Waste not, want not

How was your bank holiday? Mine was mostly great. We spent Saturday catching up on some gardening on the one day of sunshine allotted to us, and did our best to cope with Sunday and Monday’s torrential rain. But I admit I am still fuming about one part of my bank holiday.

DJ booked us on a wild food course, particularly focusing on the use of plants in healthcare remedies, and I was hoping it would provide some useful insight for the blog. OK – so the course wasn’t free, but I was hoping it would be money well spent in the long run as it might enable me to save on expensive prescriptions and drugs and potions spent servicing my hypochondriac tendencies.

So even though the weather was truly dismal – so much so that we both packed a change of clothes as we anticipated foraging in the woods – we decided to attend it anyway. As we sloshed our way along the motorway we counted two accidents on the way – one poor guy was facing the wrong way on a slip road, presumably having driven too fast and lost control. And I should have taken this as a bad omen and a sign to turn back. But we had already paid for the course and thankfully we turned up at the venue in one piece, raring to go.

Unfortunately we were sorely disappointed. The tutor turned up late and seemed disorganised, having to ask one of the other 20 students for the course agenda. My heart began to sink when he asked in a vague sort of way what it was that we wanted to know, and then spent a lot of time arranging piles of books on a table and inviting us to read them. Many of them DJ already had at home anyway, and this wasn’t what we’d paid our money for. The tutor had bags full of plants he’d collected but said, “Oh, you don’t want to see these, do you? I’m going to cook them later and don’t want them handled.” Of course we wanted to see them, DJ pointed out! How can you learn to identify plants if you don’t see, touch and smell them!

Eventually DJ coaxed him to let us go outside and find some plants as the rain had stopped. But even then it was all very haphazard. The tutor hadn’t scouted out the area and so didn’t know what plants to look at. And when he did find some he didn’t really explain how you prepared the plants as a remedy – whether in a tea, oil or plaister etc. And what alarmed me was that he didn’t warn everyone NOT to eat ANYTHING growing wild unless you knew exactly what it was. One student picked and ate some buttercups which we were later told were poisonous. Fortunately I’d been on a course before and knew better.

Then there was the wild food lunch. Well, it was very nice – when it actually showed up – an hour and 40 minutes later than on the agenda. I thought I was going to pass out from lack of food. Eventually we made our excuses and left early to claw back what was left of our bank holiday. Both of us were fuming. What a waste of money! And to think some students had travelled from all over the country to be there. I’m seriously considering asking for our money back.

As an aspiring frugalist, nothing is more annoying than wasting my money on something that doesn’t come up to scratch. You’ve heard my rant about the course, so you tell me, what have you wasted your money on in the past? And what do you think are the single biggest wastes of money in our society today? Let me know by leaving a comment. Cheers, Piper xxx

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4 Responses to Waste not, want not

  1. Faye 汪耀瑶 says:

    Hi! I love your space very much. I am from Shanghai,China and very interested in these wonderful tips. I am learning how to lead frugal life and save money.

  2. rik says:

    Pease report this person running the course to trading standards or someone, he\’s obviously a cowboy and sounds dangerous. What if someone eats hemlock, foxglove etc. They won\’t be going home! Be very careful where you go for these type of courses, try here or this is excellent. A good place to start is Bushcraft UK but their sites undergoing maintainance at the moment. 

  3. Christine says:

    You should definitely report this course with a concise and detailed report of how it was advertised, how much it cost and simple list of complaints. If you can contact any others on the course ask them to do the same. You need to report it to the trading standards covering the place where it was held. Definitely ask for your money back, stating in a simple and unoffensive letter the causes of your dissatisfaction. Ask at Citizens Advice if you have any reason for going to the small claims court if all else fails.

  4. Leanne says:

    Wow – I would definitely report him & write & get your money back, I\’d even go so far as to ask for costs back as well, petrol etc, as you travelled all that way for nothing & wasted money while going on a course to help you save money.
    I\’m with Rik & Christine, this guy is a disaster waiting to happen & needs to be reported, someone is going to get seriously ill if all his courses are as dis-organised as the one you atteneded!

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