Hey Big Spender

Posted June 4th, 2006 by Penny Wise

Been a bit quiet lately – Noel has been suffering with the flu and successfully passed it on to me, the rotten thing! Serves me right for not being more sympathetic I suppose; I thought he was just overreacting about a measly head cold but boy was I proved wrong! Luckily I had my Mum to rely on for plenty of blog material this week, bless her – sorry Mum! I must tell you about my Mum and her mate Nireen. The pair of them love beautiful clothes, good food and fine wine and every few months they decide to treat themselves to a quality ‘ladies’ day out’ together in the city. This week, Nireen informed Mum that they were heading up to a posh restaurant in Auckland Harbour, where she had read in the newspaper of a wonderful special they currently had on whole crayfish. A ‘snip’ at just $40 instead of the usual $96! Being accustomed to Noel and his mates going diving for crayfish and bringing them home for free, Mum did think this was rather excessive but was still looking forward to her day out, so off they set early in the morning for the hour long trip to the city.

Mid-morning my phone rang to the sound of raucous laughter. The battery on Ni’s car had gone flat when she stopped for petrol and the two of them were stranded at the top of the motorway in their glad rags, waiting for the AA. To add insult to injury, Ni had also inadvertently locked her keys in the car, so they couldn’t even sit inside the car while they waited! One and a half hour’s later, the AA arrived and they were soon on their merry way again – although they did have to call the restaurant to tell them not to cook their crayfish just yet. They eventually arrived and ordered a starter – Mum ordered a salad which sounded divine (she certainly hoped so, considering she was paying as much for her warm goat’s cheese salad as she would normally expect to pay for a main course). Very nice it was too – all three mouthfuls of it! The restaurant was packed with diners all eagerly anticipating their bargain crayfish. Mum and Nireen decided they would order a bottle of wine to go with their meal and eagerly perused the extensive wine list before settling on the cheapest variety at $14. A glass, that is. Needless to say, they made their one glass each last a very long time and when the waiter asked if they would like some water for their table, they agreed.

The crayfish finally arrived and Mum had to agree that it was very nice, if very small, with a dessert spoonful of pureed potato plopped underneath it. If she had been expecting anything else for her $40 bargain main, she was disappointed – that was it! No chips and salad in this establishment! Never mind, it was still a pleasant meal and the two ladies went to settle the bill. Neither of them could believe it when they saw from the tab that they had been charged $10 for their water! Eighty dollar bargain meals over, they decided it was time to move on and they made their way along Queen Street to a large upmarket department store.

By this time, Mum had already decided that she wasn’t going to buy another thing today, but Nireen was very excited to find that the wonder ‘Better Than Botox’ skin cream she had been keenly researching on the Internet was available in-store. A charming young man spotted an easy target and launched into full sales spiel, telling of how he had bought some for his own mother with amazing results. In just 28 days, all wrinkles would disappear – guaranteed! The ironic thing is, that Nireen has next to no wrinkles as it is, and is extremely well-preserved for someone in her mid-fifties! However, she was well and truly under his spell and had no hesitation in parting with the required $299, such was her desire to have a wrinkle-free complexion. Applied twice daily, this bottle of wonder stuff would last six months (which sounded rather unnecessary if it was supposed to clear every minor flaw after just one month!) Ni couldn’t wait to get home to try out her new product and asked Mum if she was going to snap up this offer while she had the chance. ‘No thanks’ Mum replied. ‘I’d rather look at your face for the next 28 days to see if it works first!’ Retail therapy over, Mum got out her purse to pay for the parking. She almost put it away again when she was told she had to cough up $29 for four hours’ parking! On returning back to their little patch of heaven in the country, the two of them unanimously agreed it would be a very long time before the big city would beckon again.

No such excitement for me this week I’m afraid, but I did manage to make one small saving without even trying! Imagine my surprise when I received a congratulatory letter from my credit card company. Now as you know, I no longer use a credit card but several years ago I did. Apparently due to new legislation I was owed a refund of interest from purchases I made on overseas goods between the years 2001 and 2004. How exciting I thought! I scanned the letter further down in anticipation of my little windfall – the princely sum of $0.26c. I had to chuckle to myself there and then – it had cost the company more to post that letter than my refund! Mum did marginally better than I did, bagging a slightly more impressive $1.12 – at least it was worth more than the $0.45c stamp used to tell her about it!

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