A Brief History Of April Fools’ Day

Can you believe that Monday is the first day of April? Where did January, February, and March go??

And the first of April also means it’s April Fools’ Day!

Are you into April Fools’ Day pranks or hijinks? If so, let us know what you do (or have done)!

April Fools’ Day has had a long and glorious history. (Well, maybe not so glorious …)

So here’s a brief history: While no one knows for sure when exactly April Fools’ Day began, one theory is that it dates back to the 16th century. Prior to 1582, the New Year began on April 1. When the “new” New Year was moved to January 1st in 1582, there were many people who hadn’t heard or didn’t believe the change in the date, so they continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1. These “April fools”: were often ridiculed by being sent on “fools errands” or were made the butt of other practical jokes, according to the patch.com.

According to history.com, April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.

Bet you’re wondering how many people are involved in April Fools’ Day pranks. Well, according to a CareerBuilder.com survey, 32% of workers said they have either initiated or been on the receiving end of an April Fools’ Day prank at work.

If you want to know more about some well-known April Fools’ Day hoaxes, check out this link! http://hoaxes.org/aprilfool/

Have a great weekend!

Best Regards,
Taylor

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A Brief History Of Coupons

Just the other day I read that a customer recently came into a North Shore Farms supermarket in Mineola, NY, with a coupon to save 20 cents on Crisco oil from 1983. Believe it or not, that’s a 36-year-old coupon! The manager of the store even posted a photo on Twitter.

And so as I was going through a circular and cutting out coupons in anticipation of this weekend’s grocery shopping, I began to think about the history of coupons.

Asa Candler, co-owner of Coca-Cola, created the first coupon in 1887. According to couponsherpa.com, to name the new marketing concept, he turned to the French language; deriving the word coupon from the French word “couper,” meaning “to cut.”

According to couponsherpa.com, Candler’s invention “transformed Coca-Cola from an insignificant tonic into a market-dominating drink. His hand-written tickets offered consumers a free glass of Coca-Cola, then priced at five cents. Between 1894 and 1913, an estimated one-in-nine Americans had received a free Coca-Cola, for a total of 8,500,000 free drinks. By 1895, Coca-Cola was being served in every state.”

Then, in 1909, C.W. Post began offering coupons with a one-cent discount on Grape Nuts cereal.

Coupon usage really surged during the Great Depression, as struggling consumers used coupons to trim their grocery bills.

By 1940, chain supermarkets began offering coupons as a way of taking customers away from neighborhood stores.

According to couponsherpa.com, “Sunday newspapers began printing inserts with coupons promoting everything from fast food to bank checks. The innovation of direct mail co-ops provided local businesses with an inexpensive way of distributing coupons. Grocery stores began printing coupons on the back of receipts, based on a consumer’s purchases. Electronic shelf coupons also appeared to encourage point-of sale purchases.”

Then, in the 1990s, the first Internet-delivered, printable coupons were created.

Think of this long and interesting history the next time you use a coupon!

Since we’re discussing coupons, I just want to remind all panel members to please let us know if you use a special deal like a coupon, discount, or store sale. Also, while many coupons have barcodes on them, please do not scan the barcode on the coupon. Although the scanner or NCPMobile App may accept the barcode, the information is not readable to us.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Best Regards,
Taylor

St. Patrick’s Day Facts

Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day. As is our tradition, our family spends time with some friends and neighbors. We’ll all dress in green and enjoy some traditional foods, such as corned beef and cabbage, and Irish soda bread. What about you? Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? If so, let us know!

Anyway, there are loads of interesting information about St. Patrick’s Day. Here are a few, from mentalfloss.com:

  • Blue, not green: St. Patrick’s color was “Saint Patrick’s blue,” a light shade. The color green only became associated with the day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.
  • Patrick was British: Although he made his mark by introducing Christianity to Ireland in the year 432, Patrick wasn’t Irish himself. He was born to Roman parents in Scotland or Wales in the late fourth century.
  • It might have been St. Maewyn’s Day: According to Irish legend, St. Patrick wasn’t originally called Patrick. His birth name was Maewyn Succat, but he changed his name to Patricius after becoming a priest.
  • About those shamrocks: According to Irish legend, the saint used the three-leafed plant as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland.
  • About that phrase: So what does “Erin go Bragh” mean? It’s a corruption of the Irish Éirinn go Brách, which roughly means “Ireland Forever.”

Since we’re talking history here, let’s acknowledge today, March 15, which is the Ides of March. (You might have heard the expression, “beware the Ides of March.”) This marks the day in 44 B.C. that conspirators led by Marcus Junius Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death before the Roman senate. This was a significant turning point in Roman history.

Well, let’s end this history lesson by wishing you all a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day!

Best Regards,
Taylor

The Pros And Cons Of Daylight Saving Time

Whether you like it or not, on Sunday at 2 a.m. we’ll be turning the clocks ahead an hour. After speaking about it with people in our office, I realized how divisive this event can be!

While some like the extra daylight when they leave the office, others complain about how tired they are for several weeks until their bodies adjust.

What do you think of Daylight Saving Time – good thing or not so good thing?

Let’s take a look at some of the not so good things about DST, according to msn.com:

  • Daylight savings can cause sleep deprivation: By springing ahead, we can alter our circadian rhythm and this can throw us off for several weeks.
  • DST can put people at greater risk for cardiovascular conditions: A 2014 study found that on the Monday after DST begins, 24% more people have heart attacks than on other Mondays throughout the year. On the flipside, the study noted a 21% decrease in heart attacks the Tuesday after DST ends.
  • It can lead to an increase in workplace injuries: The 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses reported a rise in injuries in the summer months – and a decrease in November and December, after a return to standard time.
  • And more car accidents: Austin C. Smith, an assistant professor of economics at Miami University, reports a 6.3% increase in fatal car accidents for six days following the spring time change.
  • You might be less productive at the office because of DST: DST might also be to blame for “cyberloafing” – the act of wasting time online at work. A series of studies conducted at Pennsylvania State University in 2012 found that on the Monday after the time change employees are more likely to browse websites unrelated to their job.

On the other hand, there are good things about Daylight Saving Time. Here are some interesting tidbits from popularmechanics.com:

  • In the Western world, we typically spend more awake time in the evenings than in the mornings. We also enjoy many benefits from being awake in the sunshine. This leads to an increase in vitamin D, increased exercise, increased socializing, and overall improvements to mental health that come with sunlight.
  • A paper from the Brookings Institute finds that there’s a 7% decrease in crime following the shift to DST. In 2007, when DST was extended through November 1, that drop resulted in an estimated $59 million in savings from robberies not committed. The reason is simple: crimes tend to happen much more often in darkness. Extend the daylight, and crimes, especially outdoor crimes like muggings, go down.
  • Opponents of DST note that, in the week following the spring clock change, traffic accidents spike. But, DST lasts eight months, not a week, and the net effect of DST on traffic accidents is overwhelmingly positive. In fact, studies actually estimate that we could save about 366 more lives per year if we extended DST all year round. It is, very simply, easier to drive in daylight.

So remember to move any clocks – at least those that are not connected to the Internet in some way – ahead one hour.

Have a great weekend, and I hope you’re not too groggy on Monday!

Best Regards,

Taylor

The Wonderful World Of Coupons

Like almost everybody else, I LOVE coupons! And I’m sure most of you do, too. In fact, according to CreditCards.com, 85% of Americans use coupons.

Do you use coupons? If so, where do you get your coupons? Oh, and another thing: A few times I’ve forgotten to bring my (paper) coupons with me to the store. Anyone have any suggestions for remembering to bring and use their coupons? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Anyway, a website called accessdevelopment.com pulled together a massive amount of information about coupons. Here are just a few of the very interesting stats cited:

  • 97% of consumers look for deals when they shop and 92% said they are always looking
  • 81% of consumers search for dining deals on a regular basis
  • 85% of consumers look for coupons prior to visiting a retailer
  • 74% of consumers review circulars and print ads before making a purchase
  • $3.1 billion was saved by consumers in 2017 thanks to coupons
  • 42% of consumers save over $30/week using coupons; 30% save over $50/week
  • Over half of consumers use a coupon in at least one of every four purchases
  • 87% of Millennials, 91% of Generation Xers and 96% of Baby Boomers used coupons in 2016
  • 53% of consumers indicated they invest over two hours a week looking for deals and savings across all sources
  • 55% of consumers said they use both digital and paper coupons
  • 52% of consumers print out digital coupons for use in stores

Finally, here are some useful scanning tips regarding coupons and deals:

  • If you purchase items using a special deal like a coupon, discount, or store sale, please let us know. Manufacturers and retailers really want to know what types of deals you’re using when you buy their products.
  • Many coupons have barcodes on them. Of course we want you to tell us about any coupons you use, but please do not scan the barcode on the coupon. Although the scanner or NCPMobile App may accept the barcode, the information is not readable to us.

Well, I have to get back to clipping my coupons! Have a great weekend, and happy shopping!

Best Regards,

Taylor