Are the independents really more expensive?

November 5th, 2012
There was a gent in the shop on Saturday who loudly announced that we were £10 cheaper than a nearby shed for a galvanised incinerator. I’m not really surprised: the sheds are very good at price management and advertise their loss-leaders very well. On the whole they are not cheaper. What we lose through dealing through wholesalers, we gain through not having bloated head-offices sucking the business dry.
A month or two ago a lady enquired as to the price of 5 litres matt emulsion mixed to a specific colour. £42 I said. You’re having a laugh, said she (or words to that effect). I’ll go to B&Q thank you very much. So last time I was in Wycombe, I popped into B&Q and found they were selling the same Dulux 5 litres for £38. You would have to buy quite a lot to justify travelling to Wycombe, Hemel or Aylesbury.
Is it, once again, just the (often erroneous) assumption that small independents will be more expensive?

There was a gent in the shop on Saturday who loudly announced that we were £10 cheaper than a nearby shed for a galvanised incinerator. I’m not really surprised: the sheds are very good at price management and advertise their loss-leaders very well. On the whole they are not cheaper. What we lose through dealing through wholesalers, we gain through not having bloated head-offices sucking the business dry.

A month or two ago a lady enquired as to the price of 5 litres matt emulsion mixed to a specific colour. £42 I said. You’re having a laugh, said she (or words to that effect). I’ll go to B&Q thank you very much. So last time I was in Wycombe, I popped into B&Q and found they were selling the same Dulux 5 litres for £38. You would have to buy quite a lot to justify travelling to Wycombe, Hemel or Aylesbury from Chesham.

Is it, once again, just the (often erroneous) assumption that small independents will be more expensive?

Another year, another culvert camera survey.

June 21st, 2012
The saga of the Chesham culvert continues. Yesterday we had the third camera survey of the culvert. Heaven knows what all this costs. All we can be sure of is who is paying.
This survey appears to have been done in an efficient and workmanlike manner by Transport for Buckinghamshire and concentrated on the publicly owned parts. This is in contrast to the approach of the Environment Agency who gilded the lily (job creation scheme?) to include the whole culvert. Memories of an hysterical EA flunky scooting around town hands clutched to head screaming “IT’S A CRISIS, IT’S A CRISIS”. That was probably two years ago now.
Do I sense a grasp of reality in Transport for Buckinghamshire after recent staff changes. There is (or may be) a problem in Market square. The solution? Fix it at the lowest possible cost in the shortest possible time. Why? Because the restriction barriers are legally ineffectual and an eyesore which does Chesham High Street no favours.
Don’t let the environment agency turn it into a calamity: the country does not have that kind of money any more.

The saga of the Chesham culvert continues. Yesterday we had the third camera survey of the culvert. Heaven knows what all this costs. All we can be sure of is who is paying.

This survey appears to have been done in an efficient and workmanlike manner by Transport for Buckinghamshire and concentrated on the publicly owned parts. This is in contrast to the approach of the Environment Agency who gilded the lily (job creation scheme?) to include the whole culvert. Memories of an hysterical EA flunky scooting around town hands clutched to head screaming “IT’S A CRISIS, IT’S A CRISIS”. That was probably two years ago now.

Do I sense a grasp of reality in Transport for Buckinghamshire after recent staff changes. There is (or may be) a problem in Market square. The solution? Fix it at the lowest possible cost in the shortest possible time. Why? Because the restriction barriers are legally ineffectual and an eyesore which does Chesham High Street no favours.

Don’t let the environment agency turn it into a calamity: the country does not have that kind of money any more.

Dulux Paint Mixing now at Pearces

March 7th, 2012
With the closing of Focus in Chesham, we felt the town needed a replacement paint mixing service. Wickes have moved into the Focus site but do not do colour mixing so we have installed a Dulux Paint mixing machine. It has taken a fair amount of space which we did not have and we are struggling to find display space for a number of displaced items. I am sure it will sort itself out with time.
Our pricing is very competitive and we look forward to helping with any of your paint requirements.

With the closing of Focus in Chesham, we felt the town needed a replacement paint mixing service. Wickes have moved into the Focus site but do not do colour mixing so we have installed a Dulux Paint mixing machine. It has taken a fair amount of space which we did not have and we are struggling to find display space for a number of displaced items. I am sure it will sort itself out with time.

Our pricing is very competitive and we look forward to helping with any of your paint requirements.

Ceiling Airers

January 18th, 2012
A customer was in the shop yesterday thanking us for our assistance. He had been in earlier looking for a replacement pulley for his old-fashioned ceiling airer. We could not offer the correct pulley and he was quite happy to pay the £43.00 for a new airer (which we keep in stock) from Similar Ideas in Dudley.
I suggested he contact the manufacturer and gave him an address. Yesterday he reported back that the manufacturer had supplied him the correct pulley for the princely sum of £1.50. “Not bad for a thirty year old airer!” he said.
The moral? It’s a British firm making goods in this country. Actually that’s not essential: Hozelock are very good at supplying obscure spares for (in particular) their pressure sprayers and they longer manufacture in this country. Maybe it’s just that there are still old-fashioned British companies that take pride in what they do.

A customer was in the shop yesterday thanking us for our assistance. He had been in earlier looking for a replacement pulley for his old-fashioned ceiling airer. We could not offer the correct pulley and he was quite happy to pay the £43.00 for a new airer (which we keep in stock) from Similar Ideas in Dudley.

I suggested he contact the manufacturer and gave him an address. Yesterday he reported back that the manufacturer had supplied him the correct pulley for the princely sum of £1.50. “Not bad for a thirty year old airer!” he said.

The moral? It’s a British firm making goods in this country. Actually that’s not essential: Hozelock are very good at supplying obscure spares for (in particular) their pressure sprayers and they longer manufacture in this country. Maybe it’s just that there are still old-fashioned British companies that take pride in what they do.

German watering cans

May 19th, 2011
I was quite surprised the other day when stocking up on cheap watering cans. There has been quite a run on them due to the dry weather so I ordered more than I normally would and from different manufacturers from my normal.
The Geli watering cans in 5 litre (£3.95) and 10 litre (£5.95) are made in Germany of all places. I don’t know why I am surprised: I just didn’t expect the country that produces Mercedes, Leitz, Sebo and Miele to be pumping out cheap moulded plastics. For the price, they are not bad quality either (no surprise there then).
For this to work, Germany just has to be operating at the wrong exchange rate. Greece is on the wrong side of a fake Euro exchange rate and suffering because of it. Germany is on the other side of that fake rate and its exports are prospering as a result.
So the money poor old Britain is providing to bail-out a Eurozone problem not of its making is paradoxically being used to fund Germany’s success.
Shurely shome mishtake.

I was quite surprised the other day when stocking up on cheap watering cans. There has been quite a run on them due to the dry weather so I ordered more than I normally would and from different manufacturers from my normal.

The Geli watering cans in 5 litre (£3.95) and 10 litre (£5.95) are made in Germany of all places. I don’t know why I am surprised: I just didn’t expect the country that produces Mercedes, Leitz, Sebo and Miele to be pumping out cheap moulded plastics. For the price, they are not bad quality either (no surprise there then).

For this to work, Germany just has to be operating at the wrong exchange rate. Greece is on the wrong side of a fake Euro exchange rate and suffering because of it. Germany is on the other side of that fake rate and its exports are prospering as a result.

So the money poor old Britain is providing to bail-out a Eurozone problem not of its making is paradoxically being used to fund Germany’s success.

Shurely shome mishtake.

Cuprinol Shed and Fence

September 3rd, 2010

Well that’s what everyone including me calls it. That was until I got an annoyed phone call from a customer that the Shed and Fence he had just used was not the same as that which he had used last year (most use this stuff but once a year). He had phoned Cuprinol and they had agreed: the Shed and Fence he was using was in no way comparable the the Shed and Fence he used last year. They explained (to him) that they were under EU (them again!) pressure to reduce the volatile content and that the change had resulted in a name change from “Shed and Fence Preserver” to “Shed and Fence Protector”. The new version did not preserve the wood at all but merely introduced soluble waxes to act as a water repellent.

I am a sensitive flower and don’t like being accused of giving incorrect advice. I phoned Cuprinol myself and told them that to continue to use the universally accepted name “Shed and Fence” on two completely different products was daft. Their attitude was that the change from “preserver” to “protector” was enough to distinguish the product. Their claim to me was that they had removed the biocide from the product and so could no longer continue to call it a preserver so it sounds more like a problem with DEFRA registration than with volatile content.

I pointed out that I was buying from my wholesaler using the same codes as I had always done and that the continued use of the words “Shed and Fence” amounted, at least in part, to deception. My complaint was met with some petulance.

We expect this kind of thing from politicians. Fortunately I don’t have to take it from manufacturers and will now concentrate on the Barrettine range of wood preservers which I have, for many years, advised as being much better value than their Cuprinol equivalent. They are now also a better product as well. I have phoned Barrettine and they confirm that they have no intention of removing the Biocide from their range of Premier Wood preservers.

Disappearing Garden Chemicals

July 16th, 2010

Every year, more and more traditional garden products are withdrawn at the behest of the European Union. Withdrawal from the market does not necessarily mean that the product is harmful or dangerous but can merely mean that the manufacturer cannot justify the considerable expense to get the item ‘approved’. This is a ridiculous state of affairs and plays into the hands of the big manufacturers at the expense of the small.

As each product is withdrawn it is, as often as not, the German company Bayer which seems to come up with an expensive alternative.

Hmm… Maybe I am just being paranoid.

Vegetable and Flower Seeds

February 20th, 2010

Seeds

Seeds

We now stock a reasonably comprehensive range of 2010 seeds from Mr. Fothergill’s Seeds. Each packet is individually priced and is provided with recommended planting schedules.

We have nearly a hundred different varieties and look forward to extending the range.

Scout Post

December 2nd, 2009

As usual, we are helping with the distribution of Scout Post. This is a very worthwhile fundraiser for the Scouts. Buy a 20p stamp from us, put it onto your Christmas card or message and post it in the postbox in our shop. As simple as that. Not only is it cheaper than Royal Mail but, dare I say it, more reliable than the crisis ridden postal service. Don’t even mention the ridiculous closure of Chesham’s main post office.

There are about 10 Scout posting boxes in Chesham and another 10 in Amersham. Delivery area includes Amersham Common, Amersham Old Town, Amersham on the Hill, Asheridge, Ashley Green, Bellingdon, Chartridge, Chesham, Chesham Bois, Hyde Heath, Ley Hill, Little Chalfont, Orchard Leigh, Pednor, Pednor Bottom, The Vale and Tylers Hill.

Last posting date is 20th December

James Martin Triply Cookware

October 22nd, 2009

We are now stocking this range. I have always been attracted to tri-ply pots and pans. It makes a lot of sense to me. The metal is a sandwich of aluminium on the inside (for good heat distribution) and and thin layer of stainless steel (for looks and durability) on both the inner and outer surfaces of the pan. The advantage of even heat distribution is especially noticeable with the frypans, saute pans and casseroles. It is expensive but, I think, worth it.