Monday, September 21, 2009

On Facebook, a friend of mine was musing about the cost of certain items in certain high street stores. Knowing him to be a man of sense, I expressed amazement that he bothered with the high street for anything anymore. I bought both of my computers online - the desktop machine I'm typing this on now was two-thirds of the price of an identical unit in PC World, while the laptop came from PC World's website, and was an exclusive online offer. I get through a lot of blank DVDs, and am consistently astonished at the price high street stores expect me to pay. My DVD recorder came from Amazon.co.uk, and was half the price of the same unit anywhere else. A while back, I needed a replacement mini-jack for my headphones. Maplin wanted £2.99, for which price I could get 5 of the buggers from a chap on eBay. Finally, as one of the few people left still using a fountain pen (I think it's just me and my GP), I've been wondering why you can get green and purple Parker cartridges on the continent but not in Britain. Answer - you can get them here, if you go to the Battersea Pen Home. If you have a credit card, a computer and a willingness to wait a couple of days for the stuff to arrive, buying online is the way forward.

Of course, there are some things that money can't buy (mainly because they're crap), and in my journalistic career, I've amassed a fair few of them. Promotional mugs seem to proliferate - a recent purge of the cupboard brought forth a green one for 30 years of Picador books, a black 'Wake up and smell the coffee' one for Bloomsbury's Encarta dictionary, and a rather nice bone china one extolling the virtues of Sutton Publishing's historical titles. Having amassed enough pleasing non-promotional drinking vessels, including a repro White Star Line Titanic-era 3rd class mug and a superb 'Yorkshire Television Colour Production' mug hand made by my good friend Marcus Bernard of TV Ark, the publishing freebies are going to the charity shop, even 'Wake up and smell Nigel Newton's bank balance'. This has, however, set me to wondering what was the best freebie I've ever received? On balance, it's probably the Pure Evoke 1 digital radio in the kitchen, given to selected hacks in the glory days of Oneword, although the Weidenfeld and Nicolson 50th anniversary anthology that I got signed by both Lord Weidenfeld and Nigel Nicolson is a keeper, as is the t-shirt promoting my mate Andy Miller's book Tilting at Windmills (Slogan: "A hollow victory is still a victory"), even though it has never ever fit me. Does anyone else have good free stuff to declare?

5 comments:

Kecske said...

Indeed - I buy all my things for free using the Noele Gordon Cosmic Ordering Service.

LF Barfe said...

Glad it's working for someone. A fat lot of good it did her.

Radders said...

I'm reading this column while drinking from an aluminium Bloomberg mug from 2005.
Warning - don't put in microwave to reheat cold coffee...

LF Barfe said...

Oh Dave, you didn't? Aren't you some kind of scientist?

Adam Macqueen said...

I got sent a really nice swiss army knife by the Discovery channel as a thank you for going to Somerset to interview a dog psychiatrist (it was a German Shepherd. It kind of made sense when you were there). I kept it (the knife, not the German Shepherd) in the glovebox of my car after forgetting to take it out after a camping trip. And then the bloody car got nicked. I was quite happy to get an insurance cheque for the car, which was a nightmare to run, but really upset about the swiss army knife...

Soz to hear about the arm by the way. Will you set off metal detectors in airports for ever more?