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Here's what I found in the supermarket this evening.

Inflation bites Frosties
Inflation bites Frosties.

At the previous pricing, 330g would have cost €2,07 so this is a 12.5% hike in price. In addition to getting rid of the Maxi size packs that were better value (unlike the maxi packs of Quaker Oats!).


There are signs up around the supermarket to notify us that PEPSICO had demanded an augmentation of around 25% on soft drinks. The supermarket responded by ceasing to stock anything produced by PepsiCo - according to the sign, that's Pepsi, 7Up, Miranda, KAS, and Rockstar Energy Drink (etc).
I hope this is all of the U supermarkets, and not just ours (and a few others around). There's no hope of pressure until their failed attempt at greed smacks their bottom line.


A heated food box

I saw this on the sale table for €8. It is one of those things that I don't really have a use case for given I take ready meals to work, but I felt that I'd be kicking myself in three years time and, well, it was only eight euros...

The heated meal box box
The heated meal box box.

Here it is opened up. There's a little compartment inside, and there's also a little flap with a spoon in it.

What you get
What you get.

It can run from 230VAC or 12VDC, with a weird three pin connector, to which you attach the mains cable to one side to use AC, or a car lighter socket cable to the other side to use 12V.

Dual purpose power input
Dual purpose power input.

It comes complete with the necessary cables, a white mains cable and a black 12V one. Scarily enough, the recessed pins of the socket end of the 12V cable are not touchable by holding the cable, but I rather suspect the (barely) recessed pins of the socket end of the 230V cable are. How on earth did this ever pass type approval?

The supplied cables
The supplied cables.

Wait, hang on, so if it is commoning one of the pins of each set of heaters, doesn't this suggest that the unused 12V pin could be floating at mains voltage?

Holy fucking shit
Holy. Fucking. Shit. Are you messing with me now?

Multimeter between the unused earth pin and the unused part of the 12V input.
I think the image caption says all that needs said.

The back of the instruction pamphlet has a EU conformity declaration, quoting:

  • directive 2014/30/UE
  • directive 2014/35/UE
  • EN 55014-1:2006+A1:2009+A2:2011
  • EN 61000-3-2:2014
  • EN 61000-3-3:2013
  • EN 55014-2:2015
  • EN 60335-1:2012/A11:2014
  • EN 60335-2-15:2016
  • EN 62233:2008

Yet, somehow they missed the one that reads "clueless meatsack should not be able to touch anything at mains potential using just their appendages".

I mean, stick a nail in the hole, it's all bets off. But potentially dying if you touch it with a bit of flesh such as, say, a finger? Come on, how the hell did this get type approval?!?
(I feel like Big Clive right now ☺)

So, note to self. Connect the box and then plug it in to the mains. Likewise, unplug it from the mains first.


Oh, yeah. Sorry. It's Rick's blog so...

<Big Clive> One moment, please. </>

The guts

Not particularly exciting to be honest. It's exactly what I expected. Some sort of heating element for 230V (two, actually) and the same for 12V with one side of each being commoned. The instructions say it will draw 40W, so that means two dinky 20W heating elements.
Apparently it'll get up to around 90°C, but it'll take around half an hour to do so, longer if the contents are cold.
I'm guessing they mean "refrigerated" because if the contents weren't cold, you wouldn't bloody well need to heat them, would you?

The four white wires going to nowhere in the middle of the picture? That's the bottom of the front. One pair of wires is attached to a neon, the other pair to a little lamp. It's so you can tell if it is operational.

Well, it's a useful thing to have if I should need it, but... jeez...


Diarrhoea, bitches!

A couple of days ago, the Daily Mail did a story about 10 everyday words people really should know how to spell but don't (note: link to right wing propaganda and obsessive royal family clickbait).

To my shame, I read it as I was interested in what words they thought were the ones people really should know, according to Google searches.

  • Restaurant (I'll allow this, given most people say something like "res-tront")
  • Pneumonia (it's that 'p', isn't it?)
  • Appreciate (what?)
  • Receipt (huh?)
  • Beautiful (seriously?)
  • Niece (kind of wonder why 9,200 people were looking this up - what was the rest of the search? "Can I marry my..."?)
  • Maintenance
  • Bougie (this was a new one to me, it's some sort of slang way of saying "snobby"... it also means candle and/or spark plug in French, just in case you were wondering)
  • Diarrhea
  • Congratulations

ZERO Congratulations to Daily Mail because they're shamelessly recycling American clickbait. If anybody who actually knew how to spell bothered to read the article before slapping it on their site, they would have realised that it is spelt diarrhoea on the sane side of the ocean.

As for bougie, it is African American slang (often intentionally misspelled as "boujee") because, well, I guess they couldn't spell bourgeois. A useful thing to stick into a British publication, right?


More bank trolling

Bank transfers
Bank transfers.


Washing machine insurance

Registering the machine for the warranty is a cleverly disguised upsell for an insurance policy on the machine. As it was €1,99 a month (€2,99 next year, and I think €3,99 the third year increasing by 0,50 a year after that), I decided to opt in to the insurance.
Which means my machine is covered by the legal warranty for failures, an extended warranty for failures, and an insurance for accidental damage and to cover the special gotcha.
The special gotcha is that the manufacturer will offer things like five years on the motor and ten year on parts (which is what mine offered) but outside of the legal warranty period the guy coming to do the repair, and the costs of the repair itself except the covered part are all at your charge. And those charges can be... significant.

As with my little car (about €50/month!) and the house (€30/month) and me (€20/month) and my medical top-up (€15/month), I view insurance as something that you throw money at hoping to god you'll never need it, but kind of glad you had it when you do.
I would love to see my washing machine get old with me, but I'm wary of these new fangled things. Several stories at work of machines that barely made it beyond the two year warranty period (hint: don't buy a Candy!!!).


Dear Anon

I have a feeling that I know who the commentator "Anon" is.
And if I'm right, I ask him to kindly put his beverage down so it doesn't end up spat across the screen.












I cracked up upon seeing that. Took the photo, then made myself seem busy as I wanded away from the curious shelf stacker. I mean, how am I supposed to explain this to her?



Your comments:

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J.G.Harston, 5th July 2023, 22:33
I was going to comment on food prices, but hahahahahha hahahahahhahahahaha hahahhaha wheeezzzzeee hahahah gasp gasp wheeze gasp gasp breeeeethhe.... 
Anon, 6th July 2023, 00:56
"I need TP for my bunghole!" 
I think there may be more than one "Anon" on here. But this particular Anon gets that reference. 
I'm currently resisting the urge to pull my T-shirt over my head and run around with my arms in the air shouting "Are you threatening me?"
Anon, 6th July 2023, 01:08
Anyway, now that I've calmed down from the 90s throwback... your heated food box. My first thoughts on seeing your diagram were that I have an old "boom box" that has a similar socket on it, like a standard figure-8 socket with an extra pin. 
In this case it's used to select the voltage, and there's a sliding cover with a screw-lock mechanism so only two pins are ever exposed, either the 240V or the 120V, plus the neutral. This of course pre-dated harmonisation in 1993, so the UK was 240V and continental Europe was 220V. Nowadays it's all 230V, except it isn't, it's 230V +/- 10%. Which means it's still 240V here in the UK. I know this as I jammed the multimeter into the socket the other day to test the line voltage, 240V RMS. 
(Don't worry, the test probes are rated for 1000 volts. More to the point, the insulation on them is rated for 6kV.) 
In the words of Big Clive... actually I'm not sure, I haven't watched enough of his stuff to memorise quotes. (I'm slightly addicted to Techmoan though.) But in the words of yours truly (a qualified electrician)... "F*** SAKE!" 
Still, it might be useful for population control.
Clive Semmens, 6th July 2023, 06:47
Who is this Big Clive? 
I'm quite little... (possibly burned out my pituitary gland when about 8... see my Shocking Experience recount on my website...)
Clive Semmens, 6th July 2023, 07:20
I wonder whether the hot box Rick's got was originally designed with a sliding screw-lock mechanism, got its approval, then someone at the manufacturer thought "what's this crap for?" and removed it from the design...and nobody thought they needed to get thing reapproved...
Rick, 6th July 2023, 07:38
Clive Semmens, 6th July 2023, 08:44
No relation...
Clive Semmens, 6th July 2023, 08:45
Well - probably 13th cousin 4 times removed or (and) something...
Anon, 6th July 2023, 11:52
I'm still in shock (no pun intended) at the way that "hot box" was designed. Again, "how did this thing get type approval?" 
Under BS7671 at least, the 12V side is considered to be "SELV" (Separated Extra-Low Voltage). For this thing to be sold in the UK the 12V side would have to be fed through a completely separate socket which is isolated from the 230V input. 
Mind you I've seen some shocking (again, no pun intended!) DIY bodge jobs on home electrics. I was, errm, unsurprised, shall we say, when the UK government brought home electrics under the remit of the Building Regulations in a similar way to gas always has been.
Clive Semmens, 6th July 2023, 18:52
I suppose gas was treated more seriously because it's somewhat more likely to affect the neighbours than electricity is...although setting fire to your house might well affect them, of course...
Rick, 6th July 2023, 19:28
Gas does have a tendency to go bang when it is abused. 
Clive Semmens, 6th July 2023, 19:56
Yup. Electrical errors do sometimes cause fires, but giving oneself or one's family nasty shocks is the most usual consequence, and even those aren't fatal all that often. And if you do start a fire, there's a good chance the neighbours will escape even if their house is affected. Whereas BANG doesn't give you much chance of escaping...
David Pilling, 7th July 2023, 02:19
The source of the inflation, almost as difficult as finding the source of Covid. 
It seems that Tesco is engaged in "we won't stock it at that price" with various items. 
A particular example of shrinkflation is Lurpak (Danish) butter where the packets have gone from 250g to 200g, people writing unhappy comments on the Tesco etc web sites where you can submit reviews. 
Step down a level and see if you can taste the difference is what they say - gone from Lurpak to M&S butter - tough life. 
Clive Semmens, 7th July 2023, 06:07
"The source of the inflation, almost as difficult as finding the source of Covid." 
The former, deliberately obfuscated - it's corporate profiteering mostly, brexit quite a bit, war quite a bit); the latter, maybe deliberate obfuscation but if so very cleverly obfuscated and probably not - according to most scientists, indeed as far as I've managed to discern, ALL apart from a few with obvious axes to grind.
J.G.Harston, 7th July 2023, 13:15
Yeah, my Warburton's loaf has gone from 150p to 210p, so I've swapped to a Co-op load at 105p.
Rick, 7th July 2023, 14:41
Bloody hell, that's over a third extra!
Anon, 7th July 2023, 22:06
I'll be honest, I can't taste the difference between Lurpak, Country Life or Anchor butter. Country Life tends to keep a bit longer than Anchor (and is the same price) so I tend to buy that. 
I can, however, taste the difference between one of the three "big name" brands and supermarket own brand. To me it's worth the extra. 
Bearing in mind I don't smoke, I rarely drink (not for any righteous reason, I just don't like the taste of alcohol) so I treat myself by spending a little bit more on branded butter, Cravendale milk (that DEFINITELY tastes better than the regular stuff) etc. Like in Sainsburys, get the 'taste the difference' product rather than the standard one. That's the money I would have spent on fags and booze. 
ObGeek: Did you know that the micro-filtration process used in Cravendale milk (and micro-filtered beer) was actually repurposed from the manufacturing process that was developed to make magneto-resistive (MR) recording and playback heads for Philips' ill-fated Digital Compact Cassette system? DCC may have been a flop but at least we got better tasting (and longer lasting) milk out of it.
Rick, 7th July 2023, 22:13
My butter of choice is President Gastronomic, unsalted (I can always add my own salt). 
I haven't tried or compared it with lots of other brands, so there may be something better... but this one is churned cream and it's lovely on pasta. 
The supermarket own brand crap is like polystyrene in comparison. 
David Pilling, 8th July 2023, 01:33
President butter is available in the UK - from Ocado. Cheaper than Lurpak, it gets good reviews. 
Anchor is surprisingly British butter from the same company as Lurpak and has gone down the 200g packet route too.
Rob, 9th July 2023, 13:37
I just get the Sainsburys cheap buttery spread. £1.10ish. I've tried most of the other supermarkets' spreads at that price point, and they are all dire. This one is OK. 
Milk and crisps are other things that have shot up. 6pt milk used to be £1.55, now it's £2.30. Walkers crisps you could usually find at 99p per six if you shopped about. Now they are nudging double that. So I rarely buy them these days, to the chagrin of the kids. 

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