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.

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?

A Guide to Commercial Lighting Fixtures

Although incandescent lamps are more frequently used in residential lighting applications, some commercial lighting fixtures also used this technology. Incandescent lamps pass current through a filament, which causes the filament to give off light. Because they are relatively short lived, incandescents are used mostly as decorative commercial lighting fixtures. Their ability to render warm colors effectively without ballast makes them well suited to this application, and the enormous variety of bulb designs make them highly soft after source of any type of accent lighting or decorum based commercial lighting design.Fluorescent Lighting Fixtures
Fluorescent lamps are used extensively in commercial lighting fixtures for a number of reasons. First and foremost of these reasons is their ability to use less power than other commercial lighting fixtures, making them very cost effective from an energy conservation perspective. Fluorescent bulbs also produce a very bright light that is evenly distributed, making them ideal commercial warehouse lighting fixtures, canopy lights, security lights, in interior retail lights in discount stores where high levels of general lighting help psychologically motivate larger bulk purchases of discount merchandise.Fluorescent bulbs produce light by activating phosphors on the interior of the bulb using ultraviolet energy generated by a mercury arc. Ballast helps start and operate the fluorescent lamps by regulating electron flow through the gaseous arc. Trends in fluorescent technology have made them more compact, increasing lumens per watt efficiency as high as 100 lumens per watt, and reducing the amount of toxic mercury within the bulbs interior. Fluorescent commercial lighting fixtures are best deployed underneath building eaves (as in the case of canopy lights), near loading docks, in wall packs on the sides of buildings, or as large grocery store or warehouse lights. Placing them too far out into open spaces tends to diffuse their light output and diminish their intensity.High Intensity Discharge (HID) Commercial Lighting Fixtures
HID stands for High Intensity Discharge. It refers to a technology where light is produced by a gaseous arc discharge using a variety of elements. Typical elements include mercury vapor, metal halide, and high pressure sodium. The arc tube within an HID lamp will contain one or more of such elements, and when current passes between the electrodes at either end of the tube, the current creates an arc that generates visible light.HID lamps feature the highest efficiency in lumens per watt output and also feature a greater level of lighting control. They also last longer than other commercial lighting fixtures, making them a wise investment for a company on a Spartan budget that cannot afford to continually replace equipment. High intensity discharge sources include mercury vapor, metal halide, and high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps. Light is produced in HID and low pressure sodium (LPS) sources through a gaseous arc discharge using a variety of elements. Each HID lamp consists of an arc tube which contains certain elements or mixtures of elements which, when an arc is created between the electrodes at each end, gasify and generate visible radiation.Light Sources and Lamp CharacteristicsMercury Vapor (MV) Lighting Fixtures
Mercury vapor lights were the first HID commercial lighting fixtures developed. They were designed originally to meet a rising demand for a very compact, high output, and energy efficient source of light. They are used extensively in a number of landscape lighting applications, being commonly deployed as tree lights in high-end commercial outdoor lighting systems. In other applications they have proven somewhat less effective duo to their inferior color rendering abilities, although this has improved to a certain extent over the years by phosphor coated interior bulb walls.The life of mercury vapor lamps is good, averaging 24,000 hours for larger wattage lamps. However, because the output diminishes so greatly over time, economical operational life is often much shorter. Efficacy ranges from 30 to 60 lumens per watt, with the higher wattages being more efficacious than the lower wattages.As with other HID lamps, the starting of a mercury vapor lamp is not immediate. Starting time is short, though, taking 4-7 minutes to achieve maximum output depending upon the ambient temperature.High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Light Fixtures
High Pressure Sodium (HPS) commercial lighting fixtures gained huge popularity in the 1970s to meet the needs of a powerful, yet super efficient, source of HID lighting. Lumens per watt output in an HPS lamp can be as high as 140 lumens per watt, approximately 7 times the luminance as incandescent lamps and twice that of MV or Fluorescent. They also last for approximately 24,000 hours—the longest lamp light on the market.The problem with HPS commercial lighting fixtures has always been the quality of light they create. HPS lamps give off a yellowish or orange-tinted color and are not acceptable light sources for situations where illuminating a brand, architectural keynote, or any type of ornate exterior landscaping requires a high level of color rendering. For the most part, they are used in applications such as commercial parking garage lighting, warehouse lighting, and certain outdoor applications such as security flood lighting.Metal Halide (MH Lighting Fixtures
Metal Halide (MH) commercial lighting fixtures are fast becoming the preferred source of HID lighting in most commercial environments. This is because they produce a very bright white light that nearly equivalent to daylight in its color rendering ability. The variety of applications is significant as a result, ranging from decorative street lighting, commercial parking lot lighting, car lot lighting, outdoor landscape lighting, architectural lighting, security lighting, and general site lighting. Traditionally, their biggest drawback has been their short lamp life, only 7,500 hours on the average.Newer designs in Metal Halide commercial lighting fixtures include pulse start technology and ceramic metal halide design. These improvements have increased lumens per watt efficiency, control of the light itself through superior dimmability, better stability of color rendering, longer lamp life, and shorter start time.Unfortunately, recent legislation has called for the phase out of certain standard forms of MH commercial lighting fixtures due to their use of incendiary elements that fall under the classification of greenhouse gas sources. This in turn paves the way for the most sophisticated lighting ever developed on our world, and quite possibly, the singular source of lighting used both commercially and residentially in the very near future: LED commercial lighting fixtures.LED Commercial Lighting Fixtures
As technology improves, the ability to create truly white LED light continues to evolve. LED commercial lighting fixtures are featuring higher lumens per watt efficiencies than their initial prototypes initially offered. This has opened the door for a number of architectural lighting and site lighting applications that were previously the exclusive domain of HID commercial lighting fixtures.We are also seeing an upsurge in the use of led commercial lighting fixtures in street and roadway lighting, where a number of municipalities in the United States and Europe have reported some very promising findings in regards to both power cost reduction and the overall quality of street lighting itself.Look for quarterly leaps and bounds in the engineering gains made by LED commercial lighting fixture manufacturers.