Selling Yourself: Part Three

Next part in the series of six from 2013. Part three of my early days of employment. This didn’t end so well! I think only Jude has seen this.


My time with sausages and pies was over for now, though I would re-visit this area of sales at a later date. Having sneaked a day off to attend an interview, I had a new job offer, and I was off, to sales pastures new.

The confectionery market is well-known to us in the UK. We have a national sweet tooth, and there are plenty of companies out there willing to exploit this. I saw an advertisement for one of those companies, although the sweets were only a small part of a more complex organisation. Jimmy Goldsmith, father of Jemimah Khan, and businessman extraordinaire, owned a company called Cavenham Foods, producing food of many types. As he is long dead, I feel it is in order to use the actual names.

One subsidiary of this, the third largest company in its field at the time, was an offshoot selling cheap…

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Selling Yourself: Part Two

As requested by some readers, here is part 2 of my 6-part series ‘Selling Yourself’, from 2013. I have decided to repost them all, and I think only Jude has seen this one before.


I was a bit fed up with records by now. I wanted to listen to them, collect them, and discuss them, not sell ones I didn’t like, to argumentative heavy metal fans, and old ladies. I researched new markets in which to invest my skills.

Food, and shopping for food, was changing dramatically by then. Large supermarkets, called Fine Fare, Safeway, and Tesco, were beginning to dominate high streets, especially in the suburbs. Even the traditional grocery shops, represented by Lipton’s,  J. Sainsbury, and the ubiquitous Co-Op, were enlarging their stores, and reducing the amount of goods physically served to the customer. Self-Service was the new shopping catchphrase, and working women were no longer the housewives of the past.

Along with the busier lifestyles, came the need for food that was easier to prepare, required less fuss and bother, and could all be bought in one place. It wasn’t quite…

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A Not-So Friendly Reminder

This is for many of my recent new ‘followers’, and those of you who have left comments that need to be approved.

A link to your own blog is not a comment. I will Spam any such comment.

A link to a website selling stuff is not a comment. I will Spam any such comment.

A one word comment such as ‘Nice’, especially on a post about my mother dying, is not a comment.
I will Spam any such comment.

A blog that is simply full of affiliate sales links is not a blog.
I will never follow you.

A blog that claims to be a cookery blog but is only selling through to products or utensils is not a blog. It is a sales website, and I assure you I will not follow it.
And if you comment on my blog, I will Spam that comment.

A Gravatar image of an attractive man or woman with an irrelevant name will not make me follow a blog that is quite obviously a sales website.
So don’t bother to use those when you like posts, or follow my blog.

To everyone else who is obviously genuine, my sincere thanks.

“Can You Visit My Blog?”

No, not this one.

That is an example of one of the many comments I have been getting just this week.

Here are some more.

“Great post. Please check out my blog”.

“Nice work”. (Link attached)

“Please visit my blog and let me know what you think of it”.

“I love this post! I think you will like my blog too”. (Link attached)

“Can you please look at my blog and let me know what you think?”

And many more…

In all cases, Worpress held these comments ‘In moderation’, for me to approve. I checked out all the blog names and links, and sure enough, they were trying to sell stuff. Everything from security cameras, to luxury holidays and apartments.

As I have warned you in the past, I marked all these comments as Spam, and then deleted them.

Keep sending me these spurious rubbish comments, and I will keep marking you down as a spammer.

You have been warned!

Books, Books, and More Books

Ever since I started this blog, I have noticed quite a few things. One of those is that lots of people blog about books. And I mean LOTS!

They review books, they blog about books they are reading, and they blog about books they have read before. They list their Goodreads selections, and how many books they have already read that year. Many mention their TBR (To be read) piles, often wondering if they can ever possibly get to the end of them. I soon realised that where books are concerned, I am a very small fish, in a crowded ocean of literary sea lions.

Well done to them all. I love that people are still reading. It doesn’t matter whether they are using an electronic device, or turning the pages of a huge hardback. It has to be better than watching TV all day, or playing video games.

Another thing I noticed was that many bloggers are also published authors. Some of them are contracted to big publishing houses, some self-published, and many more just starting out. They use their blogs to advertise and sell their books, and usually promote the books of other bloggers too. That’s great. People want to write. They want to see their name on a cover, and have something to show for all that imagination, and hard work. Well done to them too. Keep at it!

Many of my readers have kindly suggested that I should write a book. Perhaps a non-fiction account of my long service as an EMT, or a compilation of some of my most popular short stories. The extended fiction serials that I frequently post are usually long enough to qualify as a novella, so I could go down that route, possibly.

With all this in mind, I did some research.

Amazon currently lists 33,000,000 books, worldwide. And that’s just on one company’s website. I will write that number another way. 33 MILLION.

Many books now boast the words ‘Best Seller’ on their covers. I wonder how many copies have to be sold, before that claim is valid? I found out. To make one of the ‘Best-Seller’ lists in a prestigious journal such as The New York Times, a well-known or established author has to sell more than 5,000 copies. Even then, selling that number of copies doesn’t guarantee you will appear on the list at all. That is decided by an ‘Editorial Panel’. If you are a new author and it is your first book, that number has to reach 10,000 copies, before you will even be considered.

Amazon can rightly claim to dominate the market in book sales in 2019. Their version of what constitutes a best seller is very different. Established authors publishing on Amazon only have to sell in excess of 1,000 copies, before their latest book receives the ‘Best Seller’ accolade on the cover. Unknown authors have to sell more than 5,000 copies to get the same recognition.

So if you are planning to publish your book, don’t be too disappointed if it gets lost in the crowd. And don’t expect it to make the Best Seller lists.
Not yet, anyway.

Meanwhile, keep reading, and keep writing about reading. And if you want to, keep writing that book too. 🙂

Thinking Aloud on Boxing Day

Seasonal Consumerism.

I am still trying to digest the large Christmas Dinner that I enjoyed, and the presents received are still in a pile where they were left after being unwrapped. Ollie got new soft toys, and still can’t decide which one he likes best. The 26th is upon us, which in England is still known as Boxing Day. Although it is a Public Holiday, all of the shops will be open at some stage, as the post-Christmas sales begin. At one time, we only had ‘January Sales’. People would anticipate bargains to be had on the second of January, often queuing overnight outside big department stores. The clever shop owners would have loss-leaders featured in the windows. Televisions for a few pounds, or a half-price mink coat. The first through the doors would grab those bargains, and feel very pleased with themselves. But such once-a-year events are long behind us.

Now we have Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They are followed rapidly by Pre-Christmas sales, and immediately after by the Boxing Day sales. Before the shops close today, they will already be tempting buyers with previews of the New Year sales that start next week. As customers rush to buy things which are supposedly reduced by up to 50%, other less happy shoppers have to see huge reductions on things that they paid full price for on the 24th. Vouchers and cash received as presents yesterday will all be spent by the time it gets dark today. Having to endure a whole day with no shops open yesterday unleashes a buying frenzy once they are all trading again.

Logging onto my emails this morning, my Yahoo account was chock-full of sale offers from companies I have used online. Amazon suggesting things I have already bought, with the friendly comment “Buy them again?”. It never seems to occur to their computerised sales adviser that I am unlikely to buy exactly the same things that I ordered last week. Cookies provide fertile ground for companies I may have glanced at fleetingly, with obscure suggestions that I might like to buy some bags of gravel for the driveway, or rubber sealant for a cracked gutter. And let’s not forget the holiday companies. Holiday adverts traditionally begin on Christmas Day here, with TV advertising full of suggestions for exotic foreign holidays, cruises, villa rentals, or Disney trips. When the UK is in the grip of gloomy weather, and we are shivering in below-freezing temperatures, the sight of a tropical beach, or someone sipping drinks by a sun-soaked swimming pool is guaranteed to make you think about escaping the winter.

So, what I woke up thinking about today was this. How long will it be before most shops are open on Christmas Day? How long before companies just cannot bear to miss just that one day of trading? Most people no longer celebrate the religious aspects of the season, and I am convinced that many bored people would like nothing better than to get to the shopping malls on the 25th, instead of watching re-runs of old kid’s films after a heavy lunch. They could get an even earlier start on the sales, and the shops would save money by having to print ‘Boxing Day’ on their banners. I am also sure that many shop staff would welcome the extra pay from working on a public holiday, and anyone who is still religious would not be forced to work.

It will be a lot like Sunday shopping, which started as an experiment, with the reduced opening hours. At first, it felt strange to go shopping on a Sunday. Now, it is one of the busiest days of the week in most supermarkets. I always used to say that I would never see Christmas Day opening in my lifetime.
Now I’m not so sure.

What do you reckon? Say within five years?

Merry Shopping!

Black Rubbish

Unless you don’t have a computer or a TV, or perhaps you are a hermit living in a cave, then you will know that tomorrow is ‘Black Friday’. I was also told today that it is ‘Grey Thursday’, and we all know that next Monday is going to be referred to as ‘Cyber Monday’.

So what is all of this nonsense about? It is another unwanted and unnecessary import from the USA, driven by online retail companies, and later picked up by shops and stores all over the country. Lauded as the days of the best possible discount shopping all year, we are seeing advertised bargains stated to be as much as 75% less than the price of the same item yesterday.

But please don’t be fooled. Many of these ‘must-have items’ are in fact different models to the ones you may well have been thinking about buying. Last year’s model, outdated and superseded. Old stock from warehouses, goods unsold on shop floors, and unpopular items bought in to take advantage of the buying frenzy. Even most of the genuine items are not actually cheaper. Which Magazine, the consumer’s friend, has revealed that over 60% of advertised ‘Black Friday Deals’ were actually cheaper in the weeks leading up to the promotion.

People who have perfectly serviceable goods, working televisions, and recent model washing machines, will be tempted to buy new ones, based on these apparently fantastic bargains. That will leave tens of thousands of unwanted items destined for scrap or landfill, adding to the mountains of non-recyclable rubbish this country is already sinking under.

Please, please, don’t fall for it. Just keep your cards in their wallets or purses, and resist the urge to click ‘Add to basket’ online. It’s a hype, a con, a marketing ploy, and it just isn’t true. All it will succeed in doing is getting those who can least afford it into more debt, and adding a huge pile of garbage to the existing mountains of the stuff.

Remember, Black Friday = Black Rubbish. Be strong, and refuse to be fooled.