It’s Not So Easy to Replace a Light Bulb

Who knew?

Certainly not me!

I entered the Tigard Fred Meyer store with no idea that a new era had begun!

Earlier in the day, one of my parents’ light bulbs had burned out. Digging through my parents’ stash of extra light bulbs, I found no similar replacement for the twisted compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) that had met its demise.

Desiring to be of service to my parents, I thought, “I’ll go to the store and pick up a replacement. No problem.”

However, when I reached the aisle of light bulbs of various sizes, various light intensities, and more light bulb information than my I’m-not-in-South-Africa-anymore brain could handle, I became paralyzed.

light bulbs

Where was the replacement bulb?

As I scanned the hundreds of light bulbs, it was apparent that there were no compact fluorescent bulbs on any of these shelves.

This was supposed to be a simple fetch and run exercise for me. Instead, I was staring down hundreds of light bulbs that extinguished every little bit of shopping confidence I had had when I set out to replace one stinkin’ light bulb!

My dejected and confused disposition attracted attention. A Fred Meyer employee approached me and asked if he could assist me.

I shared my dilemma of trying to secure a CFL.

The man shook his head.

He said that my efforts were for naught. Apparently, Fred Meyer stopped selling CFL light bulbs over six months ago. In fact, he said, General Electric began phasing fluorescent light bulbs out in favor of LED (light emitting diode) bulbs two years ago. They stopped manufacturing CFLs altogether soon thereafter.

I had no idea.

I’ve been out of the country for more than two years and in that time a new light bulb era had begun!

My Fred Meyer friend took pity on me and helped me make sense of all of this light bulb business. He assured me that selecting a light bulb can be an overwhelming proposition!

Who knew?

In time, I selected and purchased a set of light bulbs for my parents’ light fixture and escaped the store in one piece.

Once back at my parents’ home, I installed the light bulb in the fixture base and then replaced the globe light fixture. I did it all by myself. My confidence made a tentative comeback.

Friends, I never know what kind of surprise lessons I am going to have when I return to the United States after being out of the country for a lengthy period of time. Certainly, I didn’t anticipate having a lesson in light bulb education. But, I did.

When I return to South Africa, will I find CFLs? Well, if I go to any Builder’s Warehouse in Johannesburg, I can assure you, I will. These bulbs are still on the South Africa market – at least for now.

The new era in light bulbs hasn’t reached the African continent quite yet.

Having one foot in the United States and one foot in South Africa truly keeps me on my toes as I determine what the norms are for each world! It can be discombobulating.

However, it can be fun, too.

I wonder what I will discover next?

3 thoughts on “It’s Not So Easy to Replace a Light Bulb

  1. Ha! I went into Home Depoe a few years back, and ran into the same problem. A man began explaining the physics in the bulds, and the better replacement. I was in a smarty pants mood, and I said, What are you a rocket scientist? His answer was…Actually yes, and he proceeded to recite his CV! Ha! I now have a bag full of those twisted bulbs not wanting to throw them away, but not wanting to use them. There is safty in many things we have in the USA that others miss. I am glad you are home safely! Hug your mom and dad for me! I hope you can visit Bible Study next Wednesday. They pray for you and your family!

    1. Thank you, Nancy. What an experience you had! It is great to be with my parents and enjoying this precious time together. I’ll be sure to give my mom and dad a hug! Blessings and love to you, heather

  2. Oh yes. Congress passed a law years ago to ban the old style bulbs. And now we have to try to figure out which bulbs for where! You are not alone in this dilemma. I remember decades ago I came back to U.S. and Bell Telephone was no more. Telecommunications had been deregulated. There were multiple phone choices. In a hotel I could not call my husband long distance because we had no “phone carrier” and he was at his new duty station and so was driving with kids to my mother’s house 1,000’s of miles away. I could not Call collect because he was in VOQ ( a military hotel). As I started to cry because I could not talk to his reassuring voice, a desk clerk said to use her home phone code number. I tried to pay her but she refused. God provides His angels just like He did for you!

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