Sunday, February 20, 2011

Heavy boxes from Holland and Barrett

I mentioned, early in January, how I had discovered that I could order some items from the UK health food store Holland and Barrett for rather less than I pay for the same items at supermarkets or pharmacies in Cyprus. The order arrived within ten days, and I was delighted.

Early in February, I realised that I was running low on my favourite green tea and blackcurrant teabags. I haven't been able to get them in Cyprus for a while, so I went back to the Holland and Barrett website. This time I had a voucher from Quidco for 15% off the order - had I actually registered with the site (as I did a few days later), I'd have had a 'cashback' too.

Holland and Barrett were having special deals with several products reduced even more than usual, if I bought two of them. I decided to get four packets of the fruity tea - at a total of £5. I wanted some more oats, but the 1kg bags were not in stock; however they had 2kg bags, with the same offer - buy two, and get the second one half price. I browsed around, looking at the things I had tagged as 'favourites', and also following some links... and it wasn't long before my order came to about £45... then, when I applied the voucher, and they added postage, it came to just over £30. Very reasonable, it seemed to me.

I did wonder, in the days that followed, how I would get the order back from the Post Office. The email they sent implied that orders over 2kg (as this undoubtedly was!) would be sent by courier... however I didn't receive any notification, and nobody phoned. I didn't go to the PO Box last Monday, but on Friday was concerned that there might be a fair amount of mail awaiting us, so as it was a nice day, I walked down. It's a gentle stroll of about a mile. In the box were two slips saying that there were parcels waiting for me inside. I'd taken a large cloth bag with me, wondering if the order might have come, and thought how sensible that they'd divided the order into two. Or, perhaps, there would be something else awaiting me...

The postmistress brought out two parcels. They were a little bigger than I'd expected. 'Wait,' she said, as she handed them to me. 'There are more!'

She returned with THREE more parcels. One large, two medium, two small. I managed to fit three of them into my bag.

For the first time ever, I did contemplate phoning Richard at the office and asking if he could spare ten minutes to come and collect me (and the parcels). But they weren't that heavy, so I thought I would probably be all right. It was a little awkward, and by the time I was half-way home I was out of breath and quite warm, but I took a five-minute break on a bench in the nearby park, and made it home.

Then I piled the boxes on the sofa to take a photo:

I then weighed them individually. They were each around 2kg in weight, with a total of almost 9kg. So, not THAT heavy, really... but still, rather more than I would normally carry for a mile.

The two smallest boxes each contained a 750g jar of molasses:

I didn't need that much molasses. I use a teaspoonful at a time when I make bread, and a 340g jar (which I can buy in Cyprus) lasts me a couple of months, usually. But 750g from Holland and Barrett cost HALF of what a 340g jar costs here... and the second was, of course, at half price.

The medium boxes each contained one of the 2kg bags of oats:

I use that for granola, and sometimes for biscuits/cookies. It will take me a LONG time to get through 4kg, so I put the bags straight in the freezer.

And the large box contained:

Two bags of cough lozenges, two bags of sunflower seeds, two boxes of lemon/ginger tea, and four boxes of blackcurrant/green tea.

(Which sounds like something 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' might have eaten!)

It was only as I checked the packing labels that I realised that there's still more to come. Evidently the last box was delayed, since my order also included two bags of linseeds, some echinacea/goldenseal extract, and a copy of the latest 'Healthy' magazine.

Just as well, really. I don't see how I could possibly have carried a sixth box home as well.

I hope they didn't make too big a loss on my order. There's no way that the £6.95 postal charges would have covered over 9kg of parcels from the UK to Cyprus.


Anvilcloud said...

I can't make out the flavour of Ricola but we like Seaberry - No Sugar Added.

Sue said...

They're a kind of lemon/honey lozenge with a special Swiss herbal combination.

I don't go for lozenges with no sugar added, because that usually mean artificial sweeteners instead, and those (particularly aspartame/nutrasweet) give me a major migraine :-(

Lynda said...

A great read Sue I could almost see this as a skit!


Rosemary said...

The independent Health Food shop I work in for one morning a week stocks all the lines you show (Holland and Barrett are not words mentioned here :-). The Lemon tea retails at £1.39, bags of Ricola are currently 95p, the molasses is £1.99 and non-organic oats are 3lb bag for £1.10. The shop does post items in small bottles/plastic at cost of postage but I doubt, sadly, glassware to Cyprus would be economic. I can find you an email if you'd like to ask though.