What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.

Three Investing Myths To Unlearn Before Investing

I am sure you have heard this axiom: If you don’t know where you are going, you will get there. Many folks investing today are on that path: they are investing without proper knowledge of the stock market, of investment basics, and lacking simple, concise, written goals. Later, these folks will experience great challenges.Among other things, the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing program, a euphemism for pumping money into the economy, is fueling rising stock markets. This could entice even more folks to invest in stocks because they might see opportunities to ‘make money.’ Beware; before investing, at least, ensure you dispel three popular investment myths, and understand the potential investment’s opportunity cost.
Investing in the stock market is gambling
Low priced stocks, especially those at 52-week lows are worth buying
Investment analysts and advisors know how investments will perform
Investing In The Stock Market Is GamblingSimplistically, investing is just another spending form. You buy a book, a car, a house, and you buy stocks, bonds, or other investment instruments. The key is to develop a solid process to follow instinctively before spending: a spending decision process. Your attitude will decide how you behave, and so, you could choose to spend on stocks and bonds – invest – with a gambling motive. That’s why I advise folks never to invest unless they fulfill specific prerequisites, such as being debt free with an established process to replace major assets for cash, and having clear, concise, written investment goals.Then again, even with clear goals, individuals need to know that consistent, solid earnings is the key sustainer of a business’ value, and ultimately, its stock market price.Low Priced Stocks, Especially Those At 52-week Lows, Are Worth BuyingHere is a trap to avoid. A stock is trading at its 52-week low, falling over 50%, and you think it presents a buying opportunity. Maybe; on the other hand, maybe not! Likely, that business’ products and services no longer have the capability to produce previously perceived earnings. Alternatively, investment analysts and others may have promoted this business because of some fad or other irrelevant reason. Yahoo! and Nortel are examples of companies whose stock prices traded at unsustainable levels; after the expected collapse, their stock prices did not recover. Many other examples exist, particularly on the Japanese stock exchange.As I mentioned above, as with all spending, we need to follow a spending decision process before investing. This will allow us to use a fall in stock price as a trigger to identify business’ fundamentals and potential investment opportunities.Investment Analysts And Advisors Know How Investments Will Perform When you listen to these folks, you might forget that they, like you and I, have no clue about the future. Some are in conflicts of interest, blinded, and pushing particular products. Others might be sincere but are relying on the past. And we know, the past might not be a good predictor of the future.Can these folks help? Certainly, but each client must try to understand whom his or her advisor represents, and accept that advisors do not know the future. Accordingly, folks receiving investment advice must be fully aware that they, not their advisors, need to decide when and how to act from advice they get.Before you start investing, dispel the above three myths, learn key investment basics, and learn and make sure you fulfill specific investing preconditions.This final point is obvious but often folks overlook it. Investing in the stock market has an opportunity cost; it reduces, by amounts invested, funds available for other purposes. Ten thousand dollars invested in the market could buy a car, pay a portion of a college semester’s fees, or be donated to charity. Therefore, as part of your spending decision process, ask these three questions before deciding to invest:
What other alternatives exists to use funds you are about to invest?
Given your present and expected situation, is this the best use of funds today?
Will you need to replenish these funds to carry out other specific goals in the next three to five years?
© Copyright 2013, Michel A. Bell

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