SJB Gilmour Writes

…and rants and ruminates…

Month: March, 2017

The Big Facebook Cleanup

As I write this, I have 4353 friends on Facebook.  I reckon only a small percentage of those are people I actually know,  or correspond with, with any regularity.  So, I’m making a list of people to stay friends with.  Everyone I message or chat with, everyone who posts something I like, or likes something I post, plus a few actual friends and family, will go onto this list.  Then, come March 24 2018, everyone else will be unfriended.

I’m not doing this to be an asshole.  I’m not doing this to follow the hipster trend of dumping FB.  I’m doing this for money, boys and girls.  It’s that simple.

In the past few months of selling plants, planters and garden beds, I haven’t made more than I have by writing, but I have made it faster.  So, I’m going to keep my friends list below the 5k limit between now and March 2018.  I’m also going to only accept friend requests from people I know, or Melbournians who may wish to buy stuff from me.  Then, come March 24, 2018, I’m taking a razor to my friends list.

So, if you want to stay in touch, like this, or any other post, between now and this time next year.  If this has rubbed you the wrong way, unfriend me.  I won’t mind.  You’ll be saving me some time.

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The Classic Beef Burger From Burger Bliss And Why I’m In No Rush To Return

You know the feeling.  That craving you get that can’t be satisfied with any substitute?  I had to have a burger.  I needed it.  So, over to Burger Bliss I went.  They’re just accross the street from my work, which is a shame.  I don’t like giving my neighbours bad reviews, but this is the second time I’ve been there, and the second time I’ve left disappointed.

I ordered the Classic Beef Combo Meal.  It comes with a burger, fries, and a drink – either water, a can (no diet), or iced tea.

 

I asked for iced tea, but was told there was none yet.  HUH?  It was 12:30.  If ever there was time to have it ready, you’d think it would have been then.  So, I got a Fanta.  The wait for the meal was pleasant enough.  I sat down with a highlighter and a manuscript and got some proofing done.  Then the food came out, and evidently this was the cue to rupture my eardrums with Europop.

Normally, I’m in the “If it’s too loud, you’re too old!” camp, but jeez, that music noise was awful.  When I asked them to turn it down, I got a grunt and they turned if off completely.  Apparrently there’s no middle ground with these guys.   That’s not the only thing about which they’re inflexible.  Most of the classice flavours of milkshake just don’t exist there.  Want a chocolate shake?  The closest you’ll get is either Nutella or Home Made Salted Caramel.  What about Strawberry?  Well, there is Strawberries and Cream, but it just aint the same thing.

As for the food itself?  The fries were fine, and that was about the only good thing.  The burger bun was cold.  The patty was too small and off centre, and there was way too much slaw.  That meant the first two bites got me nothing but slop and slaw between two cold yet odly greasy slices of bun.  When I did get to the meat, it wasn’t the medium rare they promised to deliver.  It was rare.  Too rare.  I’m talking cool in the middle, falling apart rare.

Sorry Burger Bliss.  I’m afraid you’re not winning me over.  If you read this, here are a few pointers which may help you improve business, and I should point out that while I was there – the peak of lunchtime – there were only two other customers in the joint.  You can’t be making money with your current formula.

  • Cook your burgers more thoroughly, and try to get the patties the right size.
  • Go easy on the slaw.
  • Give customers what they want.  Sure it’s nice to offer some different flavours of shakes, but how about offering some classic favourites as well?  Nobody likes being forced to eat or drink their 2nd choice.
  • Smile, and don’t grunt.

I’ll give you guys 1 Star, and that’s just because the fries were nice.  Everything else needs work, and I suggest you do it quickly, or you’re probably not going to turn a profit any time soon.

I think from now on, when I need a burger, and really I only get this absolute craving about once every other month, I’ll probably trek over to Carnegie to go to Grill’d.  The music is loud there too, but not so loud I can’t hear myself think.  They smile, and while they don’t do shakes at all, their drink selection is a helluva lot better than what’s on offer at Burger Bliss.

 

 

Writing Mode

Sometimes, I feel like I’m a number of Sams all rolled into one.  One’s just a simple husband and dad who works in retail.  One’s a writer.  Another’s a hobby gardener, trying to bring in a few extra dollars by selling herbs and planter boxes.  The trouble is, I can only switch between these modes one at a time.  I can, on rare occasions, run Family Sam with Writer Sam, or Gardener Sam, but not for long.

Writer Sam is the most anti-social of all three.  He needs large chunks of unbroken time, and discipline.  Annoyingly, since he takes medication to help stabilise his moods, the discipline is very important, especially since he’s always been a pantser*.  He can’t just sit down at a keyboard while he’s on an up-swing and write for hours, or sometimes even days at a time.  He needs bum-glue.

And, there’s always the financial side.  Gardener Sam is making more money, more regularly, than Writer Sam.

So, Gardener Sam is gazumping Writer Sam a lot these days.  But, Writer Sam has got a message to all his fans:  Don’t Panic!!!  There is more copming; it’s just going to be coming more slowly than before.  In fact, I’m writing a bit today, which is nice, so stay tuned!

*A pantser writer writes by the seat of his or her pants, while a plotter is more disciplined, and maps their story out much more clearly before and during the writing process.

 

 

 

My New Half Price Herbs Group!

There’s a saying in retail: “Raising prices opens an umbrella for your competitors.”

When I first started selling my herbs, I set the price at $0.50 for small pots, $0.75 for large pots, and $0.25 for Tomatoes Of Mystery (all self-seeded, none of which I could identify as this variety or that, so they really were a lucky dip!).  I sold out pretty quickly.  So, I raised myt price to $0.75, and sold out almost as fast.

Now, at the urging of Superwife, and encouragement from some customers, I’ve raised it again to $1.00.  That’s double my original price, and it made me feel edgy.  So, I created a way for savvy customers and my precious repeat customers, to get them at my original price of $0.50 for small pots of herbs, and $0.75 for large pots.  All they have to do is join my Bandannasam’s Half Price Herbs Facebook group, and they’re eligibale for the reduced price.

Right now I have small pots of Common Mint, Vientamese Mint, and Basil – all listed elsewhere ar $1.00, but for group members, just $0.50. Also, I have large pots of Common Mint, normally $1.50, but just $0.75 to group members.

Take that, Bunnings!

Also, I just got some pics from a local childcare centre, to which I sold my first batch of raised planter boxes.  Look pretty good, don’t they?!?

If you’d like some, I knock them together for $50 a box.  They’re made out of repurposed wood from forklift pallets.

I also sell vertical wall planters like this one:

Small: ≤ 80cm² $15
Medium: ≤ 100cm² $20
Large: ≥ 120cm² $25

These too are made from forkilft pallets, and come lined with plastic so your plants won’t dry out.  Me, a gardener.  Who’d have thunk it???

 

 

 

What I’ve Learned From Pintrest

I’ve been active on Pintrest for a few weeks now, and so far I’ve learned a few things:

  • There’s a chart for everything.  From diets, to gardening layouts, to exercise, to what you should before, during and after sex, to what to wear with what.
  • People will believe almost anything if it’s on the internet.  One pin even espoused the crushing of watermelon seeds, boiling them, then drinking the water as a way of dieting, while another told me to eat nothing but one hard-boiled egg a day for a month and “be amazed” and my weight loss.  Oh man, what a load of crap.
  • People love to pin and re-pin delicious-looking recipes in the hope others will think they’re masterchefs.  My mac ‘n cheese never looks anything like the touched-up little masterpieces on Pintrest, but the kids wolf it down like there’s no tomorrow.

One day, there’ll be a real-life version of PIntrest that will launch spectactularly, run for a short while until the users realise how mundane their lives are, then it will fall in a heap as those users swing back to perving vicariously at things they could, but will never, do.

Sam