Look Who’s Telling Who How to be Green

I always encounter interesting conversations and confrontations while in line at the grocery store. It makes for many great stories. Just the other day, I overheard yet another interesting conversation between the cashier and an older shopper. The cashier told the woman that she should consider bringing re-usable grocery bags, because it is better for the environment. The grocery happens to sell bags for $1.00, which is clearly marked at every checkout. So, the cashier could have certainly been more tactful in her approach to sell a re-usable bag, “We have these wonderful and trendy bags for just a $1 you could use for groceries, or just about anything you’d like, if you’re interested in purchasing one?” would be the first approach that would come to my mind. Clearly this cashier needed a little more customer service training before starting, but I digress.

The older shopper politely declined, to which the cashier replied, “That’s right, your generation didn’t have the green thing back in your day. I guess no one was concerned enough about saving the environment back then.” Well! I would have loved to chime in, but with my two kids becoming restless with our shopping excursion, I had to keep my focus on them. Unbeknownst to me, this delicate and sweet older woman was perfectly capable of fighting her own fight. In response she said, “Oh, that’s right, our generation didn’t have the green thing in our day. 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’re right, we didn’t have the green thing in our day. Oh, and back then we washed baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the disposable kind. We dried clothes on a line by wind and solar power, not in an energy-gobbling machine. Shall I go on,” she asked? The cashier stood dumb founded. “Back then we had one TV or radio in the house, not a TV in every room, and the screen was the size of a handkerchief, not a billboard. In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand, because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. We drank from a water fountain instead of using a plastic bottle every time we were thirsty. Back then kids rode their bikes to school or walked, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. It is sad though how you young people point out how wasteful us old folk were, just because we didn’t have the green thing back then.”

I guess she told her! It would have really been a great story if the store had broken out in cheers and hollers, but there was just silence. The crimson shade of red on the defeated cashier’s face, said it all, and the victorious older woman thanked her and headed out the door.

I’m sure the cashier will think twice before reprimanding a helpless old lady again. HA! Oh, how I always look forward to what jaw dripping story my next trip to the grocery might bring.