The older generations have lived through a lot. Their life experiences have given them wisdom that younger people should listen to and learn from.
Sadly, young people often feel like they know better. At least, that’s what one cashier thought when she saw an elderly woman coming through her checkout line.
As the older woman began to check out, the cashier condescendingly told her she should start bringing her own grocery bags to the store because the “plastic bags are not good for the environment.”
The woman was taken aback. She apologized and explained that “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”
Thinking she had put the old woman in her place, the cashier haughtily told her, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
That’s when the older woman decided she had had enough, and her response to the rude cashier has since gone viral:
“Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles, and beer bottles to the store,” she said. “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. 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 school books. 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 you are 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 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, young lady, you are 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, 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 you’re 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 blade 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 in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the ‘green thing.’ 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?”
The cashier stood speechless as the woman gathered up her things and left the store. I’m sure she’ll think twice before chastising her elders again!
Oftentimes, the younger generations think they know better, but maybe it’s time they listened to their elders. Those “old folks” might just have it right!
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