Are businesses under pressure to offer same-day deliveries?

Move over next-day delivery, consumers want their goods today!

Businesses are working hard to provide exceptional delivery times by using the best courier services, but are they keeping up with consumers’ lofty expectations? Nowadays, most consumers expect the next-day delivery option with their online purchase for only a slightly higher price than they would pay for standard delivery. However, 15% of retailers now offer same-day delivery, according to statistics provided by Accenture, with many more brands expected to follow suit.

Big players in the American retail market, such as Macy’s and Wal-Mart, have already launched their own same-day delivery option, while Amazon trialled its one-hour delivery offering for Prime customers at the end of last year.

Same-day delivery isn’t exclusive to the US. Here at Parcel2go.com, you’ll find options for same-day delivery for customers across the UK. This could provide a lifeline for sellers who need to send goods around the country urgently.

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Who’s turning up the heat?

Are consumers really demanding faster delivery services or could it simply be a way for bigger brands to distinguish themselves against the rest?

Although some retailers, such as ASOS, are offering standard delivery free of charge, it seems that consumers don’t mind paying for convenience. When consumers were asked which delivery options they would be willing to purchase (even when standard delivery was free) the number one answer was still same-day delivery, a study by PricewaterhouseCooper revealed. However, UK shoppers still listed the free delivery option as being a crucial part of the decision-making process, according to Ystats’s 2014 report.

While there is pressure from consumers, it seems that many retailers are using parcel delivery as a key bargaining chip in order to get ahead of the game. It all comes down to flexibility. If customers feel restricted by your delivery times and rates, they’ll go somewhere else where they can have a greater amount of choice.

Connected by mobile

Smartphone technology may be fuelling same-day deliveries.

On-demand smartphone taxi service Uber is the latest company to experiment with same-day deliveries by creating two services, UberRush, which delivers food in Barcelona and the US, and UberEats, which allows customers to track parcels in real time. Uber has also recently been liaising with premium brands such as Tiffany’s and Louis Vuitton to ensure same-day delivery for luxury goods, reassuring customers that their expensive purchases will be delivered to them as quickly as possible.

Uber’s real-time tracking options could be a huge selling point for the business. Could tracking numbers become obsolete now that customers have the opportunity to actually see where their parcel is heading to?

In Brazil, an app called Loggi – featured in the Wall Street Journal – pings nearby delivery drivers whenever there is an order available to pick up. The technology allows the app to assess the driver’s space to ensure that they have enough room to complete the delivery before it alerts them of the job. This service allows the delivery to be more efficient for both the customer and the driver, as it eliminates waiting times at the parcel depot. Loggi also only takes 22% of shipping fees from the courier, compared to 55% taken by traditional dispatchers.

It will be intriguing to see where we stand on same-day deliveries this time next year. Will we be even more expectant of online retailers? It’s safe to assume we will be.

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Wedding sellers continue to cash in on Etsy market

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Earlier this month, Etsy debuted its IPO at $31 per share. The popular site – designed for a community of crafters to sell handmade trinkets – surprised the market, with investors willing to pay almost double the original share price on the first day of trading.

Whilst people have jumped at the chance to make a profit from the website, there is already a flurry of creative sellers reaping the benefits from Etsy. Most notable of all, the huge selection of wedding vendors.

A £10 billion industry

From cake toppers to hand-written calligraphy thank you notes, Etsy is a one-stop shop for imaginative additions to your big day. Despite the 2012 ‘Wedding Gate’ scandal – when users were enraged by changes made to the items displayed on the home page – Etsy wedding vendors have continued to thrive, with many money-saving couples looking for bespoke items on a budget.

A space for even the most niche creations, Etsy has been a catalyst for many home businesses. Starting in a bedroom or kitchen space, many sellers have expanded to cater to a worldwide audience thanks to the site.

Etsy has been such a fantastic ground for young businesses to flourish largely due to the small fees it imposes on sellers. Listing a product costs a mere 20 cents for 4 months. Once sold, Etsy takes 3.5 per cent of each sale.

Whilst there’s no guaranteed market for a seller, the wedding industry is huge and couples are always looking for new ways to make their big day original. In fact, statistics published by hitched.co.uk showed that the industry is worth a staggering £10 billion, and the average wedding – stretching from the engagement to the honeymoon – costs around £36,000 in total. With couples spending an average of £885 on stationery alone, according to the statistics, you can see why so many people are exploring new ways to save a bit of cash and do things a bit differently.

Etsy caters to the needs of those people, offering completely original items that aren’t mass produced like the ones you’d find on the mainstream market. It’s also given online traders a great opportunity to claim their own small piece of the £10 billion wedding pie.

The importance of reliable delivery services

Such special trinkets and adornments need swift delivery and TLC to ensure they arrive in one piece. Etsy sellers have a big task on their hands when it comes to ensuring good customer service. They need a courier service that will handle their handmade items with care, transport them on time for the big day, whilst still offering a competitive price that the vendor can then pass on to the customer.

Etsy shoppers are often looking for something that’s one of a kind. That special piece that you can’t just buy in a shop. The sentimental value alone is often worth more than the hours put into each item and if it fails to make it to the customer in one piece, you’ve got a disaster on your hands.

Etsy may boast low fees and commission, but it takes no responsibility for insuring parcels. We may think the wedding industry is a lucrative gold mine, but the pitfalls that come with trading online present us with plenty of challenges to overcome, so make sure you do your homework and select a courier service that is reliable and quick.

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Are Delivery Drones the Future?

More and more people are shopping online nowadays. Rather than heading out into the hustle and bustle of the high street, all it takes is a few clicks and you can have your desired item at your door within a couple of days, or within 24 hours, if you’re willing to pay a little extra. But to some, next-day delivery is only the beginning.

It all seems very futuristic, like a scene out of the latest sci-fi movie, but it has been well-publicised over the past few years that some delivery companies have actually been researching the possibilities of using unmanned drones to deliver packages to their customers. As bizarre as it sounds, a project such as this would completely revolutionise the way that couriers operate, but how long until the idea takes off? (Pardon the pun!)

A brief history of drones

One of the first online retailers to explore the use of drones as delivery vehicles was Amazon. Their latest project, Amazon Prime Air, would see items packaged into orange boxes and transported directly to the destination. According to the project’s website, the aim is to have the parcel packaged, sent and in the customer’s hands within a mere 30 minutes. With consumers becoming increasingly demanding, it’s no surprise that companies are assessing new-fangled ways to improve the speed of parcel deliveries.

According to The Guardian, Amazon plans to utilise an area of sky they have dubbed “virgin airspace” which will sit above 200 feet, where the majority of buildings reach their peak, and below 500 feet, which marks the beginning of general aviation. It is in this little pocket of airspace high above us that Amazon hopes to have highly technical and autonomous drones, each weighing less than 55 lbs, flying at a maximum of 50 miles per hour to deliver packages. It’s mind-boggling stuff.

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All (test) systems go

The news provider also reported that in July 2014, Amazon applied for a 333 Exemption with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This permit would allow the retailer to conduct outdoor experiments with their drones as parcel couriers but eight months after the letter was sent, the FAA had failed to respond. By the time they did so in March 2015, awarding Amazon an “experimental airworthiness certificate” that permitted the testing of a specific drone model, Amazon had developed a new drone, which meant the permit had become obsolete.

In the true spirit of scientific experimentation, Amazon haven’t let any barriers hold them back and have moved their test site out of the United States to a mere 2,000 feet away into the Canadian border. The Canadian government have given Amazon their full blessing to conduct experimental flights in the recently-acquired plot of land, which is completely open but lined with oak and fir trees to keep it safe from prying eyes.

What does the future hold?

So, in all the excitement created by visions of self-flying drones, what does the future hold for parcel delivery? Well, engineers working on the Prime Air project say that they are confident that delivery drones will be in operation within the next few years, with other companies such as DHL already conducting tests for their own ‘parcelcopter’ delivering emergency medication. Feeling a bit disappointed? That’s not surprising given the buzz of excitement and anticipation given off when Amazon first confirmed their plans in December 2013, but these things cannot be rushed. And, as expected, the tests have run into a few problems that must be overcome before the drones can be used safely.

Aside from the FAA’s delay in granting permission for testing, incidentally they have recently given the go-ahead for testing in the United States, there are also a number of safety issues that must be tested and overcome before you find a delivery drone on your doorstep.

The drones need to be able to act like horses, rather than cars. For example, a drone faced with a brick wall needs the ability to stop and avoid it (like a horse) rather than crashing straight into it (like a car). Many people have also voiced security concerns, both about the drones themselves and the packages they are carrying; the last thing you want is for your parcel to end up in someone else’s backyard, or a nearby river!

Plus, there are a number of legal obstacles that must be overcome before your delivery is made by flying drone, not limited to laws regarding the occupation of airspace and rules about always having the drone within sight of the operator.

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Fantasy or reality?

There is no doubt that we are still a few years away from having our parcels delivered by air within 30 minutes of clicking a button, but the prospect is nevertheless exciting. As the online retailing world expands rapidly, so does the need to establish more ambitious plans for fulfilling the customer’s needs.

Many people still claim that it will simply never happen. That there are too many problems that need to be overcome and too many dangers simply waiting to sabotage deliveries (drone pirates, anyone?). But many people never thought mobile phones could exist either, and when cars first appeared on our roads they weren’t trusted at all. We say, the technology is here, all we have to do is wait.

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Is there a thriving online business gathering dust in your loft?

Popular TV show ‘Cash in the Attic’ first aired in 2002, prompting many of us to feverishly trawl through the junk that had been stowed away in our lofts in the hope that we’d uncover a priceless gem.

Does anybody remember the episode of ‘Only Fools and Horses’ where Del Boy unearthed an old pocket watch that eventually sold for a cool £6.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction? While it’s unlikely that you’ll be lucky enough to lay your hands on a classic antique that will allow you to immediately retire to the Caribbean, more people are latching on to the fact that there is money to be made from their old, unwanted items.

As the old adage goes; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Is there cash in your attic?n your attic?

The internet and the growing availability of fast courier services have made it easier than ever for people to make money quickly.
It can’t have escaped your notice that consumers are lapping up “retro items” at the moment. Items that we took for granted in previous decades are now all the rage, and anything that triggers a feeling of nostalgia is suddenly highly valuable, especially if said goods have been kept in a good condition.
Anything from SEGA Megadrives to original Subbuteo figures can turn an attractive profit on eBay. This post, although US-centric, underlines the point that something as innocuous as a Star Wars playpack can eventually sell for a four-figure sum. Granted, you might not be fortunate enough to stumble upon something as valuable as this, and you might not have an abundance of dusty riches in your loft, but once you realise how simple it is to become an online seller, it’s easy to build up momentum and turn what started off as a lucrative hobby into a fully-fledged digital business.
While online selling is accessible to anyone with an internet connection, there is an art to making a success of it. Here are seven tips to help you get your digital retail empire up and running.
1) Smell What Sells
Do you watch ‘The Apprentice’? Every year, Lord Alan Sugar sets his group of over-confident misfits the ‘Smell What Sells’ task.
In a nutshell, the teams are given a market pitch and a wad of cash to buy items that they think will turn a tidy profit. This process requires a bit of trial and error. As you progress, you’ll have an idea of what sells and what doesn’t, and this is a vital process for online sellers too.
Once you know which items are popular, it’s sensible to use your profits to invest in more of these goods. By all means test the water with other items, but don’t stray too far from your key stock.
2) Research your prices
It’s easy for novices to undercut themselves when they first start out. If you’ve got a great product that people want to buy, make sure you’re charging the right amount for it.
Do some research and assess the pricing structures of your main competitors.
3) Find a niche
As mentioned above, you will have competitors. The key to running a successful online business is to figure out how you can differentiate yourself.
If you’re selling goods that are readily available, this can be tricky. However, have you considered upcycling? If you’re a creative type, you can source cheap old furniture that has plenty of character and then restore it. Upcycling is growing in popularity and if you can do something quirky and different with your goods, you’ll soon begin to stand out from the crowd.
4) Cash flow is king
In the early days, you’ll probably sell a few items here and there without really documenting anything on paper. As your business grows, it’s vital that you have a long-term strategy.
Remember, your business is only as strong as its cash flow. If you have no money in the bank, you can’t invest in products. According to Fin Pacific Treasury Systems – a cash flow management specialist – 68% of businesses that it studied performed no form of cash flow analysis. It also stated that companies that take stock of their cash flow situation on a monthly basis have an 80% chance of survival, whereas those that do this yearly only have a 36% survival rate.
5) Keep your costs under control
Following on from the previous point, you must endeavour to keep your costs down to a minimum.
Parcel delivery costs are a good place to start making economies. Whether you need couriers to transport goods domestically or you require international parcel delivery services, you can save money by comparing the cheapest delivery services online.
Why pay over the odds when you could be pumping this money back into your business?
6) Weigh up your ecommerce options
There’s a lot to be said for using eBay and Amazon to sell your goods, but will you eventually outgrow these platforms?
Using such reliable and secure ecommerce channels is a massive bonus, but if you continue to grow, maybe you’ll benefit from registering your own domain and setting up your own website? While this will inevitably create more stress than using the aforementioned eBay and Amazon, it will give you an opportunity to build your own brand and nurture an online following.
7) Social media is your biggest ally and your most dangerous foe
To have any chance of running a successful online business, you need to use social media to a) promote your services and b) interact with potential customers.
Social platforms such as Facebook, twitter and Instagram have made it far easier for online sellers to direct people towards their goods. There’s an art to this, of course, and you shouldn’t constantly spam people with overly-promotional messages. Try to trigger debate and jump into conversations with people who are likely to buy your wares and then gently and politely guide them towards your items.
Conversely, social media can be a complete nightmare. Bad reviews spread like wildfire and it can be nigh on impossible to repair reputational damage. To prevent this, make sure you maintain the highest levels of customer service – ensuring that your delivery service is up to scratch is a good place to start – and do your best to respond to social media criticism or questions as quickly as you can. Consumers are increasingly peeved when they don’t receive a timely reply to their messages.

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Parcel2Go wins Most Innovative Company award at Northern Tech Awards

After all of the hard work that Parcel2Go have done over the past year to make its service the best that it can be, Parcel2Go is proud to announce that it has won the Most Innovative Company Award at the Northern Tech Awards this year.

The awards were hosted by David Rowan, editor of WIRED magazine and Hugh Campbell, managing partner and co-founder of GB Bullhound – the company that owns the awards.

The event was attended by 200 people including CEOs, business leaders, journalists, investors and entrepreneurs and took place in Leeds.

Rob Mead, Parcel2Go marketing manager said: “We are delighted to have won this innovation award in a very strong category. There are some phenomenal tech companies in the UK and the Northern Tech Awards stands testament to this. We fully intend to keep on innovating and our mission remains to create the best possible experience for anyone with a parcel to send, both now and in the future.”

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So what did we do to win?
- We helped make ‘dropshops’ easily available for people to drop off/collect parcels from, to avoid missing deliveries when customers aren’t home.
- We made it easy to upload tools such as integration into eBay and Amazon to ensure that multiple orders can be booked as easily and quickly as possible.
- We remained at the forefront of the industry in terms of website usability with a highly responsive website and mobile optimised booking process that caters to all of our customers.
- But most importantly, we continued to focus on our commitment to providing the best possible customer service by making our live help function available 24/7 over the peak Christmas period in 2014.

We take great care in everything that we do, and that’s why we’re so proud to be recognised as the one of the most innovative companies in the North. This award is only going to inspire and encourage us as a company to continue providing our customers with new, easy and convenient ways to send and receive parcels.

We can’t wait to get started on some exciting things for 2015!

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3 Funny Letter Pranks For April Fool’s Day

From Burger King’s hilarious Left-Handed Whopper to astronomer Patrick Moore’s gravitational alignment hoax, there have been some brilliant pranks celebrating April Fool’s Day. Yet while these jokes have been fortunate enough to have a huge budget and a wide range of resources to help create these famous jests, what pranks can you come up with that won’t break the bank?

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Fortunately for you, our creative couriers have dreamt up three funny and friendly letter pranks to pull for April 1st. All you’ll need are the usual writing implements, a bag of humour – and a willing victim…!

1. Hogwarts acceptance letters. Do you have any friends waiting patiently to hear back from a job interview or a university application? Do they also happen to be avid Harry Potter fans? Then they’ll love this prank – fake acceptance letters to Hogwarts! Turn their dream into a somewhat hilarious nightmare, by sending out faux correspondence from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Use your best fountain pens and own the art of fancy font with formal-looking letters, and prepare for your friends to praise you for your cunning prank (after all, who wouldn’t want to get accepted into Hogwarts!).

2. Gmail Paper 2.0. Remember that time when Google pranked the world with its most advanced technology to date? Introducing the innovative Gmail Paper – where Google offered to print every single one of your emails for you, pile them into a box then ship them straight to your door. Back in 2007, everyone fell hook, line and sinker for this imaginative idea – however, an imagination was all it was. But you have the opportunity to bring this dream to life, by choosing an unsuspecting person and printing off your entire correspondence and sending it to them in time for April Fool’s Day. Just ensure the emails aren’t too embarrassing, as the last thing you’d want is for your prank to fall in the wrong hands!

3. Ship your friends confetti. Remember the super brilliant and super sparkly concept of ‘Ship Your Enemies Glitter’? Well why not offer a toned-down version of this service in the form of sending your friends confetti? While it’s certainly a lot less messy than glitter, the surprise of receiving confetti will leave your friends stumped – unsure whether to celebrate or commiserate with this unusual delivery.

What’s the best April Fool’s prank you’ve ever fallen for? Or would you say you’re the champion of April Fool’s jokes – where you’re renowned for your inventive and ingenious jokes? Tell us your top pranks in the comments box below – happy April Fool’s Day everyone!

Image credit: djvstock, iStock, Thinkstock

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4 Of The Best Resignation Letters Ever

Saying goodbye to a workplace is never easy – after spending several years building up professional connections and learning many a valuable skill, it’s time to work in pastures new. But with goodbyes being hard to say, why not simplify this painful process by making a painfully funny resignation letter?

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Thanks to the rise of social media, many disgruntled employees are now coming up with creative ways of bidding farewell to their former employers – from spelling out their resignation in a cake to borrowing inspiration from a 90s rapper and performing a goodbye dance. However, it’s best to keep it simple – and learn from these short but sweet examples of brilliant resignation letters:

1. Walking the plank. Why be stuck in a dead end job when you could be a…pirate? “After an appropriate period of deliberation, I have come to the decision to tender my resignation effective immediately…As such, I have decided to become a professional pirate, it has always been a dream of mine to live the life of a swashbuckling corsair…Once I have a keen blade at my hip and the Jolly Roger is flapping high above me, I believe I will find my true calling.” Let’s hope he doesn’t end up professionally marooned!

2. Subtlety is key. “Hey boss, Learn to be on time or at least communicate when you are going to be late. +1hr with no phone call is unacceptable. As you can see, the doors are locked. I went home. Fire me if you must, but realise I walked due to YOUR negligence.” They say that actions speak louder than words, but this resignation letter proves words can be just as effective.

3. Out of the ‘game’. This gaming fan turned their imagination into a reality, after filling in the following statement of reason in their resignation letter: “I have been stationed to the broken realm known as outland to battle the Burning Legion. I must defend the light in the name of Uther.” Tough work being a hero, eh?

4. Food for thought. Perhaps the most famous resignation letter in online history, this note went viral for its epic – but enlightening – read: “My experience at Whole Foods was like an increasingly sped up fall down a really long hill. That got rockier with every metre. And eventually, just really spiky…With fire, acid and Nickelback music.” He then addresses several colleagues and highlights his concerns with their work ethic (while also opposing their core values) – even telling one individual “We get it, we get it. You go to the gym. Nobody is impressed. In fact we all just laugh at your inferiority complex.” But he leaves his letter on a high, advising the reader with this wise quote: “Just enjoy life. It’s pretty short, you know?”

What’s the best resignation letter you’ve ever read? Or perhaps you have your own story to tell – post your experiences in the comments box below today!

Image credit: Riccardo_Mojana, iStock, Thinkstock

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4 Of The Best Fan Mail Responses From Celebrities

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Celebrities receiving mail from their adoring fans is a well-known phenomenon – however, hearing fans receive mail from their favourite celebrities is a concept that often goes unheard of. Given their busy schedules (and their huge deliveries of fan mail, obviously), unfortunately many fans go without hearing a response to their starstruck correspondence – but once in a while, will receive a surprise in the post.

From the fictional character thanking a fan for their support to the letter from one of America’s most famous TV personalities, here are four of the best ever fan mail replies from celebrities:

1. Conan O’Brien. One fan asked talk show host Conan O’Brien if he would accompany her to her prom – but sadly, O’Brien politely declined the offer. “Dear Nikki – Thanks for your very flattering offer. It’s great to know I have such a devoted fan out there, and I’m sure you would make a great prom date (I didn’t go to mine – it’s a very sad story). Unfortunately, I got married recently and my wife doesn’t allow me to go to proms anymore with cute 16 year old girls. Still, it was very cool of you to ask me. Thanks and have a great evening. Your friend, Conan.”

2. Joe Biden. A gun that shoots chocolate? Quite possibly the ‘sweetest’ fan letter! “Dear Myles, I am sorry it took me so very long to respond to your letter. I really like your idea. If we had guns that shot chocolate, not only would our country be safer, it would be happier. People love chocolate. You are a good boy, Biden.”

3. Rupert Grint. This Harry Potter fan was left spellbound after Ron Weasley – sorry, Rupert Grint – sent her a very apologetic letter: “Hi Katherine, Thanks so much for your wicked letter, sorry it’s taken me so long to reply!!!!! I had a great time on the Prisoner of Azkaban, it’s going to be pretty scary, (though it doesn’t take much to scare me!!!!). That will be in cinemas in June, the same time as I take my final GCSE exams (groan). Sorry again for taking ages to reply, I’ve enclosed a signed photo, I hope you like it and I hope you enjoy film three. Rupert.”

4. Space Ghost. Imagine if your favourite cartoon character could send you post? Well this fan’s dream came true when superhero Space Ghost wrote back to them: “Dear (blank), I want you to know how much your loyalty and support have meant to me. When I think about the success of my movies, Saturday Night Fever and Grease, I realize that so much of it is due to all of you. There have been many ways that you’ve let me know that you’re there and that you care. I’m glad I finally have this chance to really say ‘Thanks’ to you. Love, Space Ghost.”

Have you ever sent a letter to your favourite celebrity – and received a letter in response? Tell us about your brush with fame in the comments box below!

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Strangest Substitute Items Offered On Home Delivery

Last year, figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed that three in four Brits now shop online – with an impressive 74 per cent of adults having purchased goods or services online. Thanks to its ease and convenience, with so many people adopting the online retail approach, what’s not to love about home delivery? When you don’t quite get the original order you requested…and end up with a pretty poor substitute in its place instead.

While some of us will have been fortunate enough to avoid this awkward instance, others haven’t been as lucky – placing what they thought was a relatively simple order and receiving an item that was NOTHING like they requested. Spare a thought for one person’s cat – after its owner ordered cat food only to be given the next best thing…dog food?

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Here we list some of the strangest – and questionable – substitutes:

1. Ordered Cadbury Creme Eggs, received hen eggs. This is a pretty simple mistake to make – after all, we’d choose delicious chocolatey goodness over standard hen eggs any day.
2. Ordered green toilet roll, received white toilet roll. We weren’t even aware that green toilet roll existed – who knew there was a rainbow of toilet rolls to choose from?!
3. Ordered Jiff lemon juice, received a single banana. Both fruits, both yellow. Close enough.
4. Ordered Cumberland sausages, received sausage meat. While it’s the same taste, sausage meat doesn’t quite do as much justice in the stylistic sense – sausage meat and mash, anyone?
5. Ordered bread, received a packet of Brazil nuts. We get that both items begin with the same first two letters…but unfortunately that’s all we got.
6. Ordered a tin of fruit cocktail, received dried mixed fruit. Good intentions were definitely meant here – but perhaps this was from the same company who substituted Jiff lemon juice for a single banana…
7. Ordered strong white bread flour, received plain flour. There’s just no pleasing some people, eh.
8. Ordered 12 tins of Whiskas cat food, received 12 tins of Pedigree Chum dog food. If a dog can be man’s best friend, surely dog food can be man’s best substitute?
9. Ordered mozzarella, received spicy grated cheese. Variety is the spice of life, right? Excuse the awful pun.

Apparently when ordering online, if your chosen item isn’t available then the computer determines the substitute – so the next time you order online, be prepared to expect the unexpected! What surprise substitutes did you receive? Tell all in the comments box below!

Image credit: Antonis Liokouras, iStock, Thinkstock

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Celebrate National Words Matter Week

They say actions speak louder than words, but for the first week of March, people all over the world can put their words into action – by celebrating Words Matter Week. Highlighting the significance of words, the week looks at improving spelling and grammar by stamping out any poor practices – both in the literal and verbal sense.

This year’s quote for Words Matter Week 2015 comes from author and actor, Earl Wilson:

“If you wouldn’t write it and sign it, don’t say it.”

A yearly event, Words Matter Week can be celebrated online (www.wordsmatterweek.com) as well as offline – in schools, bookshops and libraries. So how can you get involved? Luckily for you we’ve got a whole host of ideas for you to show your support:

1. Blogging. Are you a prolific blogger? Does the idea of a misplaced apostrophe get you in a writing rage? Channel that negative energy into a positive outcome by creating a daily blog post on the topic of words – from writing about your favourite authors to asking people which word could needs to be banished from the English language, get involved by getting other like-minded writers involved. P.S. Don’t forget to link back to the official Words Matter Week website!

2. Library and book shop displays. Set up a fun display featuring word-related titles – include grammar guides, dictionaries as well as etiquette literature. Additionally, you could also hold a workshop on words – why not make up your own portmanteau or personalise a paraprosdokian?

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3. Writers groups. Get aspiring authors and literary fans to show their support for this week – young or old, complete beginners to writing veterans, anyone with a passion for prose can take part. You could even hold an open mic night to share your creative content.

4. Word games. Turn Words Matter Week into a week-long celebration by holding word parties – where families and friends can enjoy games such as Scrabble and Boggle.

5. Post your penpal. Got a friend you’ve lost contact with? This is the perfect time to get back into touch. Pen them a letter, or better still, pass on the present of perfect punctuation by gifting them a book about words.

6. Volunteer at a school or nursing home. Help young children with their reading or volunteer to write letters for nursing home residents – or alternatively, encourage others to talk or write about their favourite word-related memories.

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How many of you have already kicked off Words Matter Week? If so, what activities have you planned? Keep us updated throughout the week – we’d love to hear your stories!

Image credits: Raylipscombe and Purestock, iStock, Thinkstock

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