Category Archives: Shopping

Camelot Greed

I’ve become increasingly disenfranchised with Camelot, the operator currently given the license to run the National Lottery in the UK.

Just over a year ago they doubled the price of the basic “Lotto” offering, and by increasing the number of balls in the draw have reduced the odds of wining the Jackpot from something like 14 million to one to 45 million to one.   At the same time parallel changes have been made to increase the chances of winning a prize.  Many of my friends and family agreed that we’d be doing LESS lines on the National Lottery as a result, or at the very least spending the same sum on lottery tickets, but doing 50% of the lines.  The evidence of this failure is clear to see.  Gone are the £6-8m jackpots at a weekend with no rollover.  Instead we’re lucky if the jackpot reaches £4m without a rollover, and the number of sequential rollovers is clearly increasing.

The latest Camelot ploy has annoyed me further still, and to me points at a company that is loosing public support.  The paying public are voting with their feet, and not backing the National Lottery as they once did.  Not only are Camelot loosing out, but the extent of the Lottery funds channelled to good causes and charities is similarly shrinking.

At this time of year, there are normally multiple different seasonal scratch cards on sale.  These are usually a mix of £1, £2, £5, and £10 scratch cards with a Christmas theme.  The £1 scratch cards are often in the form of tags, so they can be used to label a present “from” and “to” an individual.

However it would seem that there are no £1 Christmas scratch cards on sale anywhere this year!  The list of Scratch cards in circulation most definitely doesn’t include a Christmas specific one for only £1 this year.

Many people (myself included) use these as part of our Christmas gift giving, using them as Stocking fillers or to boost presents, and it seems likely that Camelot expect everyone to just buy £2 cards instead.

I wonder if Camelot will retain it’s license at the next review?  Based on current performance, I sincerely hope not!

A new discovery!

Today I’ve made a new discovery. Oasis Mighty Drops Raspberry Lemonade


I will be buying more from Tesco!!!  That is all.

I’ve spotted a trick….

This is something I really must keep an eye out for!

I’ve had something in my Amazon wishlist for a while now.  When I originally added it, it’s cost was about £90.  In the 2-3 months since, it’s price has consistently dropped as we approach the middle of the month, to a low of less than £50, and approaching the end of the month it’s increased again, (currently to a price of ~ £80).  None of this appears to be driven by stock quantities, it appears to be consistently “in stock”, and I’ve not seen it running low with “only X remaining” as yet.

I rather suspect that this is Amazon being a bit crafty, and reducing prices during the middle of the month, between paydays perhaps!  but putting them up again towards the end of the month to coincide with people’s spending habits.  If it’s not deliberate, then it’s an almighty coincidence!

I guess if it’s still cheaper than originally listed, there IS a saving to be made, but it’s not as good as the saving at the mid point of the month.  I’m definitely going to keep watching and check it out again, just to confirm my theory.



There is a Tesco store near to where I work in Colchester that I frequently visit.   I’ve been going there for well over 10 years now, and I’ve seen the store change as it becomes a “Tesco Extra” amd on the face of it thrive.

Now, Tesco (or the current store management at least) appear to be doing something really daft, which is made a few orders of magnitude worse by the fact that a Waitrose store is opening shortly nearby.

I’ve recently been converted to Waitrose, and now more than ever I’m looking forward to it opening.

What have Tesco done that’s annoyed me so I hear you wondering?  It’s simple enough.   They’ve closed checkouts to deliberately force customers to use the self-scan checkouts.   I don’t mind having the self service ones as an option, but personally I hate the things.  That feeling of awkwardness and embarassment when they go wrong, the looks of impatience from the people queuing behind you as if they are thinking ‘doesn’t he know how to work the checkout, it’s not THAT difficult’. All of which combine to me (even though I’m a self professed gadget geek without a technology phobia) means that I hate the wretched things.

So instead of being able to shop “normally” in Tesco, I’m forced to either wait in even lengthier queues for the manned checkouts.

Some of the staff are even getting to recognise me now… I can almost hear them say “oh look, it’s that chap that won’t use the self scan checkouts”.  They know I hate them (for I can be fairly vocal!).  I know I’m not alone, other people I’ve talked to in the Checkout queues feel a similar way.

So, roll on Waitrose opening… I know where I’ll be shopping in future!

A difficult quest…

This seems to be a bit of a challenge!

I’m after a some CD Blanks.   Not too difficult I hear you say, even Tescos sell them these days.  No, but I want some specific ones.   They used to be fairly common a few years ago, when you used to have to be careful which CD media you bought.

In fact I’d guess that the vast majority of you probably aren’t even aware that you can get CD’s of differing lengths/sizes, are you?  If you’re interested, see the section in Wikipedia on Capacities.  There, see?  My blogging can even be educational too!

Anyway, I want some 90 Minute Cd Blanks.   Only I don’t want a box of ten in Jewel Cases, which seems to be one of the few ways I can buy them.  I want a “Cakebox” style pack of 50 or even 100.

Even trusty Amazon seems to list only one source of the standard CD Blanks like these:

1×25 Verbatim CD-R 90 / 800MB 40x Speed, Cakebox Extra Protect
.. and they have limited supplies, so I guess I’d better get clicky and order some before they sell out!

Trouble is, even these aren’t really what I want.   You see I want some LightScribe compatible ones of that size, so I can print on the surface of the CD with my Lightscribe writer.

But alas, it seems my quest is too difficult!  Unless any of my avid readers can help…?

Blu-ray Blues

I think it’s fair to say that just about every Blu-ray disc I’ve bought since Christmas has been a distinct dissapointment.

Not because of the picture quality, which has fo the most part been excellent, but the actual content of the films themselves.

Some of my recent purchases are linked above, and without exception I’ve found them more than a little lacklustre.   I’m not sure if I’ve just been unlucky, or the quality of the productions has been suffering, maybe even relating to the Writers Strike in the US?

Here’s hoping that things pick up soon!