My heart knows no joy to equal the arrival of the weekly Free Paper! Week in, week out, in sun rain or snow the free paper drops through the letterbox and spreads itself carelessly all over the floor. As the present delivery operative (e.g. a snotty, uncaring 13 year old forced to deliver such to learn the meaning of life) insists on delivering three, one for each disinterested apartment, we needs gather an ever increasing pile of junk that accompanies this periodical. I say 'we,' but in this place I mean 'me!' I am the one who tidies up, I am the one who changes lightbulbs, I am the one who hoovered the communal stairs this morning. Good job I'm not one to complain I say.
This weeks delightful offerings inform me that I can refreshing deals for summer at a store that exists miles from here. There is a small version of the Co-op somewhere down that way there but in no way can it compete with the major supermarkets. The offer prices almost always remain higher than the cost of 'own store' brand merchandise that is just as good and sometimes better! Still the fattening products on offer are the ones folks buy. Still this glossy leaflet arrives weekly without fail and rushes to join the recycling campaign. Off more interest is the 'BIG Unbeatable Sale' from the electrical dealer offering prices for TV's, radios, fridges, cameras and laptops that I can buy at similar 'unbeatable' prices at Tesco. It surprises me not that is guy went bust a year ago and was taken over for a small fee by a man who I reckon is on a loser. Austerity hits home with items such as these! These delights are bought only when old ones need replacing today, no more rushing out to purchase just because the woman next door has got a new one. The money is just not there to be spent.
My favourite junk today is the nationwide chemist offering to make me young forever if I plaster my face with £14.99 worth of cream. 'Anti-wrinkle- cream it says, yet we all know these make not the slightest difference to wrinkles, just ask Anne Robinson! Women will buy this stuff and the latest con is to advertise this stuff for men, and some men buy it! I bet their boyfriends buy it also! I am reminded of the cartoon comparing the few toiletries a man uses, one tube of toothpaste, one soap, one shampoo against those a woman would require, an entire row from a supermarket! All that to make you attractive and at great cost! Just give him a bottle of beer and it will have the same effect and save hundreds of pounds for you each year.
This junk comes at three items a week from Royal Mail also these days. people complain and grumble about it but for every ten thousand sent out one person buys something, and these leaflets pay! There is no doubt these much maligned leaflets sell goods. When I used to deliver I often had objections from customers concerning the junk mail, yet I noticed they all checked out what had arrived just the same, few just dumped them. They also pay for Royal Mail that is why they wish the postie to deliver eighteen a week! This was then reduced to nine but strong objections from the workforce kept this to three. You can tell the managers today did not start as postmen can't you? On top of these we are lucky enough here to have several Pizza Parlours, Chick-a-Lick takeaways, and chip shops, selling Mediterranean cuisine (That's Kebabs to you). How lucky we are to be such a haven for cuisine! Cuisine that delivers to your door and never appears to have any change, or so I'm told, I would always get it myself and save a few bob if I could ever afford such luxury. Folks offering to cut our grass (which is covered with stones anyway) clean our windows or do our accounts (accounts?) also periodically dumped cards on us. If these people think this building consists of potential customers it indicates the rest of their operation will not have been thought through properly. I would avoid them!
The free paper itself is a wonder of the past forty years. There was a time no self respecting newspaper would ever consider something free. The lure of personal ads however has enticed them. Who has not been attracted to 'Sweet Knight sought for young fifty something. GSOH. Likes Dancing, pubs, snakes and arc welding. No weirdos.' Just who writes these things, and who falls for them? Yet each week the back page is full of people desperate for love. True adverts here are very poignant and some sad desperate people may be seeking an end to a lonely life. Others may not be quite so honest however. No, no-one ever answered mine thanks for asking. In amongst the adverts, Double glazing, Solar heating, weddings and 'Are you deaf?' headlines we find snatches of last weeks news as if it mattered. A week old, long forgotten, but cheap, anything to fill the spaces. Spaces often filled with adverts for adverts by the publisher! These papers arrive week by week without fail, no matter your situation. You may recall the episode of One Foot in the Grave' where they return from a Spanish holiday to find the house burnt down. He pushes open the front door, the only part of the building still standing, and finds a fresh, newly delivered copy of the free paper behind it! That rang a bell throughout the nation.
All this is now in the recycled box as I have not been impressed to buy, not even the reduced price ice cream from the shop or the £89.99 camera that would at least be useful. The papers will either be reused to make fresh newsprint, magazines full of emptiness or, more likely, be dumped somewhere in the Philippines or the backside of Africa as this is cheaper than actually reusing the stuff. It makes you proud that doesn't it?