Tesco sent an email. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, vouchers due to expire at the end of this month would be extended until the end of October. Being unaware of having any vouchers that might expire, I went to the Tesco website. The auto-complete feature on the Google browser logged me in and I discovered that I had £5 in vouchers from May 2018.
Pleased at having £5 I had not expected, I wondered how I might spend it. The website told me that I could use it for my Tesco mobile phone bill, and if I did so, it would be worth not £5, but £10. Logging into the Tesco mobile site, I typed in the voucher code number. Next month, my bill will not be £11, but just £1.
There was an immense sense of satisfaction in finding £10 from nowhere, to receive money unanticipated.
In my days in church ministry in Ireland, an English colleague used to tell me that Irish clergy had no idea how well off they were. I had never given his words much thought until recently.
It was a readily available public piece of information that in my final years of parish work, I would have received an annual income of €37,000 in stipend, €12,395 in locomotory expenses, and €1,650 in an office allowance. It was a total of more than €50,000 p.a., plus a free house. A brief internet search would reveal that a salary of a newly qualified teacher is £24,373.
In real terms, I earn about half of what I did.
It has given me a sensitivity to special offers, to vouchers, to loyalty cards, to money back schemes. Every week, an app on my phone brings me a list of things I can buy at Sainsbury’s which will add points to my Nectar card. On a shop of £50, choosing the suggested foodstuffs for that week, I can add £2 0r £3 worth of points to my Nectar account. Using my Sainsbury’s credit card adds even more points. Of course, it means Nectar and Sainsbury’s know all of my shopping habits, but who cares if anyone knows that you buy bread, cheese and Branston pickle?
The sort of sums I save, £2, £3 even £10, are the sort of sums I would never have noticed in the past. In Dublin, tickets for a rugby match or a music concert could easily have cost €100 or more each. A round of drinks was rarely less than €20. Meals out would have been cheap if they were less than €50 for two people.
Among all of the money I have had, little has brought me as much delight as £10 from Tesco.