don't.
The people complaining about the effect of falling rates on their savings should have bought UK Gov Gilts, which guarantee the interest and are very safe. Their value also rises if rates go down!
I am very disappointed with another cut in interest rates. My husband and I rely solely on the interest from our savings for our income and this is another blow.
I also am not happy that we savers are being penalised to give borrowers an easier time. We are now of the opinion that there is little point in saving and with a reduced income as a result of low interest rates we can see a time in the not too distant future when we will be using more and more of our savings to live and therefore we will be investing less and the banks and building societies will suffer as a result.
For let us not forget that without us savers there is no money to lend. I cannot see that cutting interest rates is the answer to the current recession.
MEMORIES OF WOOLWORTHS
After school on 5th Feb 1953, Woolies, Western Road Brighton, just 10yrs old, wandering why a huge queue snaked from the corner of the road outside, to the middle of the shop and ended at the sweet counter, 13ys of sweet rationing had just ended...Oh! bliss, but we couldn't afford any, not a 1p between us, how sad is that?...that really is a credit crunch!
Joyce Marshall then & now Chalk
The thing I remember about Woolies in my childhood was the tins of broken biscuits.
There were several of these containers from which you selected the biscuits you wanted. The tins were about 12 inches square and 18 inches deep and full of broken biscuits of every kind.
I also remember as a child asking my mum did the supervisor wear any clothes under her uniform, not a lot of shops at that time (50s) wore uniforms then and I was intrigued - the answer was yes.
In the early 60s, when my husband and I were newly married and we went to visit other towns, Woolworths was always the first shop we would visit!
I used to work there on Saturdays when I was still at school. I loved it! We had our own counters - mine was lingerie - there was a drawer for a till.
The canteen was a great place to hear the gossip. We were paid at the end of Saturday working - 6pm.
I always remember the record counter - Embassy records, and the pick and mix sweets. Also the perfume they sold on the cosmetic counter - I think it was called "Midnight in Paris" in a little blue bottle.
We used to buy hairspray - then it was called laquer - in plain bottles and pour it into a spray bottle - hair was as sticky as can be!
It was a vibrant place to work and I loved every minute of it - I left when I left school & went to work at Mackintosh sweets.
My local Woolworths store in the 1930s advertised everything as nothing more than 6 pence - 2.5p in today's money. I remember seeing small tortoises for sale (can you believe it?) at two shillings each. They justified this by saying it was 6 pence per leg!
Alan Wilcock - Caithness
I wonder if I can lay claim to the longest record for a Xmas tree at 38 years.
I bought my tree in 1970 in Woolworths, Manchester. It has gone up every year since and we are both going out together, [I am 72]. My family pour scorn on it every year as we both lose a little more of our "covering". What they don't realise is the number of memories it evokes each time it goes up.
The first picture is my son Andrew [ now an RAF offficer just returned from Afghanistan] The other is my Grandson, Oliver, in the same position; but not the same house.
And yes, I still have a box of Woolies decorations that still go up, even though they are quite fragile.
In 1941, at the age of 13, for the price of 6 pence (2.4 new pence), I purchased a red, wooden handled, ratchet screwdriver (pictured) from Messrs Woolworth in Gold Street, Northampton.
It has been in constant use ever since and I now note that my faithful friend is worth more than all of Woolworth stores.
(Prof) Reg Austin
I remember as a child in the 40s the wooden floors, the cleanliness, the huge selection of sweets, the assistants serving from behind the display (no queueing at tills), loose salted warm peanuts served in little greaseproof bags, and my mother always being able to get what she wanted whether it was haberdashery, garden plants, seeds, stationery etc etc. What a shame it seems to have lost its way.
We have in our Christmas Tree ornaments box 3 1,doz boxes of Woolworths Christmas tree ornaments.
There are 33 left out of 36, these were purchased from our local Woolworths for Christmas 1964, our first year of marriage, for, I think, a shilling a box.
My grand children are still playing with some tin soldiers that I brought with my pocket money at Woolworths in Lowestoft in the 50s.... they cost 3d each.
P Poulain, Aldershot
Being now in my 70s I remember several things about Woolworths as a child. My younger sister by seven years would always go missing in the shop and an announcement would be made that a small child had been found and would her mother collect her from the manager's office! Of course in those days it was not as frightening when a child went missing in a shop as it is today.
As a teenager I remember buying mum's Christmas present from the shop like Evening in Paris perfume. And one of our neighbours was an assistant on the sweet counter.
Helen Bond, Cheshire
Woolworths holds a strong place in many people's hearts and on many of the UK's high streets but its brand lost any real value many years ago. Attacked by lost cost competitors and the internet it no longer has a distinctive offering that sufficiently differentiates the business from its competitors.
What is does have is great locations and a well known legacy brand. The network of 800 stores could be combined with an enhanced internet service to provide a full range of Woolworths products to be collected in store at convenient times, thus avoiding the need for postal deliveries arriving with consumers at inconvenient times.
David McBride, Preston, Lancashire
CREDIT CRUNCH CHRISTMAS
I will be buying everything off Ebay this year.
I think I have the best christmas plan going this year when it comes to saving money...I'm doing nothing! I'll be staying in being a bah humbug on my own. Yay!
Cutting the cost of Christmas; the big expense of the winter.
i) Make your own personated family cards (like happy Christmas sister) as they are expensive.
ii) All adults agree to limit present costs to each other.
iii) Cut back on all usual extras like chocolates & tit bits like nuts (that no one eats!).
iv) Explain to the kids that there is a 'credit crunch' & can't have everything they want this year. I'm sure teachers would have mentioned 'credit crunch' at school even though the kids won't know what it means, they'll be half prepared for this adult explanation.
v) Buy cheap crackers, as long as they 'bang', have a hat, little 'toy' & joke they're alright.
vi) Most people have to have a turkey dinner but cut back on all extras like sauces, chutney, cranberry, red current, extra stuffing & that sort of thing. Buy smaller jars. Reduce portion sizes as there's usually far too much & get a smaller turkey (use smaller plates - looks more) - 'restaurant trick'.
vii) Buy less expensive alcohol like liqueurs.
viii) One can enjoy Christmas lunch just as much without noticing cut backs, it's the good will spirit that counts!
Steven Russell, Leeds.
Since MBMA racked up both my credit cards to 34%, and since spending less on other people seems to go against the Christmas grain, I'll be cutting back on buying myself new dresses, shoes and blowdrys...