Do you remember when buying a lightbulb used to be so simple? In the good old days of buying a lightbulb you really only had three decisions to make.
- First, do you want frosted glass or clear glass?
- Second, do you want 40, 60 or 100 Watts?
- And finally, do you want a bayonet or screw fitting?
That was it, that covered everything. You simply answered those three questions and walked out the store holding one of these.
The incandescent light bulb
Yes, that incandescent light bulb is mine, I own it. I brought it to this country in 2007 when I moved from the UK. I’ve kept it ever since and yes, it does still work, but I don’t use it. I keep it in a cupboard under the kitchen sink, in a dark corner on the left hand side.
Can’t be too careful, I might get raided by the police or customs; incandescent light bulbs are no longer welcome in Australia. An import restriction was first applied in February 2009 and by November of the same year sales were also restricted.
Alas, the simplicity of buying a lightbulb is no more. Buying a lightbulb here in Australia is a very tricky and complicated process. I’m wondering if it’s as difficult for you where you live as it is for me where I live?
Here is the lightbulb section from a supermarket close to where I live.
Here I could buy LED globes, LED GLS, spiral light bulbs, halogens, pearl, slim, circular lights, spotlights, large screw fitting, small screw fitting, bayonet, dimmable bulbs and non-dimmable bulbs, downlights and each has different lifetime estimates and lumen numbers.
But this is just a small selection.
In my house, for example, I have many different light fittings. I have screw in spotlights outside, I have some screw in bulbs inside, some large and some small. I also have bayonet fittings indoors, and in some of my lampshades I can only fit the short spiral light bulbs, not the tall ones. I also have downlights with two small straight pins as connectors and I also have other bulbs with two connecting larger pins, like nipples; this fitting is affectionately known as GU10.
Oh, I also have some 12 volt light fittings as well as 240 V.
So, when Mrs Bob says “a bulb has gone, can you change it?” my answer isn’t a simple yes as it used to be, it’s now “let me check the electrical lightbulb supply section of the garage to see if the particular part we require is in stock.”
Often as not, as Murphy’s Law states, I don’t have the required bulb and I need to go to the large hardware store about 25 minutes drive away because the section (see image above) in the supermarket is not sufficient.
The hardware store
The hardware store has a better selection, here is one of the isles…
We are privileged in this image to witness two confused shoppers, one on his knees, desperately looking for the exact kind of lightbulb they require for their home. I believe these two are working as a team, the second person is on her feet looking at a different section in an attempt to reduce their overall search time…
Here are the same two isles from a different angle to give the impression of even more bulbs, as if anybody could think there aren’t enough bulbs already…
Here our confused shoppers can choose from antique filament globes, eco-halogen globes, floodlights, bi-pin lamps, candle shaped lamps, lustre shaped lamps, warm white, cool daylight, 12 V, 240 V, small bayonet, large bayonet, small screw, large screw, and don’t even get me started on the fluoros. That’s fluorescent lights, see An Australian Story By A. Whacka, they are all in a different isle altogether…
So, what’s it like buying a lightbulb where you live?