The History of Leisure and Recreation

When you stop to think about it, humankind has always enjoyed some type of leisure and recreation, so the history of leisure and recreation goes back a very long way. The Romans had the Coliseum, where they watched chariot races and other entertainment. The Greeks had amphitheaters where they viewed drama and comedy, and of course they invented the Olympics, one of the greatest entertainment sport spectacles on earth. The list goes on. Even the Bible discusses singing, dancing, music, and other forms of acceptable recreation, so even the most ancient civilizations enjoyed entertainment and recreation of some sort.

The Middle Ages

Life for most people in the Middle Ages was dark and difficult. More emphasis was put on work, and there was little time for leisure. However, jousting tournaments, hunting tournaments, and the earliest forms of chess, checkers, and other games developed during this time. The people worked hard, the Church forbade many forms of entertainment, but there were still leisure pastimes to help develop the growing history of leisure and recreation.

The Industrial Revolution

This history of leisure and recreation goes far back in time, but leisure and recreation really took off when the Industrial Revolution hit Great Britain in the 1700s. The Industrial Revolution revolutionized work in the modern world, and helped create the modern factory environment. Machines mechanized the manufacture of fabric and fibers, and this ultimately led to more leisure time for the workers. They worked long hours in the factories, but they also had time off, and most employers gave at least some holidays off. Thus, people who had labored from dawn to dusk on farms in rural England, moved to the big city, got jobs in factories, and had leisure time away from their jobs. The Industrial Revolution helped create the notion of leisure time, and it helped create a different view of work and leisure.

The 20th Century

If the Industrial Revolution helped create the history of leisure and recreation, the 20th century helped cement it. Workers demanded shorter working hours, paid vacations and holidays, and weekends off, leading to even more leisure time for the world’s workforce. Today, work and leisure are still strictly separated, but leisure time and recreation are some of the most important aspect of modern life, showing how the history of leisure and recreation has altered throughout time, and become increasingly popular as people gain more freedom from work and toil.

Tribal Warfare

It’s interesting to note that the wide separation between work and leisure in our modern society is something that wasn’t necessary in early, tribal cultures. Early man (and woman), worked when it was necessary to find food or to create items they needed to live, but they did not work continually, they interspersed work with pleasure or leisure, something our society not longer enjoys. For example, in Native American societies, boys “played” at war and warfare, but this play taught them how to use a bow and arrow, useful for hunting as well as defending the tribe. Work became play, while today, the two terms are decidedly distinct.

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Benefits of Getting a Product on Home Shopping Channels

Getting a product on QVC (or getting a product on HSN or other home shopping networks) is a goal for many companies and/or inventors. In fact, for many companies or products, it’s one of the biggest steps they can take.

But why is this so? Especially in this day and age of mass media and websites, where something like television is seemingly diminished. Why is it such an overriding goal to be on home shopping channels?

The answers are several, and I’ll go over a few huge benefits to getting your product on TV.

The first benefit, obviously, is massive exposure. QVC, HSN, and other home shopping networks comprise some of the largest television networks on the planet, and have an eager, enthusiastic audience. While much commercial television has seen a steep decline over the past decade, the home shopping networks remain both relevant and strong. Their audiences have favorite hosts, favorite product types, and are regular viewers. And most importantly, they have money to spend.

The second benefit is a huge influx of sales. This huge audience that the home shopping networks command is an audience that buys. Hundreds or (even thousands) of sales per segment are quite common. In fact, there’s no single sales tool quite as effective as a slot on a home shopping channel (plus, don’t forget that all the home shopping networks have massive websites as well, and do online marketing quite well – I just got a “check out these offers” e-mail from QVC as I’m typing this.)

Another side benefit to all of this exposure is being seen by specific, important people – like buyers for chains. Don’t think for one minute that buyers from retail chains aren’t watching home shopping channels. They are watching, and this often gives them insight on not only new products, but also what type of products audiences respond to best. Getting your product into a retail chain can be hard, but if you are on QVC (et al) first, it becomes a lot easier.

So we have exposure and sales, the two most important aspects to most companies. What else is there? How about a chance to hone your own sales skills and pitch? When YOU are on camera, you are doing the selling (with help from the host, of course). But this really lets you show your sales chops, and your enthusiasm for your product. I realize not everyone will embrace this part, but for a certain type of entrepreneur, this kind of selling can be invaluable.

To wrap this up, the simple premise is this: Getting a product on TV can be richly rewarding, in more ways than one.

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Shopping for a New Health or Dental Insurance Plan?

If you are one of the many self-employed or work for an employer that does not offer any insurance benefits, you will have to shop for health and dental policy on your own or with the help of an insurance agent. For some this may seem overwhelming but it really only takes some research to gain better understanding on how insurance plans are organized.

When reading a health insurance policy you will encounter insurance specific terms. These terms tell you what you are responsible to pay and what the insurance company will pay.

Copay – This is a cost sharing agreement in which the insured pays a predetermined amount and the insurance company pays the rest. Example: You have a $50 copay for a doctor visit where the cost is $80. You pay the $50 and insurance pays $30.

Deductible – This is how much the insured is responsible to pay before insurance will begin to pay. The higher the deductibles, the lower the monthly cost.

Coinsurance – This is another cost sharing agreement but in this one you pay a certain percentage and the insurance company pays another percentage. Example: Your office visit cost $80 and you are responsible for 30% which is $24 so the insurer will pay 70% which in this case is $56.

Waiting period – This is a way for insurance companies to cut cost and avoid paying for pre-existing conditions. Waiting periods vary but you may encounter waiting periods anywhere from 1 to 12 months for services that will later be covered.

Dental insurance companies offer many plans but most fall into the category of a savings plan, a network plan or a fixed benefit plan. Each plan will address preventative, basic and major services. Consumers need to be educated on what all that means because the three basic types of plans are very different.

The dental savings plan is cheap and only offers network discounts. Most advertise discount ranges of 20% to 65% depending on which provider you choose. Some people think these plans are worthless and do not offer much benefit but they are perfect for people who only need cleanings, few basic services and no major services. The other thing to consider is that the network and fixed benefit plan have a maximum amount of benefits per year. This plan does not so it could also augment a network plan.

A network plan has copays and deductibles. It offers more coverage with an emphasis on preventative services and happens to be the most expensive option. This plan will typically pay 100% of your preventative services and percentages of your basic and majors. Some will have a waiting period on these services and some do not cover major services at all. You must determine if you have a risk of needing major services or if you can augment the plan with a savings plan.

The fixed benefit plan pays predetermined cash for covered services. If your family cannot afford a network plan, this is your next best option. This one has no deductibles but you must pay the difference between the fixed benefit and the dental bill. The best thing is that there are no networks so you can choose any dentist you want. You can also become a better consumer because you can ask the dentist what their prices are to maximize your fixed benefit. This plan can also be augment with the dental savings plan because the money is sent to you, not the dentist.

Understanding insurance specific terms can become daunting when looking at a contract that may be over 30 pages in length. Consumers must do their research but I recommend they speak with a professional. I licensed insurance agent has been trained and understands the specifics in contracts. They are best prepared to explain the nuances that you might skip over.

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The Pleasure Of Online Shopping

Online Shopping is today the most convenient and exciting way of shopping. It caters to every income group and therefore has a wide customer base. It allows customers to buy goods and services from sellers or merchants using the internet. Many people find this the most relaxed form of shopping, more so from the convenience of their home. It also has its advantages and disadvantages, that should be kept in mind to make shopping a pleasure.

Online Shopping lets you to shop from your home. You can relax before your computer or laptop and browse from various shopping portals. Some advantages include the following:

  • You do not need to get dressed and ready yourself and the family for driving down to the shopping mall. Neither do you need to walk from shop to shop exploring variety of products.
  • Facilitates ease of comparison of products and prices. Online business owners therefore, price their products competitively as pricing plays a major decisive factor for customer decisions. Reviews that are available online will also give you an insight on the products you want to buy.
  • You get a wide range of merchandise at these shopping sites, unlike the availability of certain brand or limited categories in physical stores.
  • You do not have to listen to unwanted sales talk. Usually the salesman at any store tries to push products where they generate more margins. They tend to influence the customer decisions. You may also end up buying things which was not in your buying list! Online shopping, will prevent you from impulsive shopping.
  • You can be away from the crowd and do not need to stand in queues at the cashiers counter.
  • Discuss with the family before finalising your product purchase. This kind of comfort zone works very well as likes and dislikes are sorted out within the family before a purchase order is placed.
  • No need to take urgent decisions. As online shopping works 24 x 7, there is no need to rush through your purchase, unlike in stores where they have fixed time of operations.
  • Purchasing certain items at stores can be embarrassing and create awkward situations in the presence of curious onlookers.
  • Easy payment modes. Some shopping sites offer free delivery and even payment on delivery. Information products like e-books can be downloaded on immediate payment.

Most shopping portals offer discounts, special offers, deals of the day, and even festive offers on various occasions. They also offer a replacement policy at no extra cost. A wide variety of products like apparels, jewelry, computers, electronic gadgets and accessories, health and beauty products, toys and several others are easily available for your shopping pleasure.

While on the subject, it must be kept in mind that there are some disadvantages when you are shopping online. They are, to mention a few:

  • The quality of the product cannot be judged merely on the basis of a single photograph, as they can be deceptive.
  • You have to wait for the delivery of your items which you could otherwise pick up from a store instantly.
  • Unreliable shopping sites can sell off inferior products, which you may not be able to replace.
  • There are no contact points where you can discuss or bargain further.
  • Risks involved in credit card/ debit card transactions.

In spite of these disadvantages, online shopping is becoming more and more popular as the advantages favour not only the busy executives but also the house wives and the young generation.

Consider shopping from well known e-retailers. If you carefully analyse and take care of the above, your Online Shopping will be an experience that you will enjoy.

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Discount Codes For Your Online Shopping – What Matters?

With more people now relying on online stores to find and purchase all kinds of products, manufacturers and product suppliers are finding their way into the online platforms as a simple way of reaching out to the modern shopper. The competition is relatively high among the providers and this forces many to come up with ways of gaining mass purchases from the users by offering appealing deals. Discount codes are some of the marketing tools the stores are using to attract sales.

For consumers on the other hand, the discount codes make very good options for them to get what they want at cheaper prices thus saving money in the end. Shoppers have become very alert to cut expenses without sacrificing the kind of lifestyles they love and through the coupon codes, it has become possible for many to make affordable choices. There are so many websites, including shopping sites offering the discount codes to consumers today. But what really should matter to make a code worth a try?

The items covered – Usually discount codes will be on specific products and you should therefore make sure that you get codes for items that matter to you. These codes could be on anything, including accessories, clothing, shoes, electronic equipment, and even grocery. To find the best, consider choosing sites that offer such kinds of items and the promo codes at the same time. The options are numerous and with a little research you definitely stand to find codes that cover the items you are most interested in.

The validity – Truth is, most of the codes are only valid for a specific period of time. It is therefore important to find out how long the code you get is valid for so you can use it before the period lapses leaving the code valueless. This may vary from one provider to another, so make sure you get a reasonable timeframe so you can put the code to the best use in fetching you he discounted prices.

The terms – They could be about anything from how you qualify to enjoy the discounts to specific shopping guidelines for the code to take effect. For instance, there are codes that can only be used on specific online stores and others may require that you make purchases of a certain amount to enjoy the discounts. The last thing you want to do is assume that your discount is applicable anywhere, anyhow and on any given item. Make sure that you take the time to go through the terms and conditions so you know exactly what is expected and how to get the best value from your coupon code.

The discount percentage – The percent taken off differs from one code to another or from an item to another. Higher priced items usually attract larger discounts compared to lower priced ones. You can however find very high discount percentages even on low priced items may be because the manufacturer or supplier is trying to finish old stock to give way to new one. Make comparisons to enjoy higher discounts.

When using discount codes, it is of importance that you select those offered by reputable sites. You want to enjoy the lowest prices, but you do not want to end up with counterfeit products either. If you are getting the discount codes on food items, it is important that you check the expiry dates of the discounted items. This way, you can be sure of the condition and quality of the products you are about to enjoy discounts on. Discounts are great, but they should not in any way compromise the quality you enjoy in the end.

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Finding Bargains While Shopping for Antiques

Many have the misconception that antiques are very expensive than they can afford. Searching for antiques is a great way to spend the afternoon and you may be blown away with the amount of good discounts you find. The hardest thing is that people don’t understand the real value of an object they are looking at in an antique shop.

It may have caught their attention due to its design or it brings back old memories. You cannot certainly know if the store owner increased the price or if you are getting a good deal. As you cannot visit another store and compare the price, you have to decide the maximum amount you are willing to pay. You may have to leave the store if the negotiations don’t work in your favor.

It’s a good practice to do a little research about the trustworthiness of an antique dealer before you start buying. You will discover that you will be able to get good deals on antiques once you get to know the owner of the shop. You can build a good relationship, if you are a frequent buyer. Bringing in other customers to the shop is another thing that will get noticed. Owner of the shop will want to do business with you, so that you keep generating more business for them.

It will be possible to negotiate the price if the antique shop is managed by the owner and not staff members. You won’t be able to negotiate the prices as much as you think in antique malls even though you find a good selection. Little shops can offer you a brief history on the item you are interested in.

For many antique store owners, money talks, so carry a lot of money when you are shopping for antiques. If you do this, they don’t have to deal with credit card transactions that cost them money. Many of the older antique stores are reluctant to take personal cheques, especially if you are not from the city. Showing that you do not have money in an unnoticeable way is also helpful. For example, you can count it and then say will you take $100 because this is all I have with me today.

It is important to keep in mind that you will buy antiques in the condition they are in. Make sure you spend time examining everything before buying. You don’t want to go home and find out what you thought was a good deal was actually rubbish. Many dealers take pride in offering quality products but you still have to examine. You’re going to be dissatisfied if you think you can take an antique home in perfect condition for a very good price though.

If you are searching for antiques, take a look around online to get a good idea of the selling price for them. Don’t be afraid to ask the antique shop owner to decrease the price. If you say something like “would you take $100 for this” rather than saying something along the lines “can you lower the price?”, it can surely help you to get what you want if you’re assertive but not going overboard.

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Why Order Pages Trump Shopping Carts in Sales Conversion… Plus How to Lower Your Abandonment Rates

When you build an e-commerce business, one of the biggest decisions you must make is to choose between a shopping cart and an order page. That’s because the one you choose will impact your sales results. And if you choose the wrong one, you will lose customers and sales.

You cannot make a sale until the customer submits the order. A persuasive landing page and compelling sales copy are vital to get the prospect to want to buy. But it is equally important to have a smooth order process that helps to close the sale.

Any point within this order process can cause would-be customers to not buy anything. For example, if they encounter a detour or something unexpected, they can quickly lose interest and not buy.

To close the sale, the order process must confirm the offer to keep them excited. Plus, make it fast and easy to complete the order form.

The Difference Between a Shopping Cart and Order Page

In online marketing, a shopping cart is part of e-commerce software that allows visitors to a website to select items to buy. It can be integrated with a small or large catalog of items, each with a unique price.

The shopping cart can allow customers to choose different features, such as size or color, plus the quantity. Then upon checkout, there is a form to collect the customer’s name, address, plus billing and shipping information.

An order page contains a summary confirmation of the offer. Plus a form that collects the customer’s name, address, plus billing and shipping information.

Depending on your software, both the shopping cart and order page can give a wide range of features. These may include integration with an online payment gateway, such as Paypal or Stripe. Plus, product quantity, shipping, real-time pricing calculation and data encryption upon order submission.

But while both can facilitate a sale, the order page has three big advantages in getting the prospective customer to buy. The following are 3 reasons why it trumps shopping carts for most types of products and services.

Order Page Advantage #1: Speed of Sale

Once you get a prospective customer to want to buy, you must do so as fast as possible. That’s because doubt can quickly enter the consumer’s mind that can cause them to hesitate to buy.

Perhaps the biggest difference between a shopping cart and order page is the number of clicks and pages the consumer encounters. A shopping cart can require anywhere from one to upwards of 6 or more clicks that take the consumer to different pages to enter information. Pages may take time to load. The number of clicks and pages plus long amount of time it takes to complete the process are big reasons for why there are so many abandoned shopping carts.

Yet an order page has everything on one landing page. So the consumer can quickly follow the information, usually from top down, enter the information requested, and click just one button in the whole process to submit their order.

Order Page Advantage #2: Persuasive Content

A shopping cart is bulky with respect to the layout and information displayed. Yet the information that is displayed is factual. The longer the consumer sees this, the more likely their emotional excitement about the product or service will wane.

Order pages on the other hand can start off with persuasive content that confirms the offer. So when the consumer is completing the order form, they are more likely to retain an emotional connection with buying the product or service. Emotion is what sells. The longer you can keep the consumer emotionally engaged with your product, the more likely you are to close the sale.

Order Page Advantage #3: Personalization

Shopping carts are a one size fits all. Each consumer uses the same cart with the same content to select the specific products or services and quantities they want to buy. There is very little if anything that is personalized for each customer.

Order pages can be personalized for each customer based on information in their contact record or specific landing page they visited. Personalized content can increase sales conversion. So you can not only make the customer happy, but your wallet too.

In summary, shopping carts and order pages enable consumers to buy and merchants to earn sales. Yet order pages have 3 distinct advantages that can lead to higher sales conversion. They also take less time to close the sale and results in fewer contacts that abandonment the check out process.

Plus, they can boost sales conversion with persuasive content that keeps the consumer emotionally engaged with your product or service. And they can contain personalized content which further enhances customer satisfaction and higher sales conversion.

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How to Make Money Fast by Retrieving and Returning Shopping Carts

Are you looking for a way to make money fast? If you have a large utility vehicle, like a pick-up truck, you can retrieve and return shopping carts for a cash reward.

Most every mid to large retail grocery, variety and department store has a stock of shopping carts on hand. They are purchased by the store, of course, so that customers can use them when shopping in their store.

Shopping buggies are expensive. The average cost to the retailer for just one is between 75 and 100 dollars. Large ones like the kind you find at wholesale and club stores can run upwards of 200 dollars or more.

Most retail stores have dozens of them; busy big-box stores may even have hundreds of them. Purchasing enough of them to meet a store’s demand and traffic levels requires a significant expenditure of cash.

It is, therefore, in the best interest of the retailer to protect that investment. Most retailers do their best to make sure that carts remain on store property. However, shopping buggy theft is all too common. The average store loses about $8,000 $10,000 to per year to this problem.

Because they are so expensive to buy, many store owners and retail companies pay cash rewards for the return of their carts which have been stolen (or “borrowed”) and not returned. Cash rewards typically range from 25 to 50 dollars per cart.

Here’s how you can retrieve and return those buggies for cash: contact retailers in your area which have shopping carts. Find out if they pay for returned carts. Many do, but won’t give cash rewards to just anyone. (Store owners don’t want the public to abuse the reward system by stealing carts themselves in order to get the reward.) Usually you have to sign a cash-for-retrieval contract.

You’ll have to provide some forms of identification, usually a driver’s license plus one other item (like a Social Security or credit card). You may have to sign a waiver absolving the store of liability in the event of something unforeseen.

You can make arrangements with any or all of the retailers in your area. The more contracts you have, the more money you can make.

If you’ve lived in your city for any length of time, you’ve probably seen common dump sites for stolen shopping buggies. Visit these areas regularly. Additionally, get in the habit of keeping your eyes open every time you’re out and about town. You’ll probably spot discarded shopping carts regularly. You can pick these up and return them as you come across them, or store them at home until you have several of them.

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What is a Monocultural Society?

Do you live in a mono-cultural or multi-cultural society?. Often we find it difficult to define. What is a mono- cultural society?

Most experts agree that the essential traits of a mono-cultural society are a common heritage, belief structure, language and usually a mono-racial identity. Since we live in a more globalized World, many of our societies are essentially multi-cultural. But still many of today’s societies still share the common traits of a mono-cultural society.

What are these common traits?

1. A common heritage

The historical heritage of the society could be based on a perception that the nations, food, language, attitudes, racial features and religious beliefs are an essential element to the nations identity.

2. A shared belief structure

The majority of the citizens of a country have a shared belief structure, based on the nation’s heritage. These beliefs form the national identity, and ‘psyche,’ which create to many a stronger bonded society, but to detractors a nation which loses out on the benefits of a multi-cultural ethnic society.

3. An inward looking ‘psyche’

To many, mono-cultural societies tend to look inwards, rather than outwards, and this can show in the nation’s culture. Television programs and news tends to be locally centered, and the cultures identity heavily promoted. A degree of ignorance of the outside World is often a product of looking inwards.

4. A suspicion of “foreigners”

The ‘psyche” of a mono-cultural society often can be suspicious towards “foreigners,” and unacceptable of their beliefs. This could lead to discouraging multi-cultural partnerships, to a ‘ghetto’ mentality of separating cultures through the areas they can live.

5. Common religious values

Whilst in some societies religion is seen as being less important, other cultures see it as part of their national or ethnic identity. A strong mono-cultural official religion often is a strong trait of a this type of society..

6. Tribalism

Citizens of strong multi-cultural societies tend to be more tribal when they live outside their own culture. Multi- cultural marriages are unacceptable, the neighbors, the food and even the workplace tends to be ‘tribal.” – the influence of the new society lessened by this strong cultural bond, between others who share it.

7. Purchasing Goods

Mono- cultural societies tend to support their own products, rather than purchase products from other nations. They tend to be proud of their industries, and economic achievements- encouraging buying nationally produced products over others. This is beneficial in a recession, but in an expanding economy can hinder the choice consumers have.

Mono-cultural societies tend to feel safer, as long as you are identified as “one of the group,” but also conservative when it comes to accepting change. Whilst threatened, these societies tend to bond together faster, but also can be guilty of the worse types of ethnic abuse.

Historic examples could be the Armenian holocaust by Turkey, or the past bloodshed in the Balkans, and Rwanda- Events that generally do not occur in more modern multi-ethnic societies, which accept the differences in ideas, and beliefs.

Recessions often create a more mono-cultural outlook in societies, were suddenly even in multi-cultural societies fault lines can appear- often in the guise of competition for jobs and economic rights. However despite economic hardship, without the color, music and openness of a multi-cultural society- we would live in a very dull and limited World.

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Meanwhile – The Impact of Comic Books on Society

Comic books and graphic novels have long captured the imaginations of children, teens and adults everywhere. Many people have read comics when they were kids, occasionally hiding a comic book inside of a school book in order to read it while their teacher lectured. The frequency of which we would enjoy these tales usually decreased the more we grew into adulthood however, they still have a tremendous appeal. Comic books have usually been thought of as nothing more than mere “children’s books” however, they have come a long way over the years.

Comics and graphic novels address a range of societal issues and allow us to showcase what is happening in the world today. Some comic books act only as plot devices, some as social commentary, and others try to make us think.

Their has been a rise in interest in comics in recent years primarily due to the entertainment industry and the internet. The internet has given people new options for buying, selling and trading comic books with the online marketplace and websites such as eBay and Amazon.com. Online comic book forums and message boards have also given comic book readers and collectors an instrument through which to connect and share their passion for this creative medium and have piqued interest in those new to comic culture.

Comics are now recognized as a valued medium and we can see their influence in just about every sector of our entertainment. From movies to television and from video games to amusement parks, comics have had a tremendous impact on our culture. As a result comics are no longer being censored in the sense of what should and shouldn’t be in them. This may be a bad thing for some but for others it is a basic part of free speech and the first amendment.

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