Monday, July 11, 2005

The 1.99 Chicken.

I am pleased to announce that the long saga of the 1.99 chicken quest has come to a satisfactory close.

What chicken quest?

When I was in Sydney, I enjoyed doing my shopping near midnight at the nearby Coles just before closing time. The quiet time to browse and shop for supplies unhurried and breezing through the aisles and checkout counters, pausing occasionally to chat (or flirt) with the checkout person. The deli, near closing time, would mark down unsold perishable hot food products. One standard item would be the roast chicken retailing at 5.49 or 8.49 full price depending on whether it was a quarter or half portion.

On such nights, I would sometimes pick up a discounted chicken for dinner or a late night snack. Even managed to pick up half a roast chicken for as little as 2.99. On one of the food runs, I missed a discounted half-chicken offered at 1.99. Either because I was not paying attention, or had already picked out my supplies, or because someone beat me to the last piece. It does not matter now, but that was the start of a personal challenge to see how cheaply I could pick up half a roast chicken for. I could never get that 1.99 price before I had to leave Sydney. And I promised myself that I would have a 1.99 roast chicken - it is just one of those stupid (downright inane) personal quests that I entertain myself with.

Last night I was wandering in Woolworths until just before closing time. My mind was befuddled by the caffeine wearing off, and after a couple hours trying to reformat my resume and send out decent job applications in unfamiliar formats. Wandering along human-scarce supermarket aisles and marvelling at the huge range of food choices is very therapeutic to me for some strange reason. Supermarkets have entire shelves dedicated to nothing but canned soup of all brands and flavours, for example. And I chanced on the deli clerk marking down the last two pieces of chicken to 1.50 (quarter) and 2.00 (half) respectively.

I had half a roast chicken for dinner. The chicken was nothing special, a little dry and the stuffed potatoes with herbs were a little stale. But the taste of victory and the sense of closure was sweeter than any icewine. Okay, to split hairs, I am still off by a cent (2.00 versus 1.99) but I am declaring it a success and moving on with life..


An encouraging sign that I am committed to making this migration to Perth work out: I bought shampoo (to replace my exhausted travel supply) in the largest 400g bottle. Instead of the tiny 150g bottle. Okay, so that is not like buying a house or a new car or getting married.. but give me credit for baby steps! I am working my way up to buying instant coffee in 1kg tins, instead of 200g tins.


The housing market seems to turn over very fast here. I picked out couple of advertisements in Saturday's paper and took down a few numbers from posted flyers for shared accommodations. Called on Sunday and hit answering machines. Called Monday morning and the units were all taken. The cheap inner city units seem to be prime and snapped up very quickly. One of the Kiwis I was talking to at the hostel was complaining that it was hard to find housing. He had been looking for a shared flat in the city for about six weeks before giving up and renting an entire house in the suburbs.


The citizens here take pride in a clean city. The old lady in her 50s ambling along on her walking stick laborously stops, and bends down to pick up trash in her way before taking a detour to drop it in a nearby bin. I have seen office workers looking all spiffy in their power suits picking up empty paper cups left on ledges to drop in a nearby bin, all while simultaneously carrying on a conversation with their partners. Unfortunately I have yet to witness the same level of civic consciousness in the teenage population.


One last thing, I should never try to do a load of laundry early in the morning without first getting drugged up on coffee..


Blogger Mr Pew Pew said...

Glad you're adjusting well there. I'm sure you'll grow to love the food there; it's pretty much the standard Western stuff we get over here, albeit in much larger portions.

July 11, 2005 2:18 PM  
Blogger Wenjie said...

You plan to get a car? When I am in Perth I always wonder how will I get around without a car.

Having a car also makes it easier to go around for job interviews, accomodation hunting etc.

July 11, 2005 5:23 PM  
Blogger Killjoy said...

Yeah Woolies does have spectacular mark downs just before closing.

So I see you met the laundromat. LOL. Love their dryers. Clothes comes out warm and nice..esp during winter.

July 11, 2005 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you opened the envelope yet?
It's important!!!


July 11, 2005 6:50 PM  
Anonymous cy said...

hey.. haa woolsworth reminded me of my school field trip a few years back. and the price of the chicken went so low i couldn't believe it. i was near the counter and it was announced over the speaker, so incidentally i was the first customer of the priced down chicken!
haa.. some memories.
take care =]

July 11, 2005 10:30 PM  
Blogger akikonomu said...

It's like a good adventure, man! Glad to know you are adjusting.

July 12, 2005 11:43 AM  
Blogger C said...

The teenage population, heh. No doubt you will have noticed the teenage schoolkids roaming the streets like agitated, colorful, parrots in Enya's zen garden.

July 12, 2005 6:22 PM  
Blogger Mr Pew Pew said...

and I think, you ain't seen Australia till you hit the beaches. All the hot chicks ( and I mean really hot) over there!

July 13, 2005 1:28 AM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

No car. Cannot afford a car. Food and shelter have first priority on my limited funds. Fortunately I quite enjoy the sport of tracking down discount food.

The teenage population has not given me any grief here. Apart from the guy (driving in the second lane) yelling at me for stepping into the first lane of the street apparently right in front of his moving car. Here in Perth, pedestrians typically wait on the sidewalk until the cars have passed. The lane by lane strategy of crossing the road is not used here.

Today's The West headlines:
* armed robbery in Perth
* illiteracy of WA Year12 kids
* UK crackdown on terror

Singaporeans seeking a safe, secure, crime-free life should stay home. The outside world is a terribly dangerous place indeed.

Well.. at least nobody has tried to grab my ass.

Have not been to the beach yet. I am trying not to be distracted from the jobhunting. As for the hot chicks, I just want one specific hot chick - who is unfortunately about 3896 kilometres away..

July 13, 2005 12:59 PM  

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