Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Green Thing

Someone posted this story on Facebook today and I like it so much that I'm sharing in its entirety. The story is from 96.7 CHYM FM radio in Canada.

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery 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 young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment f
or future generations."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda 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 truely recycled.

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

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store 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 diapers because we didn't have the throwaway 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. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. 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 mail, 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 gasoline 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 from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. 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 then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms 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 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger 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.

Did you enjoy this rebuttal as much as I did?


  1. What a great post Sanda!
    Lamenting about the lack of "the green thing " our generation lack sounds so ridiculous, especially when reading the way we really saved on everything in the " good old days ".
    And everything mentioned about the past was so true over here in the far Scandinavia. Lots of old people still live in a very frugal way. They save everything worthy for reuse.
    Just wondering how/why did all this " buy and throw away " culture actually start?
    For my part, I am more than ready to go back in history and change my lifestyle to a more simple one.
    Once again, I´ll drag the decluttering thingie into daylight.
    Getting rid of everything you don´t n e e d , since actually we don´t n e e d that much; starting from a clear table feels so much better.
    One thing is so absurd to me about the plastic shopping bags.
    The groceries have changed to the ecobags or paper bags, and at least over here, we have to pay for them.
    But - if you buy something else, from some other place, we are offered plastic bags for FREE, even in doubles, if we ask for them.
    Now how green is that!

  2. 'Waste not want not' was our mantra back then,people shopped with baskets no bags were offered.Socks/lisle stockings were darned.

    Sadly on the radio this morning heard how the English want to pay for the plastic bags rather than lose them so please don't let the young talk about being GREEN here.I always carry bags in the car/handbag.(used the term English because in Wales they charge for bags not sure about Scotland).

    We have become a throw away society,cheap clothes that don't last beyond one wash not even the charity shops will take them.

    Thanks for the post Sanda.Ida

  3. What a great post. I sure remember all those things from the "old days" and still practice many of them myself.


  4. I agree with all the comments you have made above. We don't pay for plastic bags yet in the U.S. It truly is a throw-away society we live in.


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