A young cashier suggested to an elderly lady checking-out at the store that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic wasn’t good for the environment. The elderly woman apologized, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my day.”
The young clerk couldn’t resist continuing her lecture, “That’s our problem today. Your generation didn’t care enough to save our environment for future generations.” The elderly woman let the cashier ramble as she reflected back on ‘her day.’
Back then Americans returned milk, soda and beer bottles to the store. Then the store sent the bottles so they could be sterilized and re-used over and over again. In the elderly woman’s day, they really did recycle instead of manufacturing new.
Back then Americans walked up stairs, they didn’t have escalators in every store or elevators in every office building. They walked to the grocery store, they didn’t jump into a 300-horsepower machine every time they needed to go a few blocks.
Back then Americans washed baby diapers, because they didn’t have disposables. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling dryer. Wind and solar power really did dry their clothes. Kids wore hand-me-downs from their brothers or sisters, they didn’t receive new clothes and they didn’t demand brand names they thought gave them “social status.”
Back then Americans only had one TV or radio — not one in every room or in their cars plus whatever gadget they could carry on their belts and hold in their hands or attach to their ears only to plug them into electrical outlets for recharging every night. The TV back then had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not one the size of Montana.
In the kitchen Americans blended by hand, because they didn’t have electric appliances to do the work for them. When they packaged a fragile item to send by mail they used old newspapers, not purchased styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
Americans didn’t fire up a gasoline powered lawn mower to cut lawns. They pushed a mower that ran on human power. Americans exercised by simply living and working. They didn’t need to drive to the gym using gasoline and electricity.
Their generation drank from a fountain or an outdoor hose, not a new cup or glass nor a plastic bottle every time they were thirsty. They refilled writing pens instead of buying new ones and they replaced razor blades instead of throwing the whole razor away because a blade got dull.
Back then, Americans took a streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes or walked, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen different fixtures. They didn’t need a computer gadget to signal from satellites 2,000 miles to find the nearest pizza joint.
Today’s generation laments how wasteful old folks were, because they didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back then? The moral of this story is, know what you’re talking about before you lecture the elderly. They got a lot of things right back then.