L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

21 June 2007 Blog Home : June 2007 : Permalink

My Parents Are Not The Only Ones

Alice Thompson's parents are just as stingy. Or if you prefer just as green and ecologically sound. As she says people of the wrinkly (if not crumbly) generation, the ones who think it normal to walk to the shops, eat everything in the fridge before buying more, darn their clothes, wear their clothes for a few days between washings etc. are intriniscally green. It is us young folk who are wasteful.

It occurs to me that there is in fact a good reason for this. They grew up, as Alice says, expecting to spend a significant chunk of their disposable income of food and other necessities. This gives you an incentive to not waste things. Today we are all so much richer that there doesn't seem much point.

An Example. I just chucked a kettle away, it cost me €12 I think when I bought it two years ago. It was the second or third such cheapo kettle we've had in the past 7 years here in France so on average I guess we've spent about €4 a year on kettles up to now. She Who Must Be Obeyed decreed that we would buy a slightly posher kettle (Rowenta €50 but made in China just like the cheapo ones) this time around so we'll see if that lasts any longer. Compare this to my parents who still use the kettle I left behind when I left the UK nearly 20 years ago. Admittedly this old kettle has not been in continuous use, they kept it as a spare to their existing one and nursed that along with various tweaks and "you have to hit it on the side sometimes to get it to start" sorts of thing for far longer than I would have. Indeed I did figure out that "you have to hit it on the side sometimes to get it to start" worked on the kettle I just threw away, but really I couldn't see why I should bother when a replacement (even the up market Rowenta) was no more than a decent meal out at a local restaurant.