Day 11: Bristol Part II

Planned to go to M Shed today, but got caught up in a writing idea… So a change of plan and I’m probably spending the day and afternoon taking a look at the not-so-nice parts of Bristol… And maybe some good neighbourhoods, too… This post will probably become a summary of past shopping/browsing experiences so please bear with me.

Thrift stores/charity shops

What I did love deeply about Victoria is the sheer number of thrift stores, and the amount of stuff you can get from then. This pleasure was, unfortunately, discontinued in Montreal, mostly because I had no idea where to go… Here, however, the concept of charity shops are introduced… They are, by nature, thrift stores, but virtually all of them are run by some sort of charity, selling second hand stuff while fundraising for a cause. Like this one run by Cancer Research UK:


Sainsbury’s & Tesco

I’d always pictured Sainsbury and Tesco are like Thrifty’s and Fairways, but it turns out they’re more like Provigo and Thrifty’s…

And… Trust me on this one. I found both of them today, right next door to each other, and couldn’t resist the urge to compare… The result? Tesco’s much cheaper!

One thing in Britain that is quite different from Canada is that they have a thing called £3 meals… Let’s take a look:

The above is the meat at Sainsbury’s. £3 includes one of a few cheaper sandwiches (eg those without veggies in them), a bagged fruit or a bag of chips/crisps, plus a drink. Of course it’s already pretty good, considering an egg sandwich in Provigo can cost up to $4.99, exluding tax…


And Tesco… It looks like the same deal, but it’s actually better… First of all, you get a wider selection of mains: virtually all sandwiches are on board, as well as a number of pasta and leaf salads… I didn’t find any potato salads today but I’d expect them to be included, too. Then if you look closely, it says £3 or less, which means if your combination, due to whichever reason, costs less than £3, you get the cheaper price. Most of the time it happens with reduced products… It can get as crazy as 99p for a BLT, you just need to look for it. Keep a look on best before dates though… Reduced products are nearly always expiring on the day you’re buying them.

Soup. I’m not going to comment how good these soups are, because I haven’t tried them. But £1, or less than $2, for 600ml of soup that is so obvious enough for a satisfying meal is virtually unheard of in my life back in Canada. Sure we have canned soup or something… They are disgusting (trust me, I’ve tried them out of desperation), and often go over $2. So shut up and take my money! This is Tesco, by the way, and I’m not sure what exactly they mean by “save 50p”, so I’ll assume that they’re on sale… Which makes both supermarkets equal: they both sell soup at £1.50 normally. The rest of this section, though, are all about Tesco.

Less than $3 for what looks like 6 cups of chocolate mousse… Just think about it… And damn it’s Aero, and it’s got mint flavour… Need I remind you again that all taxes are included?

This pie, when converted to Canadian dollars, may not be as competitive. Though honestly speaking I’ve never seen pie sold like this in Canada before… I’d expect a full, 9-inch apple pie to cost at least $5.99, too… But maybe I’m demonizing Canada

$4 for a full K of chicken wings? Seriously? This is honestly the cheapest price I’ve seen since moving to Canada (including intermittent visits back to China) Am I in wonderland?


I did swear at this. I do understand this is half price, though… Which is why I’m warning about its applicability of all time. But imagine $1-$.25 for half a K of spaghetti… Not even Dollarama has this deal!

And I guess we can talk a bit about sanitary products? I didn’t compare any dish soap or toilet paper, but sanitary pads do have a difference. I bought a bag of 10 Always night pads for £1.50 yesterday and the same items were sold at £2.00 at Sainsbury’s today. By the way, the Always products here are sooooooo much better than the ones I get in Canada… Yes I only look for the cheapest ones, thus the ones I buy in Canada are probably cheaper than the ones I get here. Still… They don’t get torn apart and stick on me all the time, and they really do keep their promise of “almost 100% leak proof”.

I did not get paid to advertise for either of them… Just saying… I was shopping for the next couple of days as I’ll be in the middle of nowhere staying at a hotel, and I figured preparing at least 6 meals would be a good idea. I only bought processed foods as I foresee a life without a kitchen, and was shocked to hear that two full day’s worth of food only cost 12 pounds. I was expecting 20 something, and if it were in Montreal I’d be estimating closer to $40 keeping taxes in mind.

Also, a note to myself: I’ve still yet to find places to buy cheap school supplies!

Lidl

Ah, Lidl… If you think Tesco is already unbelievable, Lidl’s even more so. I was a bit afraid to shop there as first I was told they sell mostly processed foods, which I interpreted as “bacon, sausages and canned/tin food”. In contrary, they actually sell produce, too… But of course, they don’t have a really good selection of products…

Farmer’s Markets/Stands

These places sell mainly produce, and may ask for a higher price than supermarkets/grocery stores. However, they do tend to have fresher products, and can sell in smaller amount, too. The six Mandarin oranges I bought from Hayle were among the best I’ve had my whole life.

I don’t have a pic for such a market yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

Poundland & Bargain Buy

Poundland is a bit like Dollarama… The best things are appliances that you don’t exactly care about, like cheap cutting knives and foil trays… Bargain Buy, however, seems much better. Their snacks are the cheapest I’d ever seen, and I mean it by per unit value.

The exact chips/crisps are normally sold at 1.50 at Tesco, and I think it’s enough said.


Three cans of (probably disgusting) pasta for £1… Depends on what’s exactly in the cans, though… I expect this pack enough for one or two meals. If and only if it’s good for two, I’d say it’s better than Tesco’s meal deal.

And then there’s this store, that I have no idea what it’s about…


I’ve taken a look inside and got the impression of it being the Target of Canada… And of course my first impulse was to stay as far away as possible! But who knows? They may have cheap school supplies!

Pharmacies

Pharmacies here are nothing like Shoppers, where you get massive discounts on different items almost every few weeks… They are indeed a bit more expensive than supermarkets, so my general advice is to avoid… After all, I can find all my daily supplies at Tesco.

Oh and they have the same sanitary pads here, a 20 pack. Today when it was on sale I think it was 2 for £5, and I forgot the individual prices. So that might be the only thing worth looking into there? Well the pads look like this:


(On a side note, I had a sense of déjà-vu when I first saw French and English on the package… Then I turned it around and saw German – true sign that I am indeed in Europe)

A note on eating out…

So. Freaking. Expensive.

Ah well. Maybe not exactly. But if you go do a café or restaurant, chances are you’re paying at least the same amount of money when you factor into the exchange rate… Worst case scenario (which happens with chain cafés and posh restaurants/pubs), you pay the same number, with different currency signs… Chinese restaurants can sometimes be an exception, but don’t count on it.

And that concludes my final day in Bristol. In these two short days, I’ve decided that this is not my place to live, and had a writing inspiration, which I hope is better than nothing… Now I can’t wait to get to my next stop… Hint hint: I’m crossing a border!

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