Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Grocery shopping list for December 2019

This post is the twelfth in a series that I started a year ago. 

1 December

Went to the Woolworths website and bought ling fillets, sliced corned beef, sliced Danish salami, a cos lettuce, tomatoes, a pawpaw, strawberries, milk, fetta cheese, a butter cake, Calbee “Harvest Snaps”, McVitie’s digestive biscuits, Jatz crackers, flavoured mineral water (no-sugar), toilet paper, an ironing board cover, dishwashing liquid, and soap. Delivery free and due on the 3rd of the month.

2 December

On the way home from the post office and the tailor’s (he takes in my dry cleaning) I walked to Woolworths and bought some flavoured mineral water (no-sugar) and a bottle of lemon cordial. On the label of this last item it says that the bottle contains 25 percent lemon juice, but it also contains sugar.

3 December

An SMS arrived the night before when I was in a cab, on time at just after 8pm. There was no email about variable weight items in my order, so it seems fish is not treated in the same way as meat; whenever I order things such as steak I always wake up to an early morning email informing me of cost changes that will be made prior to payment finalisation.

At just on 7.15am the intercom buzzed and I said, “I’ll come down,” twice so that the deliveryman on the street would get the message. He nodded his head – through the camera installed next to the street door I can see people when they arrive if they buzz me – and I got two tote bags and my keys and went down in the lift. Outside, I held the bags open while he put things into them. The drinks and the dishwashing liquid went into one bag with the toilet paper and the soap, while the other bag took the rest of the things.

After I signed on the man’s phone I bent to pick up the bags and he kindly said to me, “I’ll get the door?” I said in reply that I had to unlock it and took the tag out of my pocket, then tapped it on the black pyramid next to the intercom, and when the door gave off a sound like a click he pulled it open for me. I thanked him and went upstairs and unpacked everything. The printed tax invoice that came with the order showed a final total of $124.13, and now I saw that the fish was logged at exactly half a kilogram and had cost $8.50. This would serve me for three meals; it was a big piece which I cut up and bagged before putting the bags away in the freezer to keep.

The invoice shows that the order contained one 450g punnet of strawberries but there were actually two 250g punnets in the deliveryman’s crate that we put into my trusty Kalyan Jewellers bag – I had had it repaired in November so as to mend a hole in the bottom seam – with the other things. I had remembered only ordering one punnet, but I didn’t remember how much was ordered until I checked the invoice.

The new ironing board cover was a plain silver colour but it didn’t fit my ironing board so I put this purchase away in a cupboard as a spare for someone else, and put my old cover out to be taken to the tailor’s to be repaired.

The meat hadn’t arrived from Feather and Bone Butchery so I called their shop at 12.21pm; my email sent 40 minutes earlier hadn’t been answered. The guy who took my call said, with a delightful French accent, that delivery was in-train. He read out aloud, using some document as a reference, what I had left as a note on the website when I put in the order the previous Thursday. I had given him my name so it might even been he was reading from a computer screen. He said that the driver would contact me on approach. It was lucky that I hadn’t made any other plans for this day, a Tuesday. At 12.26pm Neville, a driver with the company, called me on his mobile phone and asked if I would be home in 15 minutes’ time. I said I would be and he said, “I’ll be there in a short while.”

At just on 12.35pm the intercom buzzed and I said to Neville, “I’ll come down,” but he replied, “I’ll come up.” He asked me to let him in, so I opened the front-door lock with the button on my intercom console, and he came up to my floor carrying a Styrofoam box. I said I didn’t need the box and he said they could reuse it, so he came inside and took off the tape holding down the lid. Inside, there were ice packs on top of the meat, and we put everything on the counter, then he put the ice packs back inside. 

I said the bacon looked small and we examined the label on the packet but there wasn’t any indication printed there showing the weight. I said it was my first time to order from the company, and I would make sure to get more next time but that the portion delivered on this day would last me for a week or more. 

Neville said that because I was close I might be able to get next-day delivery (though I hadn’t mentioned this is a requirement). After all this information had been exchanged he picked up the empty box and left my apartment to go back to his truck and I repacked the meat – which came packed in plastic, but not in meal-sized portions – and put it in the freezer. The eggs and bacon went in the fridge. The chops and the T-bone steaks were thicker than what you normally get from a supermarket, and the packaging was wet inside with blood.

4 December

I took the old ironing board cover to the tailor’s to get it repaired. The tailor said that he would patch it rather than putting a new top on it because if he chose the latter option he would have to source the right type of cloth and it would cost more. He said I would have to use cotton to repair it. So we settled on patching the hole.

Later, I went to Broadway Shopping Centre to buy some shoe polish at Mr Minit. They have the proper restorative type that lasts over time and that conserves shoes, so there I bought a jar of grey polish from a gruff older gentleman who was working in the kiosk with a younger man. 

I also went up to Kmart and bought a new ironing board cover, one with a green pattern made of images of monstera deliciosa leaves (we had one of these plants in the garden when I was growing up). In a note on my phone I had brought with me the dimensions of my ironing board and I saw, reading the packaging of the product I picked off the rack, that the cover would fit my ironing board. I also bought from them a small covered rubbish bin for the guest bathroom. I walked home.

When I got there I went to the convenience store to ask about buying mansaf, the Jordanian dish I had enjoyed so much on my Middle East trip. A guy who works in the store had told me about a guy he knows who sells prepared mansaf but my contact wasn’t serving on this day so I went back home. There, I phoned Omar, whose number I had had, written on a piece of paper in my wallet, since June. He was busy with another call and I was put through to voice-message but before I could leave a message he called me and I picked up. He asked if he could call me in five minutes and I said, “Yes.”

When he called later he told me that he could deliver mansaf for six people on 30 December, the night my cousin and his family would come over for dinner. My son would also be there. Omar gave me a price – it would be $200 for four or five kilos of meat and veges, plus the yoghurt sauce – and I agreed on the price. He asked me to call him again a few days before the day of the dinner to remind him. He also asked me to text him my details, including my address. I did this immediately.

6 December

Walked to Woolworths and bought couscous and pumpkin salad, and some bean salad, and flavoured mineral water (no-sugar).

8 December

Went to the Woolies website and ordered Scotch fillet steak, lamb chops, bacon, potato and sweet potato salad, coleslaw, a cos lettuce, strawberries, a pawpaw, taramosalata, olives, milk, dark chocolate, Dijon mustard, flavoured mineral water (no-sugar), and Calbee “Harvest Snaps”. Delivery free and due on Tuesday morning (the 10th).

Later the same day I amended the order, adding fetta cheese, butter cake, and olive oil spread. I also walked to Woolworths and bought lentil salad, bread, and flavoured mineral water (no-sugar).

10 December

The SMS came the night before, as expected at just after 8pm, and when I woke up in my inbox sat was an email, timestamped 1.37am, referring to variable weight items in my order. It said that the charge would be reduced by $15.85 before payment finalisation.

At 7.49am the intercom buzzed and I told the man standing on the street that I would come down. “Ok, thanks,” he said, and I grabbed two tote bags, got my shoes on, put my keys in my pocket and headed down in the lift. Outside, he loaded the drinks into one bag, then set about putting the other things, which were in a second green crate, into the second tote. Then he put a few assorted things – chocolate, Calbee snacks, mustard – in on top of the drinks. I signed on his phone to acknowledge receipt of the goods, and he said, “Have a good day,” as he set off back to his truck. I opened the front door and went upstairs.

There I unpacked, putting the protein away in separate, meal-sized bags so they could go in the freezer. The rest of the stuff went into the fridge except for the drinks, which I put on the floor. The total charge this time, as per the tax invoice that came with the stuff, was $129.60. The lamb chops weighed in at 669g and the Scotch fillet weighed in at 301g.

11 December

On the way to the psychiatrist’s office I dropped off a suit to be dry cleaned, and picked up my ironing board cover, which had been repaired. After my appointment I stopped by at the bottle shop to get some zero-alcohol beer. They didn’t have any zero-alcohol Heineken in stock so I bought some Sobah “finger lime cerveza” and some of their “lemon Aspen pilsner”. The beer is 0.5 percent alcohol and it gave me a buzz when I drank it. A bit.

12 December

Went to the Campos Coffee website and ordered a kilogram of their “Superior” blend and 500g of their “Blade Runner” blend. Both ground for drip filter. I had wanted to get some of their “Thailand pahee” single-origin grind but it wasn’t listed on the website; in November I had seen an email detailing it.

13 December

On the way back from the dry cleaners’ I walked to Woolworths and bought some bean salad and flavoured mineral water (no-sugar). Later, went to the bottle shop and bought some zero-alcohol Heineken.

14 December

Went to Woolworths and bought eggs, bread, a lettuce, and flavoured mineral water (no-sugar). An hour or so later the intercom buzzed and I used it to ask the guy outside if I had to come down. He said, “Yes,” so I got dressed (had been napping) and went down in the lift. 

He had buzzed other people as well and gave a parcel to a man who had ridden down in the lift with me and who had exited the building just ahead of me. Then the Australia Post deliveryman used a handheld device to scan the labels on two boxes – the coffee and a book I had ordered – and I signed to acknowledge receipt, then took them upstairs. A man who had collected a box just after me rushed into the lift as I stood there, holding the doors open. He said what he carried was something his son had ordered and when he got out of the lift I bade him farewell.

16 December

Walked to Woolies on the way back from the post office and bought salmon, tomatoes, a pawpaw, strawberries, milk, Persian-style marinated goat’s cheese, tea, flavoured mineral water (no-sugar), and dental floss.

18 December

Went to Woolworths and bought Danish fetta cheese, sliced mortadella, pumpkin couscous, capsicum dip, artichoke hearts, pickles, sultana butter cake, a packet of Balconi “Trancetto” chocolate and hazelnut biscuits, organic Brazilian freeze-dried coffee, and flavoured mineral water (no-sugar). The woman at the register gave me a specially printed coupon entitling me to a $5 discount (which she applied immediately) that could be used any number of times, up to and including Christmas Eve, provided you bought $30 worth of goods each time. In order to get the discount I would have to take the coupon with me the next time I went to the store. 

I also stopped at the bottle shop and bought two four-packs of 0.5% beer. I had had the Sobah brand before and it was very tasty. I bought the “finger lime cerveza” type. Later, on the way back from the tailor’s, I stopped by at Woolies again and bought some more mineral water.

20 December

On the way home from the barber’s I stopped at Woolworths and bought a chicken schnitzel, sliced corned beef, eggs, a sweet potato, and flavoured mineral water (no-sugar). Then at the convenience store near the light rail station I bought bread because I had forgotten to get it earlier.

22 December

Went to Woolworths and bought steak in pepper sauce, bacon, fetta cheese, potato salad, couscous with cauliflower and cranberry, bean salad, milk, a capsicum, mushrooms, and some flavoured mineral water (no-sugar).

23 December

Went to Woolworths on the way home from the tailor’s and the pharmacy. Bought fillet steak, lentil salad, couscous with cauliflower and cranberry, a packet of tomato, pumpkin and fetta salad, a cos lettuce, and some flavoured mineral water (no-sugar).

Later, I phoned Omar about the mansaf with lamb and he confirmed that he would deliver enough for four adults and two children on the 30th. We settled on a time in the late afternoon. He said he would bring the food on a metal plate. Later, I asked him via SMS about rice, and he said that it would be provided, and sent me a photo showing what the food would look like when delivered. The following is the image he sent. He also SMS’d me a bit later saying that a $30 delivery fee would apply, so I put more money into the envelope I had already prepared with the $200 for the mansaf.

In the evening I went to the Woolworths website and ordered Scotch fillet steak, pork loin chops, barramundi fillets, sliced ham, sliced corned beef, Truckle Brothers’ “Roaring Forties” cheese, eggs, taramosalata, carrot cake, a pawpaw, Sicilian olives (pitted), olives stuffed with anchovies, flavoured mineral water (no-sugar), and sticky tape. Delivery due Friday the 27th at no charge.

24 December

Went to the Fish Market and bought crabs, prawns, snapper fillets, swordfish steaks, duck liver pate, and Epoisses cheese (see receipts in photo below). Also bought some crab-crackers (which look like nutcrackers) and crab-forks. On the way home I dropped in at Woolworths and bought flavoured mineral water (no-sugar).

26 December

Walked to Woolworths and bought bread and flavoured mineral water (no-sugar).

27 December

An SMS arrived from Woolies at 8.04am reminding me of the pending delivery, which it said would be between 1pm and 4pm on this day. At 12.40pm an email arrived from the company about the variable weight items in my order. The amount charged to my credit card would be $24.10 less than the amount shown at check-out. 

At 2.09pm an SMS arrived telling me, with an apology, that the delivery would be delayed and at just on 4.30pm the intercom buzzed and I told the deliveryman to come upstairs. I opened the street door for him and he disappeared from view, then I waited by my apartment door. When he came to the lobby on my floor I invited him inside and he started putting the things on the bench. Some of the mineral water I put on the kitchen floor, and he passed me the last two bottles. I signed on his electronic device and said goodbye, then, when he had left the apartment to go back to his truck, I put stuff away in the fridge and packed up the protein in sandwich bags before putting it in the freezer.

29 December

Went to Woolworths and bought milk, chicken couscous salad, “ancient grain” salad, and flavoured mineral water (no-sugar). On the way home I stopped at the bottle shop near the Jordanian’s convenience store and bout two six-packs of zero-alcohol Heineken.

30 December

In the morning I SMS’d Omar about the mansaf and he immediately called me, telling me his wife would be making the delivery and that I should meet her in the street. Then in the afternoon I went with my son to Coles and bought sliced ham, bacon, artichoke hearts, a tub of “Mexican” bean salad, Jatz crackers, cashews, orange juice, and sandwich bags.

At just before 5pm Omar’s wife phoned me, saying she was on the street. I went downstairs and looked in the window of two occupied vehicles but she wasn’t in either of them. Then I called her on my mobile and she said she was at the wrong address and would be outside my building in a minute. A Lexus drove up and she got out after parking. She opened the rear door of the SUV and I asked about the sauce. She said everything was there and uncovered a large plate covered with aluminium foil, a plastic bag containing a plastic container, and another plastic bag containing a foil container with a cardboard lid. The latter contained the veges. The sauce was in the small container (which was actually huge, and the sauce was good the next day too, reheated). 

We went up in the lift and she brought the large plate she had carried, to the door of my unit, where I took it from her. I gave her the envelope containing the money after verifying the amount, and she left.

31 December

I received an email from Woolies at 6.41am asking me for a rating on three products, and I gave it for two: the mouthwash and the toothpaste I had bought. Both ratings were five-star, and I also included a comment for each product. Rating a product in this way is a two-step process and only takes a minute.

In the afternoon on the way back from Darling Harbour shopping centre with my son I stopped at  the bottle shop and bought some Corona for him and some zero-alcohol Heineken for me.

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