Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own shopping bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The cashier  responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right – our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day. Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The  store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. 

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every shop and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. 

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room.  The TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the  size of the county of Yorkshire. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the post, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.  Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank water from a fountain or a tap when we were thirsty instead of demanding a plastic bottle flown in from another country.  We accepted that a lot of food was seasonal and didn’t expect that to be bucked by flying it thousands of air miles around the world.  We actually cooked food that didn’t come out of a packet, tin or plastic wrap and we could even wash our own vegetables and chop our own salad. 

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the tram or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad, the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Remember:  Don’t make old people mad. They don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to stir them up.

Share this with another selfish older person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart-ass young person.

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4 Comments on The Green Thing

  1. Lynn
    16 April 2012 at 16:15 (10 years ago)

    I saw this one before and totally loved it!!! I agree, don’t make us more mature people mad!!! LOL!!!!

  2. Maggie B.
    16 April 2012 at 16:51 (10 years ago)

    You make a good point. But don’t forget that a lot of people are still living that way – I loathe my clothes dryer and only use it for towels and sheets, my town doesn’t even have public transportation and I’m fairly certain a taxi would never even find my house.

    Another thing… odds are this young cashier had no idea what was going on two generations ago because no one ever told her. Likely she never learned about it in school, and maybe there aren’t any grandparents for her to talk to. And, of course, teenagers these days can’t quite imagine a world where their gratification isn’t instant.

    Funny stuff, generational history. What will kids be saying in 20 years?

  3. Lynette
    18 April 2012 at 11:44 (10 years ago)

    We didn’t do to badly back then, did we? I think the cashier was extremely rude to the customer.

  4. dimi
    20 April 2012 at 13:42 (10 years ago)

    Go Wendy! I totally agree! You don’t talk like that to people – the least you can do when you want to say your opinion to someone who didn’t ask for it, is to say it in a nicer, polite way. And older people deserve some credit and respect for already existing on this planet for a longer period of time than you… I missed you dear! I love the sassy and classy look of the new blog, it’s much closer to your character (as far as I can tell).
    Blogging is over for me (for now?) as you probably have noticed! The reasons are many. (one of them is my luck of inspiration due to the extremely difficult period my country is going through. Greece is a total mess right now and I could go on analyzing that for ever!). I sometimes write comments over at Shybiker’s, because Ally is the first person I met through blogging and a favorite meeting place for most of my other favorite bloggers… But my email account is on the left side of my blog. I’m not deleting it, in case you (and other blog-friends) want to communicate via email. I’d love to get some of your news!!