Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Monday, March 22, 2010

It’s So Sleazy Being Green* (Sometimes) #217

Ladies. Gentlemen. Please permit me a little preambulation before I mount the pulpit and invite the wrath of the gods to smite those who have offended me.

Preamble One:

Here are some things that really bug me: bullying, lying and hypocrisy. They’ve always bugged me and always will. They aren’t the only things, of course. There’s Joan Rivers. And her face. And don’t get me started on mosquitoes or voice mail. But bullies, liars and hypocrites can always make the bell ring atop my Pissoff-O-Meter.

Preamble Part Deux:

This may come as shock to some of my American readers but despite being a Canadian, I am not a communist. Or even much of a socialist. I believe in capitalism. Businesses should make a profit.

Preamble The Last & Intro To The Main Event - Enviroman vs Greedzilla:

I’m fairly environmentally conscious. As a lifelong angler, I probably appreciate pristine, natural environments more than most. Many of my early newspaper columns in the 70s were devoted to raising awareness of the effects of acid rain and other habitat issues. I believe in recycling and have switched nearly all my light bulbs to those weird curly jobbies.

But I’m not an eco-nut, or eco-nazi or whatever term is being used these days to describe/denigrate those who are exceptionally environmentally conscious. I still buy and use paper plates occasionally. At least once every week or two, I lazily toss a tin can into the nearest garbage instead of walking a few more steps to the recycling bin.

And all of my bills are mailed to my home. They are printed on paper and mailed in paper envelopes.

Many companies are upset with me about that.

Why-oh-why do I hate trees? Do I not understand how many could be saved if I simply switched to online billing and/or automatic withdrawal?

Yes, actually, I do. Well, not precisely how many, but I imagine that over the course of time it would be quite a few trees. Gobs of them in fact, if everybody switched.

And I’m a huge fan of trees. On top of the wonderful things they add to the planet and to our lives, I believe they possess spirit. I respect and admire them greatly.

But I don’t for one minute think that the phone, cable, gas, electric, and all those other companies are losing sleep over the amount of trees they’re killing because of my stubborn refusal to switch to a paperless system.

Nope. Nuh-uh.

It’s not a lofty environmental conscience that has them spend money on monthly (paper!) inserts and expensive advertisements, pleading with us darn tree-haters to change our evil, selfish ways.

No, the truth is, they want to save money. They could save bundles of cash if they didn’t have to print, stuff and pay postage to mail those bills. They wouldn’t just be saving big bucks on supplies. Nosiree. Think of all the employees that would be made redundant! They could trim a substantial part of the payroll if they get me, and all those other stubborn old farts, on board.

Think of what they could do with all that newfound money! Why, they could reduce our bills! Or donate the savings to a worthy environmental cause! Or they could take that money and pay for retraining those laid-off employees! They could even, godbless’em, do all three!

Or maybe they could just filter it to their shareholders and toss the execs a few extra million in bonuses.

Which scenario do you see happening?

Me too. And it ticks me off.

I wish just one of them would admit that yeah, the saving-trees thing is cool but it’s the improved bottom line that really counts.

But none of them will. They’re hypocritical liars trying to bully us into being green in order to cut costs, eliminate salaries and pad their bank accounts.

I intend to help envelope stuffers and postal workers keep their jobs as long as I can. So, keep those bills and statements coming.

But I do believe I’ll plant a tree this year.

*Apologies to Joe Raposo and Kermit.


Anonymous said...

I too prefer to get my bills on paper, whenever possible. But, ummm, does that make me a stubborn old fart?

Hilary said...

Clever punny title. I don't know where you get that. ;)

I can't say I've been actively approached to change over from having my bills mailed but I do save further trees and postage costs by paying them all online. I just find that part a lot easier to do.

Good rant. :)

bobbie said...

Oh, don't even talk to me about Joan Rivers!

I too choose paper billing. I'm one of those weird people who doesn't trust the internet that far. Don't do any banking there. Just an old fashioned girl, I guess.

Leah J. Utas said...

I want paper billing because a paper trail is safer and easier for me to keep track of. And I don't by their green argument for a moment. Good on you for calling them out on it.

Anonymous said...

I guess it was just psychic of me to open your item before the AT&T "Plant a tree in your name" B.S., even though the sequence of arrival was actually the reverse. I took a $10 Target gift card to go paperless on my newspaper subscription, and they used the change as an excuse to raise the price and tighten the billing frequencies. Bastards all.

Bruce Robinson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Robinson said...

Pssst. You . . . Keep this under your hat, will ya?

I agree with you Canucks, at least two of ya', well, one more than the other.

I says, make 'em mail the bill and I pay it the 'puter.

We got so much paper around here, me an' the wife, that I started scanning the bills and the e-receipts int' the 'puter.

'Course I didn't go so fast that I losed track a' stuff. I got about a foot high pile here on the desk waitin' t' be scanned.

I gotta get around t' that sometime. Soon. Wife's grousin' 'bout the dust or somethin'.

As for Joan, they can't bury her. That face ain't biodegradable. It will, and does, live on forever. Sheesh, talk about nightmares . . . Pity the poor schmuck that digs that thing up in the future.

Opps. Sorry for the strong language. I forgot there was ladies present.

Anyway, don't tell nobody 'bout me sidin' with the Canucks on this. My fellow countrymen get sensitive 'bout some things in particular.

Thumbelina said...

You're funny when you rant. But you're right. ;0)

You ain't communist?
Dash it.
And I thought your country was so close to that other communist country... oh yeah. Forgot. That's Alaska. :0/

(only kidding my Amerikan friends.)

Skunkfeathers said...

1. I tend to agree.

2. Someone said, 'cuz youse north of h'yar, that youse commie? I musta missed that 'un somewhar in the translation, Comrade ;) Eh...I work with a commie..he thinks we should all live in one room shacks and drive Yugos, if we have to have a carski at all. Phffft.

3. I like trees. Fell outta plenty of 'em in my youth. Still been knowd to walk thru 'em and talk to myself therein. If a tree responds, I'll wet myself, but I digress.

As for paper...I attended a seminar in 1980, that proclaimed we'd be a paperless society by 2000. I generate more paper in my job today, than I did in 1980. Phffft.

Let's go fishin', Comrade ;)

Lori A. Basiewicz said...

We do not have curbside recycling where I live, yet I recycle, taking the time and effort to sort our plastics, tin, aluminum, and paper into separate bins and drop them off whenever they're full and I plan to be passing by the recycling place, but I also keep getting paper bills.

You're right. The only reason the corporations have jumped on the environmental bandwagon is to save money. The only reason the politicians have is because the corporations desire it.

Yeah. I'm turning into a nutjob who stands on the street corner and yells at people as they pass on by.

Dianne said...

Amen! Amen! Amen!

If they really wanted to save some trees they could stop paying themselves so much paper money

I'm chuckling at the comment above
I want to stand on Wall Street and harass the bastards as they do their perp walk from the town car to their office

I do all the stuff that keeps people in their jobs - I go to the teller, I refuse to use the self checkout at the grocer

Frank Baron said...

Not at all, Cas. You'd be a stubborn old fartette. ;)

Thanks Hil. I pay online now too. It's darn handy. :)

Bobbie, I was pretty reluctant to do any transactions online too. But no more. Security is pretty good on the net these days as long as you're dealing with a legit organization.

Yep, Leah. Paper accumulates but it's good to have a hard copy that can be double-checked.

Cay, I guess that's why they're rich. Let's just hope they're also plagued by anal boils.

Bruce, my lips are sealed. And nobody except me reads the comments anyway. Pretty sure....

Thanks Thumbelina. :)

Sounds like a plan, Skunky. Fishing season is just around the corner in these parts.

Lori, it's easier to be a nutjob on internet corners. You can stay dry and warm and lounge in your PJs. :)

Dianne, I'm with you on the self-checkout thing. I make a point of telling store staff that I won't ever use one. (I sure hope the day doesn't come when they're the only option.)

Grayquill said...

You are asking an awful lot...to be told the truth. The truth is just bad marketing, it just doesn't sell. Besides Madison Avenue can not be limited to creative truth. Falsehood has so much to offer.
I hate to say it but I got tricked two months ago by my bank. Think of this. No more bank statements. No written record of my accounts any where. One day I suddenly get hit by a Mac truck. Grayquill, killed dead. My kids start calling banks trying to find GQ's money...the banks say to my kids. Who is GQ, we never heard of him...

The bank gets all my money - All $12.00.

Charlie said...

*Chunky's trip to the mailbox*

Lemme see now ... one, two, annudder, annudder ... must be what, two dozen things in here ... how many are bills? Three? How many are letters from family, postcards from people I actually know ... zero. So, twenty-one clods of paper extolling the savings on toilet paper, kleenex....

Yeah, going to paperless billing is going to stave off deforestation. And Taylor Swift is going to sing on key at the next Grammy Awards. :)

Travis Erwin said...

But the post office is glad you still get real mail.

Frank Baron said...

Sad story GQ. That's why I keep my money safe under my mattress.

Charlie, you made me wince at the memory. Poor Stevie Nicks....

Travis, that's for certain.

Thanks for the visits, folks. :)

Barbara Martin said...

Do not concern yourself about being accused of killing trees because you like paper. There's enough recycled paper to reuse, and still save trees. I like paper too: books, newspapers, paper towels, kleenex, outhouse paper...

Frank Baron said...

A fine list, Barbara. I think you got most of the important ones. And much as I dislike the notion of cutting down a healthy tree, they are a renewable resource - unlike too many.

Anonymous said...

Well.... it appears I have competition here for writing the last check in the world and having it framed and placed in the Smithsonian Institution. Sounds like which ever kicks the bucket first loses... hee hee. :) The Bach

Anonymous said...

Gosh...I cut down a real tree on our property this year. I thought I would get into the Christmas spirit because the grandkids were coming over. I walked past this tree about four times..before I could actually cut it down. I justified it...by telling myself..it was growning to close to the other trees. Took it home decorated it...looked really nice with all those found buck antlers I've been collecting. When the season was over and the dried tree came down...I was so angry at myself for cutting this little tree...never again will I do this. I guess I am one of those strange tree hugger types! I also pay my bills on line. Ouch!

Frank Baron said...

Bach, there's gotta be a few other diehards out there younger than us.

Karmacat, I like a real tree at Christmas and have cut my own at times. When the season is done, I'll put the tree in the yard for extra cover for the birds and animals. And it eventually goes back to the earth (like the rest of us). (And I pay my bills online too.) ;)

Bernita said...

As in the survey choices - I strongly agree.
And since I do a lot of green, I strongly resist these guilt-trip exhortations.

Frank Baron said...

Good for you, Bernita.