Thrifty? Give me a break
IN MY younger days I scoured charity shops and jumble sales for old-fashioned clothes. I was a fan of felt hats, pinstriped suits, tweed jackets, wide ties, stuff that simply wasn’t available from Burton in 1987. When I left home and moved to a big city, I realised this wasn’t peculiar.
Everyone of a certain mindset got their clothes that way. We called it “getting your clothes from a charity shop or a jumble sale”. Only now, in today’s self-conscious, self-announcing age has this become “vintage” or “retro”, a deliberate thing done earnestly and broadcast egotistically on every new tentacle of social media.
I couldn’t help feeling that SUN, SEA AND SUPERSAVERS (C4) tapped into a similar sham. My mum went to the supermarkets late in the day to snap up the stuff that was being reduced. My sister had a plastic folder full of coupons and offers and still does.
When my son was small, no rare trip to a café or restaurant went by without a secreted Tupperware for the discrete saving of uneaten food.
None of this behaviour amounted to “being a supersaver”, this was just what we called family life. It still is for us and many others, it’s just that a few of us seem to be making an absurd amount of public fuss about it.
This fuss is mainly confined to people who’ve developed an internet following by dishing out shopping tips but now, sadly, it’s also on the TV.
In last night’s show, pairs of inveterate shouty savers were sent on holiday to see how cheaply they could do it. This provided insider revelations such as, “Take your own towels to the hotel and ask for a discount,” which didn’t work at all.
It also included, “Self-cater instead of eat out, fill up on free breakfast to skip lunch,” and other stuff presented as some kind of Fifth Gospel but actually what every cash-stretched family had been doing since the dawn of time. Meanwhile at home, one supersaver Holly Smith, who cited the events of 9/11 as the reason for starting to fill her garage with loo roll, showed us all the cheap food she had bought.
Whether any of this amounted to a saving was a matter for debate. If you live on bottled sauces and frozen pizzas, you’ll probably need all your spare pennies to have your front door widened.
Astonishingly, nobody lost their life when 130 vehicles collided on the Sheppey Crossing in Kent on September 5, 2013. CRASH: ANATOMY OF AN ACCIDENT (ITV) pieced together this unusual road disaster through eye-witness accounts, interviews and news footage.
The affected stretch of road, a bridge linking the Isle of Sheppey to the rest of Kent, is surrounded by sea and marshland, and is a magnet for heavy fog. Weather conditions created an exceptional pea-souper that day, leading to an event that verged on the eerie.
The skipper of a boat reported hearing, in the mist above him, the crashing of one vehicle into the next and the next and the next, a sequence that went on for up to 10 minutes.
When the emergency personnel arrived, they described injured people lumbering towards them out of the fog like extras from a zombie film. Some were unharmed, others had their lives changed that day.
The scariest thing by far is that the bridge still has no lighting or CCTV. “Unusual” doesn’t mean “can’t happen again” or it shouldn’t where safety is concerned.