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Amazon wins, maybe?

I discovered a bag of Hot Cake Mix, a Japanese pancake mix. Purchased in the summer of 2019, I'm sure you can understand why I completely forgot about it.

I looked at two on-line shops here in France, and they both had the Showa "Hotto Keki Mikusu", 600g, one for €6,80 and one for €5,95. Both would cost around six euros in postage. I also wanted a bag of authentic Japanese rice, not the stuff grown in Europe (I've already explained wet paddy vs dry). I could get a 2kg bag for about twenty euros. But since I don't eat that much at a time...

I decided to amble on over to Amazon. Giving myself a target of "about thirty euros" (what I'd likely have spent at a Japanese epicerie), I went to look at what Amazon had on offer. Discounting everything that isn't marked "Prime" (because it's no good paying a tenner for a box of Cadbury's Heroes if you're going to get screwed for twice that in postage!), I set about looking for pancake mix and rice.

Amazon didn't have Hot Cake Mix. They correctly identified the product as Showa Komugiko Yasan No Hot Cake Mix, and told me that nothing was found, please check my spelling.
So I tried "pancake mix", and that brought up Mississippi Belle's American Style (thick!) pancake mix. €2,99 for 454g. Two in the panier.
Undecided, I looked for Mississippi Belle and was presented with their Mac&Cheese. I guess after a decade and a half of knowing me, Amazon finally figured out something more useful than "you just bought a shaver, we think you might be interested in buying a shaver". At €1,71 a packet, it was only slightly more expensive than when the supermarket stocked them (when they used to do specials on British food, probably never again thanks to Brexit... and I know, Missisippi Belle is American, but we're all "les anglaises", right?). Four in the panier.

Now turning my attention to rice. The availability of Japanese rice was rather pathetic. I would have been seriously underwhelmed, had it not been for the Akafuji Koshihikari from Niigata. The price was good, €7.05 for 1kg (both Japanese epiceries, €16,50 for 2kg!). One more item in the panier. Since I'm drinking lots of hot chocolate, I splurged on a pack of mini marshmallows (Little Becky, American).

Finally, just on a whim, I tried "tea advent calendar", and discovered that the "Touch Organic" one had been released. Mom found this for me in 2016, so I thought I'd get it again and enjoy a tea in her memory each day of advent. Except whatever day it is that the mint tea is available. I hope to <Deity$Name> there's only one of those. I absolutely detest mint. The smell, the taste... ugh. Through my childhood, numerous nice lamb dinners were ruined by people insisting on splattering mint sauce onto the plate. Maybe my inner goth is actually a cat? I don't know, but I can't stand mint. That's why my toothpaste is some peculiar cinnamon concoction.

Anyway, all this added together came to €31,37. Probably cheaper than I'd have spent at a Japanese place, a little more range (Japan may offer a nice Hokkaido chicken stew mix, but I've yet to see Mac&Cheese), free postage, and it's mostly supposed to be here on the 23rd of November (Tuesday), but the tea will take an extra day, for some reason. I'll keep an eye on the parcel tracking to see if it is coming from somewhere unusual (as in, not their big-ass warehouse in Saran).

Gets even better. They've subtracted the €22 refund from the purchase, so the total is €9,37. Essentially, I pay for the tea calendar and get all the rest "free". Okay, I know it doesn't actually work like that, but, hey, I'm not on the look-out for a satellite receiver right now. It was an impulse purchase after the second box failed, but... come on... I streamed Eurovision in order to watch it at a time that suited me and not have to put up with the inane commentary, and I watch anything, it's usually Prime Video or Netflix. I plug in the receiver once a week for Doctor Who, but I'm not sure I'm even going to bother tonight.
So... uh... why did I need a satellite receiver? I could take my dish down (or just remove the cabling) and declare that I don't have a television (which is actually true) and save about €135 on the French TV licence. Mom wanted me to pay it because I was watching satellite TV, and neither of us figured that "my equipment is PAL, there's no terrestrial TV here, and the French stuff on satellite is on a different satellite and encrypted" might be a hard excuse to justify given that the French can sometimes be very literal. Am I watching something broadcast? Yeah, the BBC, from England, on my computer monitor. Well, then it counts as a TV... I didn't feel like trying to argue that.
But as streaming gets more ubiquitous and live TV more "meh" (I wanted a receiver capable of recording because the idea of sitting down and watching something to a broadcaster's schedule seems so old fashioned), I don't really bother with TV at all any more. Given what I see on my news app (Strictly, Bake Off, and endless idiotic celebrities), I can't say I particularly miss it. I can, instead, enjoy the live action version of Cowboy Bebop and marvel at how they came so close to making the anime with real people, yet so managed to miss the mark on the whole ambience that made the show special. Granted, it does actually sort of follow the Bebop story, so it's not as big a travesty as the live action Ghost In The Shell, but it's not....right.

Et voilà, it's done, and, of course, they claim a guaranteed delivery date:

Guaranteed delivery dates
Guaranteed delivery dates.


One small observation - they are heavily pushing their "sign up for regular deliveries and save up to 15%". I could get my Mac&Cheese sent to me monthly. Or weekly. Or whatever.
For each of the things listed in my order, not a one of them was in any way cheaper in the regular ordering option. To claim "you can save", and not offer any saving, seems to be scoring a bit of a home goal there. ☺



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John, 21st November 2021, 14:31
To we older personages, "Mac&Cheese" is rather strange. It was called "Macaroni Cheese" when my mother used to make it, and still is in this household. 
It was never Scottish, nor connected with McDonalds, the cardboard-flavoured eating chain I visited once. 
It's all a bit like "See you later", which is currently used, I believe, as "Until the next time I see you", whereas it used to mean "See you at our next scheduled meeting anticipated for later today!", "later" being more restricted than "at some unspecified time in the future", that being specified by "next time" meaning "on the next occasion". 
For me, macaroni cheese is incomplete without hard boiled eggs in it, and, unless specifically for vegetarians, should have some bacon or ham in it! Any cheese sauce worth eating should have half-mustard/half-flour in its <i>roux</i> anyway. 
And "laters" should be "nexters"! 
Curmudgeonally yours, 
Rick, 21st November 2021, 15:58
Mac&Cheese is probably an Americanism, which I think is completely justified when talking about a product made by a company called "Mississippi Belle"! 
Referencing Scotland and TheLesserBurgerPlace because of "mac" seems a bit, well, eccentric. I mean, we don't think about Nicola Sturgeon when talking about MAC addresses, do we? Or set MacOS to start up by yelling "THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!" (which, admittedly, would be amusing). 
As for the changing definition of "later", it's because language evolves and is modified. Allow me to present you the words "gay", "fit", and "lit". The first doesn't mean today what it did when you were young, and the other two don't mean today what they meant when I was young. 
Hard boiled eggs in macaroni cheese? The egg is supposed to be used to help thicken the cheese sauce, though there's a long debate over whether or not it should be included (some prefer other ways of thickening). I've never heard of hard boiled eggs in it. The closest I ever got to that was on a cruise ship where a starter was deviled eggs stuffed with cold macaroni cheese. It wasn't very popular, so towards the middle of the meal, the waiter said I could help myself to all I wanted. I did, and astonished everybody with how many I ate. The main course was something horrid with fish, cauli, and asparagus, so the eggs/mac/cheese ticked all of my boxes! 
Rick, 21st November 2021, 17:44
Okay... Amazon is being weird. *ONE* pancake mix (I ordered two!) has been sent from the Saran warehouse. Uh? 
Gavin Wraith, 21st November 2021, 19:33
"To we" instead of "To us"? Rick is right, language evolves and is modified, alright. My Dad liked macaroni cheese. I always threw up if I smelled cooked cheese. No connection there, though. I even put grated parmesan on spaghetti bolognaise now.
Rick, 21st November 2021, 20:38
Then I probably shouldn't mention that my dinner tonight was two pieces of battered cod, and a selection of lightly herbed vegetables (potato, carrot, peas, fried onion pieces), all done in the oven (215°C, 22 minutes, perfect). 
I felt like jazzing it up a little, so I grated some cheddar (actual Scottish "Seriously Strong") over it. All of it, even the fish. 
Most meals can be improved by adding cheddar. 
Or to put it another way, most things are better with cheddar, and everything is better with tea. 
(hmm, don't think I can pull off trying to be French - Emmental and coffee just don't do it)
Rick, 22nd November 2021, 14:22
Okay, so Amazon said everything except the calendar would come tomorrow, and the calendar on Wednesday. 
As it turns out, they sent one macaroni cheese from Saran (the usual warehouse stuff comes from), and today they sent everything else from Brebières with a different carrier. 
Given that these places are literally a stone's throw apart (and just south of Lille), I think it's the same warehouse so... I can't imagine this was an entirely cost effective way to fill an order. 
Either way, it looks like everything will indeed arrive tomorrow. 
Rick, 23rd November 2021, 20:05
My parcel with all the rest of the stuff didn't arrive today. 
The transporter, Colis Privé, has given the status as "address is incomplete". 
This is crap. My address is short, but correct, and they have delivered here numerous times before. 
I've said this to Colis Privé on their site, when choosing a new delivery day, which annoyingly offers Thursday as the first available day (why not tomorrow?). 
I have also sent an email to Amazon saying: Bonjour, 
Vous indiqué qu'il y besoin des informations supplémentaires pour livre mon colis. 
C'est faux. Mon adresse est bien "XXX XXXX XXXX XXXX". Et Colis Privé livre ici plusieurs fois avant (comme vous peut voir dans mes commandes passées). 
Je contacte Colis Privé sur leur site web, et dire que mon adresse est correcte, mais malheureusement le prochaine livraison est pour jeudi, pas demain. 
Vous peut prendre note, aussi, que le message pour le transporteurs sur mon compte actuellement dit cet exact même chose. J'ai l'impression que un transporteur dire "votre adresse est incomplet" quand ils pas d'envie de viens au campagne...
Which, for those who don't read French, pretty much says the exact same thing, and finishes with suggesting that the transporter uses this excuse when they don't feel like venturing out into the country. After all, if my parcel is the only one they have in the area, are they going to drive sixty miles round trip (like, doing their job) or are they going to say "this address is wrong" and not bother?
J.G.Harston, 24th November 2021, 00:45
Hey, if Rick want to insist that his pronoun is we then we should be allowed to.
Rick, 25th November 2021, 14:15
Actually, it's John - top comment. 
My pronoun is not "we", one of me in the world is quite enough. 😂

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