Monday, July 30, 2012

Secret Environmental Scourge: Old People?

 Broadway malls, Jun 2008 - 202Call this an unfair generalization if you must, but are old people killing the planet? Follow me as I meander on a barely-substantiated round of wild speculation.

I stopped by Market Basket in Massachusetts last weekend and got some flowers for my girlfriend. I couldn't find any plastic bags to keep the flowers from dripping, but when I got to the register, the cashier offered to get me one. "Why don't you just keep them next to the flowers?" I asked.

"People take them, especially older people," she replied. Why? She shrugged, "Why do they ask for extra paper and plastic grocery bags? They like free stuff, even if it's worthless."

The next day I was at Dunkin Donuts and noticed a sign next to the register: "We will no longer be giving out extra cups out of concern for the environment." I've never seen even a whisper of green out of Dunkin Donuts before, so I have to assume this is really 4an economic concern that could go one of two ways - people are ordering a larger coffee size and splitting them, or people are asking for free cups because they want free crap.

I first noticed this phenomenon while working the Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment booth at the Arlington County Fair. The older the attendee, the more they want to stuff their goodie bag with anything you had to offer. I mean, once you're over 10 years old, why would you want a free pencil? Sure, they could've been taking it for a grandchild, but there was no apparent method to the bag-packing madness - they just took one of everything & moved on to the next table.

I understand that many seniors grew up needing to save and now are getting by on limited incomes, but businesses don't give stuff away unless individual items are of very low value anyway (i.e. if you're going to take coffee cups, why not just spend $2 on a ceramic mug that will last almost forever and save you hundreds of trips to DD?)

What do you think? And if Glenn Beck were drawing up a Secret Soros-Funded UN-Backed Liberal Scheme on the ol' chalkboard to correct this problem, what would it look like? Has to be some sort of forcible geriatric green re-education camps, am I right?
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