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.

Africa and Global Warming

Certain activities of man produce gases known as Green House gases. These activities are those that involve the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, wood, and petroleum products at oilrigs, vehicle combustion engines and factories. Part of the heat energy that comes to us from the sun is usually reflected back. Green House gases in the atmosphere trap the reflected heat resulting in increased global temperatures. This is what environmentalists refer to as global warming.The Role Of Green Plants Carbon dioxide is a major component of Green House gases. Green plants use carbon dioxide to manufacture their food during the process of photosynthesis. In return they produce a benevolent gas, oxygen. Clearing forests for wood or to construct highways thus reduces the world’s natural ability to minimize global warming by regulating the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.Significance of Awareness CampaignsFormer American Vice President, Al Gore eventually won a Nobel Price for Peace, following his efforts to bring about progress in the fight against global warming. One of his numerous activities is the organization of concerts with the aim of raising awareness about global warming and its consequences to our planet. In the efforts of environmentalists to combat global warming, raising the awareness of people around the world on the issue is indeed the wise step since the fight against global warming is something that must be fought by the world as a community if it has to succeed. In a situation were people don’t know about the problem it would be impossible for them to know what role to play.The Role of Africa in Atmospheric PollutionIndustrialized nations have been blamed for their role in the generation of Green House gases that are responsible for global warming. Developing nations like those in Africa also have a share of the blame. Oil producing nations like Nigeria and Angola are among countries in Africa that contribute to atmospheric pollution at oilrigs through gas flaring. Uncontrolled lumbering is another cause of a setback to efforts against global warming and is common in Africa. In Africa were a lot of people live a rural life, the main source of cooking fuel is firewood obtained by cutting down forest resources.There is also the problem of corruption that frustrates forestations programmes. Since the environmental laws in African countries are generally weak, organizations whose activities result in environmental damages usually do little to minimize such damages. Corruption among public officials is another factor that complicates the issue.Level of Awareness Working to reverse the problem of global warming should be everybody’s business. The level of awareness about global warming and its disastrous outcome in Africa is unfortunately low. Programmes aimed at raising awareness about global warming are rare. Generally, awareness campaigns are carried out in English language. They take the form of workshops were the press are invited and educated. They are then expected to relay the information to the rest of the nation. Most people see the issue of global warming as an issue for the educated but issue of global warming is a complex issue that even some among the educated do not seem to grasp. Further more everything here usually ends up at the theoretical stage.Africa’s Contribution Against Global WarmingBeside Wangari Mathai who won the Nobel Prize for Peace as a result of her contribution to the struggle against global warming, the concern has not gone beyond the level of intellectual exercise by lecturers of Universities and other tertiary institutions. Most people here also think that it is the responsibility of western nations to find a solution to global warming.The Way ForwardThere is the need for African nations to make tangible contributions to global warming. The first and most important aspect of our contribution is an aggressive awareness campaign about global warming. A campaign is not just about throwing money at the programme but ensuring that the money percolates down to its target. Also important is a pragmatic reforestation programme to replace the trees cut down for timber or used as firewood. The use of alternative material for roofing and furniture making can also reduce the pressure on forest resources. We can also work to ensure that automobiles plying our roads release the minimum amount of gases that are deleterious to the atmosphere. Constant and reliable eclectic power can minimize the amount of firewood and coal used as energy source in our homes and factories.

The Best Books on Cryptocurrency

The Sovereign Individual ~ by James Dale Davidson and William Rees Morg

The Sovereign Individual is one of those books that forever changes how you see the world. It was published in 1997 but the degree to which it anticipates the impact of blockchain technology will give you chills. We’re entering the fourth stage of human society, shifting from the industrial to an information age. You need to read this book to understand the scope and scale of how things are going to change.

As it becomes easier to live comfortably and earn an income anywhere, we already know that those who truly thrive in the new information age will be workers who are not tethered to a single job or career and are location independent. The pull to choose where to live based on price savings is already more appealing, but this goes beyond digital nomadism and freelance gigs; the foundations of democracy, government and money are shifting.

The authors predicted Black Tuesday and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and here they foresee that the rising power of individuals will coincide with decentralized technology nibbling away at the power of governments. The death toll for the nation states, they predicted with extraordinary prescience, will be private, digital cash. When that happens, the dynamic of governments as stationary bandits robbing hard-working citizens with taxation will change. If you’ve become someone who can solve problems for people anywhere in the world, then you’re about to enter the new cognitive elite. Don’t miss this one.

Choice Quotation: “When technology is mobile, and transactions occur in cyberspace, as they increasingly will do, governments will no longer be able to charge more for their services than they are worth to the people who pay for them.”

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind ~ by Yuval Noah Harari

Whenever I want to impress on someone how good this book is, I ask: “Do you want to know the fundamental difference between humans and monkeys? A monkey can jump up and down on a rock and wave a stick around and screech to his friends that he’s seen a threat coming their way. ‘Danger! Danger! Lion!’ A monkey can also lie. It can jump up and down on the rock and wave a stick around and screech about a lion when there is, in fact, no lion. He’s just fooling around. But what a monkey cannot do is jump up and down and wave a stick around and screech, ‘Danger! Danger! Dragon!’”

Why is this? Because dragons aren’t real. As Harari explains, it is human imagination, our ability to believe in and talk about things we have never seen or touched that has elevated the species to cooperate in large numbers with strangers. There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws, no religions and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings. It is us that makes them so.

All of which is a rather magnificent preamble to where we are today. After the Cognitive Revolution and the Agricultural Revolution, Harari guides you into The Scientific Revolution, which got underway only 500 years ago and which may start something completely different for humankind. Money, however, will remain. Read this book to understand that money is the greatest story ever told and that trust is the raw material from which all types of money are minted.

Choice Quotation: “Sapiens, in contrast, live in triple-layered reality. In addition to trees, rivers, fears and desires, the Sapiens world also contains stories about money, gods, nations and corporations.”

The Internet of Money ~ by Andreas M. Antonopoulos

If the two books mentioned above help us to understand the historical context in which Bitcoin first appeared, then this book expands on the ‘why’ with infectious enthusiasm. Andreas Antonopolous is perhaps the most respected voice in the crypto space. He’s been traveling the world as a Bitcoin evangelist since 2010 and this book is a summary of talks he gave on the circuit between 2013 and 2016, all tightened up for publication.

His first book, Mastering Bitcoin, is a technical deep-dive into the technology, aimed more specifically at developers, engineers, and software and systems architects. But this book uses some choice metaphors to explain why you can’t ban Bitcoin or turn it off, how the scaling debate doesn’t really matter and why Bitcoin needs the help of designers to lock in mass adoption.

“When you first ride your brand new automobile in a city,” he writes, “you are riding on roads used by horses with infrastructures designed and used for horses. There are no light signals. There are no road rules. There are no paved roads. And what happened? The cars got stuck because they didn’t have balance and four feet.” But fast forward one hundred years and the cars that were once ridiculed are absolutely the norm. If you want to swim around in the philosophical, social and historical implications of Bitcoin, this is your starting point.