I listened to some folks from older generations discussing an age I can hardly imagine. They described growing up living in rural areas, unaware they were literally ages behind their urban counterparts and poor besides.
I thought how there are many lessons that would apply from this generation that was shaped and defined by the Great Depression. Now that my generation claims the Great Recession, what could I learn?
For one thing, they wasted nothing. But for another, they didn’t buy stuff to begin with. Just consider some of the items commonly sold that this generation would never consider buying:
Water – These Depression babies vividly remember the miracle of having water available on tap rather than at a well or spring. They can tell you that having to go “fetch” water every time you need it gives you a whole different perspective on the merits of tap.
They still can’t believe people could prefer shopping for, carrying, chilling, and finally disposing or recycling bottles for something that can be dispensed into your favorite glass at the push of a lever.
Ice – You know that if regular water wouldn’t make their cut, neither does frozen. As far as I know, they have never bought a bag of ice. Why would they when, with foresight and planning, anyone can make use of ice trays or empty milk jugs and the freezer? I feel so lazy running to the store for ice before a party when I know they would just pull out the ice pick and get to work (“it’s good exercise”).
Garden Compost/manure – Having grown up on farms, these folks well understand the merits of manure. They just can’t bring themselves to ever pay money for it.
Bookmarks – Who would buy a bookmark (even from the school spirit store) when the very dollar you spend would serve the purpose just as well? Besides, what else can you do with all those otherwise useless bill stuffers?
Coffee Shop coffees – They distrust any place that can stay in business “just selling coffee.”
I have so much to learn from these people, who have all managed to overcome the setbacks of the Great Depression, wars, and tremendous responsibilities even in youth. The Great Recession would affect us much less if we reconsidered some of the things they would never buy.