Skip to content

A Little Perspective, Please

March 15, 2015

Susan Marg

Different generations see things differently, as the story I received in an email shows very clearly. It goes like this…

Photo by: Road – © muha04

At the grocery store, a young cashier suggested to the older woman customer that she should bring her own bags, reminding her that plastic bags are not good for the environment.

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

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

The older lady, hoping to avoid an argument, but wanting to put the issue in perspective, went on to say, “Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store, in turn, sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized, and refilled. But we didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.


Grocery stores packed our purchases in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable was using them as covers for our schoolbooks. This ensured that public property, as the school provided the books for our use, was not defaced by our scribbling. Still, we were able to personalize our books by writing on the cover. But, too bad we didn’t do the ‘green thing’ back then.

“We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty, instead of using a throw-away cup or plastic bottle. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced dull razor blades instead of throwing the razor away. When mailing a fragile item, we made do with wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. 

 But, no, we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back then.”

“We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every building. We walked to the grocery store, rather than climbing into a 300-horsepower machine to go two blocks. We exercised by working or walking to work, so we didn’t need to run on treadmills requiring electricity. 

But you’re right. We didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in our day.


We washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the disposable kind. We dried our wash on a line, not in an energy-gobbling dryer. To cut the grass, we used a push mower, rather than one that ran on gasoline. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their older relatives, and, no, they weren’t always in latest fashion.

 But, young lady, you’re right; we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in our day.

We had one television and one radio in the house, not in every room. And the television had a small screen the size of a handkerchief. In the kitchen we chopped and mixed by hand, not owning an appliance for each and every task. 

 And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a satellite signal in order to find the nearest burger joint. But you’re right; we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back then.”

Let’s remember how we once lived, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to bridge the generation gap.

© 2015 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: