No more new clothes! by Angela Caldin

I don’t usually make new year’s resolutions, but on 1 January 2021, I made one. It was this: not to buy any new clothes for a year. I subsequently discovered that lots of other people have made the same resolution, have written about the experience in various publications and have joined Facebook support groups to exchange ideas and encourage each other to continue. What’s the benefit? I’m still not sure of what the logic is behind this resolution or in what way it will benefit anybody at all. I’m no longer in… Read More

The rich get richer by Susan Grimsdell

Warning:  I’m in a particularly radical mood today.  This is because of a news item saying that rents in Wellington New Zealand’s capital have risen to above $600 a week on average (or mean, to use a more appropriate word).  This is so far above the affordability level of students, many of whom are working 20 hours a week as well as trying to pass a few exams, that they’re thinking of transferring to universities outside Wellington so that they can actually afford a place to live. The rent increase is way… Read More

Balancing acts by Trevor Plumbly

They don’t use balance scales anymore. It’s a shame really; we could learn a lot from the basic principle of equal weight. Unlike pre-packaging, the old scales and weights used to be part and parcel of everyday shopping, representing trust and fairness. Personal costing was an important part of the process, almost ceremonial: for the retailer the accuracy of his scales was the pivot between profit and loss, for the customer they were the dividing line between need and costs. The act of weighing provided a mutual bridge; old fashioned though it… Read More

Victim of Super Insects by Angela Caldin

I’ve been the victim of a complex marketing ploy and I may take some time to recover. Back in early September, as I was paying for my shopping in Countdown, the cashier asked me if I was collecting Super Insect cards. Not wanting to miss out on anything, I said yes, and she handed me three packs. Thinking that they might be educational, I gave them to one of my granddaughters. She was fairly enthusiastic and persuaded her mother to buy the $6 album designed to house all the cards. Complexity It… Read More

Seeing clearly by Angela Caldin

My husband has had his cataracts removed and a whole new world of light and detail has opened up before him to his delight and wonder. It had all got pretty bad over the last year or so. He had given up driving, especially at night, because he couldn’t judge distances. Things appeared blurry with milky overtones. In order to read any writing on the TV, he had to perch right in front of it sitting on the coffee table. Successful surgery He was nervous about the surgery which was to be… Read More