Boomers – We love gadgets too!

January 28, 2016

iPadRecently I registered at an online website, which shall remain nameless, promising to survey me for various consumer studies. I did this so I could have a say on products and manufacturers. As a writer I was also interested in the results of the surveys for informational purposes.

I took the time to carefully complete the demographic form with my information, age, income, occupation, hobbies and interests, etc. This was relatively generic in that no specific personal information was taken such as name, address and phone.

The website in question is for a well-respected and trusted organization. They promote registration and being available for surveys and questions by offering discounts and prizes.

When I finished the form and submitted it, I received a message that they didn’t need me for any surveys at the present time. It seems they’re busy surveying the young generation, 18 to 35, for their consumer habits and opinions.

My generation, the baby boomers born between 1946 – 1964, who now make up over one-third of the population are of little or no interest to retailers. I find this incredible! Most boomers are not rich, but do have abundant disposable incomes. These same boomers are migrating to the internet and tech gadgets in mass numbers right now.

Boomers are using Facebook and other social network sites to keep in touch with children and grand-children around the world. They use computer tools to network with other boomers on health care, recreation, travel, relationship, and products and services.

I was in an Apple store a couple of weeks ago and was amazed to see a class in session on iPhone use. Almost all the attendees appeared to be of my generation, the boomers. When I questioned one of the associates, he told me seniors are buying technology in large numbers. They prefer to buy user friendly products and from retailers who offer training and support.

Although not a boomer, my mother began using the internet several years ago. She is now on Facebook following her children, grand-children and great-grand-children. Sellers are likely not interested in her though, because she is 90 years young. This amazing woman travels extensively on tours and cruises, not rich but certainly with a comfortable level of disposible income to enjoy her life. My brother, sister and myself who are all boomers are close to retirement or retired, have disposal income and all love gadgets and travel. Need I say more? The writing is on the wall.

My message to retailers and manufacturers is this – pay attention to the Boomers – or lose out on the profits to be made and customers to be found.

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The Way We Were 1964: Fifty years ago.

May 21, 2014

1964-the-beatles-life-270In this year of 2014 it is now fifty years since some of us lived through 1964. Here are some interesting things about this important year. Most of this information and factual data is from American sources, but at the end you will find some tidbits on Canada. Enjoy and please leave a comment about something you remember from that year.

What it cost:
Average yearly income $5,880
Gallon of gas .25c
Gallon of milk $1.06
Loaf of bread .21c
1st class postage stamp 5c (to mail a letter)
Magazine subscription (51 issues) $5.00
Pair of shoes $9.95
19” TV black & white $139.95

Entertainment:
1st appearance of Beatles on Ed Sullivan Show
Shooting starts for Star Trek pilot on television

Hit singles:
Baby Love – The Supremes
Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles
Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles
House of the Rising Sun – The Animals
I Get Around – The Beach Boys
Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison
Rag Doll – The Four Seasons

Movies at the theatre:
Goldfinger – James Bond movie with Sean Connery
Mary Poppins
The Pink Panther – with Peter Sellers
My Fair Lady

Deaths of note:
General Douglas MacArthur – commander of the Pacific operations in WW II.
Jim Reeves – country star (plane crash)
Harpo Marx – comedian – part of the famous Marx Brothers. He was the one who never spoke on screen.
Gracie Allen – comedienne – wife of George Burns – Burns and Allen comedy team
Herbert Hoover – former President of the U.S. – just before Franklin Roosevelt.

Births of those who would become famous later on. Who knew:
Nicolas Cage – actor
Matt Dillon – actor
Rob Lowe – actor
Sandra Bullock – actor
Keanu Reeves – actor
(remember all these will turn 50 years of age this year)

Notable Factoids or Events:
Cigarette smoking is enjoyed by 60% of population.
U.S. Government reports, “that smoking many be hazardous to one’s health”.
Hasbro introduces the G.I. Joe doll.
Ford Mustang goes on sale ($2368 base price).
U.S begins bombing of North Vietnam which dramatically ramps up the Vietnam War. An LBJ decision.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is published, written by Roald Dahl.
Sony introduces first VCR video recorder.
Computer mouse invented, but not generally available until much later.

Notable Canadian Facts from 1964:
Prime Minister is Lester Pearson (Liberal Party).
Social Insurance Number cards issued for first time to Canadians.
Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup (over Detroit Red Wings). Most recent win for Leafs was 1967.
First Tim Horton’s donut shop opens in Hamilton, Ontario. (This is the one I like the best.)


Stand By Me: Classic coming of age tale.

August 1, 2012

Stand By Me, deluxe version

I rewatched Stand By Me the classic coming of age film by director Rob Reiner, based on a Stephen King novella ” The Body”. I was so moved once again by this film I had to write about it.

The story concerns four friends living in a small town of about 1200 people. One hot summer a teenage boy, Roy Brower disappears. It seems the rumour is he was struck by a train and is out by the Royal River. The four boys decide to set out to find the body and become famous or at least heroes in the process.

The story this film is based on, The Body, can be found in a collection of Stephen King stories called Different Seasons published in 1982. The collection also includes a story title Shawshank Redemption which later became an award winning film The Shawshank Redemption.

Their world is one of relative innocence, but their journey to find the body, their encounter with Ace Merrill (Kiefer Sutherland), the local bad boy and his gang, and finding Brower’s dead body put an end to that innocence. In the end the boys find out about reality and how it isn’t glamorous.

The line that best sums up the entire movie is typed on the computer screen by The Writer (Richard Dreyfuss) at the end of the movie,

“I never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus does anyone?”

The four friends are played by Wil Wheaton (Gordie Lachance), River Phoenix (Chris Chambers), Corey Feldman (Teddy Duchamp), and Jerry O’Connell (Vern Tessio). Gordie Lachance is the writer. The story begins with the death of his friend Chris Chambers on the headline of a newspaper. He then takes us back to tell the story of their adventure that one summer so many years ago.

This movie makes you laugh one moment and cry the next. Most of all it makes you think back to your own childhood and the friends you had and the adventures they shared with you.

A warning this movie does contain bad language including the F-word, but it is too good not to let your young son or daughter watch it with you. Made in 1986 it stands the test of time very well. Definitely a movie to rent, or even better to own.


Spare the rod, spoil the child…hell no!

July 8, 2011

Recently my 85 year old mother visited me and my gang. You see I’m a do-it-again dad. We now have a 9 year old son, and twin daughters aged 7. The difference between her generation and mine with regard to child discipline is apparent.

In our house spanking is a definite no no. Children are treated with respect. Sure there is some yelling and fighting but with five individuals including three young ones, there are bound to be conflicts.

Mother gets taut like a spring just watching my active boy have fun. You can sense the urge to step in and bring him to heel. You can cut the tension. Heck he is just being a kid.

Proudly relates this little story to me whenever she visits,

Seems one time when I was a 6 year old kid back in the 1950’s there was I time when I didn’t come when I was called, too busy playing I guess. She came to get me with a flyswatter. She tells how she flicked my ass with it all the way home and boy did that ever make me listen. The point being the next time I was called I came.

Frankly I find this tale a disgusting example of the child discipline of the 1950’s. Talk about lack of respect for a child.
Much as I love my mother I am beginning to realize why I have so much deep seeded anger within my psyche.


Boomers – Third of population, neglected consumer group

May 20, 2011

I recently registered at an online website, which shall remain nameless, promising to survey me for various consumer studies. I did this so I could have a say on products and manufacturers. As a writer I was also interested in the results of the surveys for informational purposes.

I took the time to carefully complete the demographic form with my information, age, income, occupation, hobbies and interests, etc. This was relatively generic in that no specific personal information was taken such as name, address and phone.

The website in question is for a well-respected and trusted organization. They promote registration and being available for surveys and questions by offering discounts and prizes.

When I finished the form and submitted it, I received a message that they didn’t need me for any surveys at the present time. It seems they’re busy surveying the young generation, 18 to 35, for their consumer habits and opinions.

My generation, the baby boomers born between 1946 – 1964, who now make up over one-third of the population are of little or no interest to retailers. I find this incredible! Most boomers are not rich, but do have abundant disposable incomes. These same boomers are migrating to the internet and tech gadgets in mass numbers right now.

Boomers are using Facebook and other social network sites to keep in touch with children and grand-children around the world. They use computer tools to network with other boomers on health care, recreation, travel, relationship, and products and services.

I visited an Apple store a couple of weeks ago and was amazed to see a class in session on iPhone use. Almost all the attendees appeared to be of my generation, the boomers. When I questioned one of the associates, he told me seniors are buying technology in large numbers. They prefer to buy user-friendly products from retailers who offer training and support.

Although not a boomer, my mother began using the internet several years ago. She is now on Facebook following her children, grand-children and great-grand-children. Sellers are likely not interested in her though, because she is 85 years young. This amazing woman travels extensively on tours and cruises, not rich but certainly with a comfortable level of disposable income to enjoy her life. My brother, sister and myself who are all boomers are close to retirement or retired, have disposal income and all love gadgets and travel. Need I say more? The writing is on the wall.

My message to retailers and manufacturers is this – pay attention to the Boomers – or lose out on the profits to be made and customers to be found.


Boomers: Retirement impacts

April 3, 2011

Pumpjack on Prairies

Stats Canada projects in the next decade about 30% of the Canadian workforce will retire. In my industry alone, oil and gas, it will leave about 40,000 job vacancies. This is without the impact of oil prices and activity levels.

Virtually ever other industry including small business will be impacted by the boomers leaving the workforce. Now it will give younger persons starting out great opportunities, but most of the rookies in the workforce need about ten years to build experience to the levels of those workers leaving. This results in a knowledge gap.

Some of this knowledge gap can be filled by hiring the boomers back as consultants on short term basis. Most boomers don’t want to quite cold-turkey anyway it seems. Many of my friends who have retired out the door ahead of me are back working part time. Great opportunities for all generations it seems.

Suggested Reading:

“Severe labour crunch forecast for oilpatch as workers retire”, by Dino O’Meara, Calgary Herald, March 29, 2011.

“The Decade Ahead 2010-2020”, report by Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada, 2009.


The Boomer Generation

March 11, 2011

When the Second World War (1939 – 1945) ended millions of men returned home to wives and girlfriends most hadn’t seen in years. Guess what happened? Nine months later there began a baby boom the likes of which had never been seen, and hasn’t been seen since. In Canada anyone born between 1947 and 1967 is considered a “baby boomer” or “boomer” for short.

Truly effective birth control, the pill, wasn’t available until the mid 1960’s, so in most cases sex resulted in babies, lots of them. This was not a bad thing, after all these men and women wanted to return to a normal life after six long years of war abroad and on the home front.

Couples wanted to put the war behind them. They wanted marriage and family, and did they ever succeed. Some factoids on the baby boom:

  • During the years 1947 to 1966 in Canada there were over 400,000 babies born each year. The highest year was 1959 with 479,000 born.
  • In the United States during roughly the same period over 4,000,000 were born each year.
  • At the height of the boom Canadian women averaged four offspring each.

I am a “boomer” as are my siblings. We were born in 1949, 1951, and 1955 respectively. Now over sixty years later our generation is beginning to enter our retirement years.

Our generation makes up the largest individual segment of the Canadian population (more than 30%). With retirement comes two key questions for Canadian society,

  • Can the pension plans handle the massive numbers of retirees?
  • Can the expertise lost by industry and government be replaced?

Most boomers are healther and wealthier than previous generations, but the cost of living has skyrocketed. Better health means longer lives and more stress on retirement income sources.

The anticipated retirement of workers from the workforce will mean more opportunity for the younger generations coming into the workforce.

Baby boomers have a tremendous impact on Canadian society and will continue to be a factor for many years to come. Some factoids on the impact of the boomer generation today (stats are from the United States, but are similar here in Canada.):

  • Control over 80% of personal assets
  • Control over 50% of discretionary spending.
  • Account for more than half of consumer spending.
  • Purchase 77% of all prescription drugs.
  • Account for 80% of all leisure travel spending.

Stay tuned for more postings on my experiences as part of the Boomer Generation.


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