Zahid Raja

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Applying for a job with one company and starting with another.

Bestway

So last month, I successfully applied for a part time job at the Co-operative pharmacy to supplement my income whilst I study full time for my masters at Swansea University. As far as part time jobs go, it’s pretty excellent. Whilst in the role, the Co-operative put you through training for free that leads to formal qualifications after which your pay goes up.

But the really exciting piece of news that I learnt during my interview is that the Bestway Group acquired Co-operative’s 770 chain of pharmacies throughout the UK.

Who are Bestway?

Bestway was founded over 40 years ago by Sir Anwar Pervez. The group also have substantial interests in banking. It is currently the second largest cement manufacturer in Pakistan and the second largest cash-and-carry network in the UK. Their Chief Executive has recently announced that the group wants to invest, and grow the number of pharmacies focusing on prescriptions.

What happens to current / future employees?

Whilst contracts between Bestway and Co-op were exchanged on 6th October, employees don’t change over until the 2nd November. My actual start date is Friday 24th October which means I will probably get a Co-operative contract and switch over to Bestway on a later date.

On the face of it, the negotiated rewards look great; they include:

● Personal holiday entitlement up to 31 days
● Competitive Pension Scheme
● Tax and NIC advantageous salary sacrifice schemes e.g. pension and child care vouchers
● Co-operative employee member benefits until 31st January 2015Co-operative Employee Member benefit until 31 January 2015

The settlement with the Co-operative group allows Bestway to trade under the name of Co-operative pharmacy for 12 months during which the chain will go through a rebranding exercise. Exciting times ahead!

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Same Student Shop £10 cheaper at Lidl than Asda

IMG_1607Summary:
Asda failed to deliver my shopping twice, lied to me about my money, and never explained why the deliveries were never made. So today, I took my Asda online list to Lidl and did the exact same shop. We saved nearly £10.

Background:
I have really strong opinions. One of them is making sure you deliver what you advertise and take care of your customers. Asda failed on both fronts. It has been almost a week since we were supposed to get our Asda delivery.  It was supposed to arrive on Saturday the 11th. When we rang up on Sunday to ask why it hadn’t arrived, we were told that it didn’t arrive due to ‘payment problems’ – i.e. there was apparently insufficient money in my account. Strange as the exact amount needed to pay for the Asda shop had gone out of my account. We were also told we couldn’t change the card we used so I just added more money to my account. Twice as much in fact. We then re-scheduled it for Wednesday the 15th (today!) and it failed to arrive again.

This time, I rang up my bank and they confirmed that £61 had left my account on the 11th to go to Asda. I rang up Asda who patronisingly let slip that the person we rang on Sunday had lied to us and that my money was in a sort of ‘limbo’ and would reach Asda’s account when our delivery reached us. Seething with anger, I said no thanks. Without an apology or any sort of empathy, they said that my money would return to my account in 3-7 working days.

Methodology:
As you will be able to see from the Lidl receipt and the Asda Online shopping list, we matched brands where we could or found better. There was one item we could not find which was some food storage for £1.29. We offset this by buying twice as much lean mince and twice as many oven chips.

Results:
Click here to access Lidl receipt.
Click here to access Asda online order.

Exact saving of £7.85.

Wondering what this saving could buy you? Well, for £10.49 we got all of this extra stuff: click here to see.

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Organised Fun: gorge walking / canyoning in South Wales

Sequence 01.Still001I’m a great fan of organised fun; I think it might even be the best kind of fun. So Matt had his 21st birthday coming up towards the end of August. He asked to do something that was a little bit different to he had previously done on birthdays (getting pissed.) He suggested perhaps doing something outdoors given that it was summer.

I got on the old google and searched for outdoor activities near Swansea. After lots of agonising I settled on gorge walking / canyoning and found a lovely company called Adventure Wales who were offering the activity safely at a great price – £55 a head or £45 a head if you have more than 15 people in your party for anyone who is interested! This included all of the kit and an instructor for the day. The only bit we had to do was get there and back to Swansea.

I sold this to our friends by being incredibly vague about what we were actually doing and promised lots of alcohol when we finished. Given that I’d only just learnt how to swim and hadn’t seen the inside of a gym in over three years, the day was certainly a challenge. It later turned out that what Matt actually meant by ‘something outdoors’ was a BBQ or a walk around the Gower. Perhaps next year a spa day instead?

Lauren (one of our fabulous friends) let us borrow her GoPro cam to record it all. Thanks to my spectacular inability to operate the thing (and therefore recording hours of footage of the floor) I only got half of the day and none of the actual exciting stuff like when we jumped off steep ledges into water. Oh wellllll.

I’ve only just gotten around to putting the film together so here is the heavily edited 8 minutes of the first half of our gorge walking / canyoning experience:

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