Thursday, August 23, 2012

When “frugal” doesn’t quite cut it.

I’ll admit it.  There are times when I get called out for being pretty darned cheap.  I’m reasonably content with that moniker,  but once in a while it doesn’t quite work out. Let’s see if I can dredge up a couple things.  

A few years ago,  some cronies and I had this grand scheme to jump in the RV and head to Mosport.   Of course,  these days that hallowed racetrack is called the ‘Canadian Tire Motorsport Park’,  but don’t let me get distracted here.   Better to have a sponsor and survive,   than go by the wayside I guess.   I’ve looked at the website,  and everything seems to be the way I remember it,  so I won’t gripe about a name change. 

Too much.

Anyway,  one of my esteemed race going buddies thought it would be better to have “quantity over quality”  when it came to the beer strategy.  Naturally,  there was no way in hell the four of us were going to drink all that (cheap) beer, as none of us are in our twenties anymore.  I don’t remember the exact numbers,  but it was a considerable amount of beer.  Trust me.  Like,  how much beer can you store in the basement of a class A motorhome?  Ya,  that much.

Even back in my youth,  I was referred to as,  “One Beer Bob” on many an occasion,  and one or two in an evening is usually quite enough for me.   So it’s easy for me to just “say no” to the cheap beer program.  Of course here in Austria,  cheap beer can still be good beer, so it gets confusing.

Then this morning,  I got a little tingle of excitement  when I saw that Müller,  not too far from our front door,  have “Kanadischer Ahornsirop, Grad A”  on sale for €3,55 for 250 ml.  

Well now,  that’s worth checking out, yes?   Never hurts to save a little on that kind of thing.



That’s maple syrup kids,  in case you hadn’t figured that out.  

The thing about maple syrup is,  you have to actually reduce it to the point where it’s thick enough to be considered,  oh I don’t know, syrup?    No good taking that watery stuff right from the tree.   That’ll never do.   Needs to stay ON the pancakes.    Unless you’re going to just drink it from the glass.

“Grade A Maple Syrup”,  my ass.   Why bother?  I guess they figure the Austrians won’t know the difference,  but they’re kind of giving maple syrup a bad rap.   Maybe I need to call the Embassy?


I took a little detour on the way back from the Maple Syrup diversion to check out the recently completed renovations at the C & A. 

Nicely done.  Honestly.


I didn’t really have any intention of setting foot in the place,  but catching sight of these two put the idea in my head.

This is one of the ways they advertise.  


But just wait.   It’s not just a couple chicks on the sidewalk with a banner.  Nope,  they go out into the cross walk when the light is red. 


Because….all those people waiting at the light are going to now turn left and find their way into the store?  I never took any marketing courses,  so I can’t comment, but I have my doubts.

Is this a Vienna thing?  I’ve only ever seen it here,  but I suppose I’ve lived a sheltered life.


But hey,  it’s the place to go if you’re going to be frugal.

The thing is though,  most (well, all?) of it is really rather cheap.  Everything has that Wal*Mart/K-Mart kind of feel to it?  Hoards of shoppers in there,  mostly women with youngster in tow,  doing that “back to school” thing.  Picking through the cr*p.  I guess.  I didn’t hang around.   Too many shoppers.  My skin starts to get clammy,  I begin to palpitate,  and then it’s time to leave.  The only slight consolation is that I’m at least a head taller than most of them.  *phew*

And fine,  I know,  pays to stretch a Euro.  Whatever.

I think it’s been a couple years since I was in there last.  Today’s visit will be the last for a long time I would imagine.  Just not my ‘deal’.


It so happened that we got a little package in the mail yesterday.  I think this is keeping with the ‘frugal’ theme,  so that’s one less segue I’ll need.  Best to store them up.

When sending items from Austria to Canada,  you can pay a few Euros more for the,  “We’ll come and grab it off the plane and take it to their door” program,  or you can just send it by regular airmail.  It turns out that regular airmail is only maybe a day or two longer than the really quick plan.  So,  I go with the cheap plan (which is still pretty expensive)  and the card or whatever gets there in about a week.  Easy peasy.  And relatively frugal.  Well,  kind of.



My guess is, there’s a bit more of a difference when sending things this way? 

The word is,  that the package that was sent for Travelling Companion’s birthday back in July found it’s way here by the “regular way”.  Whatever that means.  Is that by boat?  Ox cart?   The post mark was July 7th,  which would have been in plenty of time for a July 14th birthday.   It arrived yesterday.   Had to be by boat.   I think our shipment of household goods took just about the same amount of time.


It’s always fun to get something in the mail,  so I’m certainly not looking that gift horse in the mouth,  especially since there also was a very unusual device in the package for Yours Truly. 



No, not the card.   That thing on the left.   Had to put it together.  Seems it’s a fly swatter.   Now I have three.

Click on that picture,  you know you want to.


Is there a rumour going around that I have some sort of fly swatter “thing”?  It’s not true.  Honestly!

Betcha didn’t know fly swatters could stand up?

Well,  neither did I.

There was some mention made of “black flies” in the card.  We don’t have them in Vienna.  But I’ll keep the fly swatter.  I think it’s cool.   With the exception of watching it stand there so nicely,  I haven’t had a chance to try it out just yet.   Better not say this but, we don’t really have enough bugs.  (that’s really asking for it)  I’m not about to take it down to Mariahilfer Straße in hopes of finding something to swat either.



Keep it between the ditches.   Thanks for lookin’.




  1. Have you tried the maple syrup at (in the 7th)? It is imported from america but perhaps it is a good price because it is in larger containers.

    1. Actually the stuff from Billa is OK. One of our guests last year actually brought us some of the good stuff from Quebec. One of the very few reasons I'm in favour of them NOT separating.

  2. You have to be careful of the "maple syrup" here in Europe. We found one bottle at an Albert store that was a decent (but not great) price that had the Canadian maple leaf symbol on it, and it said something to the effect that the bottle contained real "Canadian Maple Syrup". But when you read the ingrediants it's only 55% maple syrup, and the rest is sugar and corn syrup. Shouldn't be allowed! But yeah, most Europeans don't have a clue about real Canadian Maple Syrup.

    1. It's sad really. And I'm sure it's one of the reasons why the French got all snippy about folks calling just any sparkling wine "Champagne". Somehow there needs to be closer scrutiny when it comes to what is called "Canadian".
      Just had to pick that stuff up, and I knew it was well, fake.

  3. Even it was "fake" Maple Syrup still probably better than no syrup. Enjoy!

  4. Okay - I want to know how that fly swatter works. Is there some special reason it has two swat thingies? It's really cool. I'm not a "real" maple syrup fan. I use Mrs. Butterworth's sugar free the few times I have french toast.

  5. Bob and Doug McKenzie have been contacted about your fraudulent maple syrup complaint...expect to be contacted about the litigation that ensues.
    Don't even get me started on the thoughts they had on the beer topic...apparently this is a "G" rated blog and their thoughts ran a little "blue".

  6. Vermont (USA) has great Maple syrup and lots of rules about what you can call real maple syrup. All I know is that the large volume that we consumed while we were there last summer was really good:)

  7. So to entertain yourself you can put out some maple syrup to attract flys so you can squash them with your fly swatter while drinking cheap beer?

    Ah, the good life! ;c)

  8. Having tapped trees, carried sap and cooked down gallons of maple syrup, I can appreciate the REAL thing! What I can't understand is how that weird fly swatter actually works? I can visualize a fly lighting between the two "swats" and you then have to quickly smash it? Or... maybe with 2 swatters you get a 2nd chance? Hmmmmm?????


Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.