Years ago, there were less channels on the television, less radio stations, less Supermarkets, less utility suppliers, just less everything.
Everyone used the same companies, British Telecom, British Gas, Royal Mail, BBC, or ITV. (BBC2 if you were feeling a little high brow or "alternative"). Then Margaret Thatcher sold them off, made them private and opened the doors of commerce.
Now we are spoilt for choice. Unless you want to send a letter then we are stuck with Royal Mail, but who sends letters these days anyway? I've even given up sending out Christmas cards.
My utility supplier is British Gas, I was on a fixed deal with them which ends 31st May. If I left early I was subject to a £60 penalty. They kindly sent a letter detailing my current tariff and what prices were on the new tariff.
Being what I like to think of as a savvy shopper I got myself over the the moneysavingexpert website and their "Cheap Energy Club". I entered the details British Gas wanted to put me on and found I could potentially save £200 a year just by switching to a different supplier. Now, British Gas give me Nectar loyalty points. To earn £200 I'd have to collect 40,000 Nectar points. I'd have to fire up the National Grid for that. I kindly pointed out that in these austere times, saving the money is worth far more than brand loyalty. I have a theory that most gas and electricity supplied to our homes is from the same sources. Unless I have specifically chosen a company to supply my gas purely from the methane of a herd of cows somewhere in the Scottish highlands.
But then I thought, am I as savvy as I thought? I food shop in Tesco, purely for Clubcard points. They are far better value than Nectar and I often use them on days out for the children. I even use a Tesco credit card to boost my points. Maybe I should be looking to get a better price on my food shopping and use what I save for days out? There is something very satisfying about handing over £10 worth of points for a day at London Zoo or similar.
So I think I'm going to be a big fat hypocrite and keep saving my Tesco points and change my energy supplier.