New Frugality Salvage GrocersI recently succumbed to an illness that laid me up for a couple of days. Despite my attempts to slightly overdramatise and claim otherwise, it didn’t turn into swine flu, but merely stayed at the annoying ‘common cold’ stage.

Luckily for my paymasters this mostly happened over a weekend, meaning that I was fit and raring to go for the working week. What luck…

What being ill did give me, however, was the chance to be nursed by my very own Florence Nightingale. Obviously too ill to move, I picked up my mobile phone and called my partner to instruct her to get to the local shop and get me supplies, before I faded away.

Off she went to the nearest convenience store, returning within with supplies including chicken soup, baked beans, Lemsip and some Lucozade. So far, so boring.

However, when she opened her bag we discovered that the cans of beans were rusted around the bottom and unusable, and the lid of the can of chicken soup had opened slightly, spilling its contents into the bag.

I’ve heard time and again from smaller independent retailers how it only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole barrel, and this retailer has now seen to it that neither myself or my partner will be visiting for anything more than the morning paper, as we can’t trust the goods we’re going to get.

We could have taken the goods back and maybe the retailer would have apologised and replaced them, but neither of us wanted to brave the cold weather again. It just goes to show how hard the ‘good’ small independent stores have it, coping with the brush that the general public tar them all with when one doesn’t live up to expectation. And it also shows that you really must keep on top of everything, all the time – because losing customers is a lot easier to do than you might think.