Dorothy couldn’t believe the comment that the insufferable woman had said. She had been good to the store for so many years and no one ever made her feel so bad.
She looked over at the woman behind the counter and stopped packing her things into a bag. The woman needed to be put in her place, and Dorothy knew she had to be the woman to do it.
It’s not like she wanted to go into the grocery store. But it’s a reality that everyone has to face, Dorothy knew that.
Dorothy was getting old but still had to do all her shopping herself. But she had no idea that what started out as an ordinary day would change dramatically all thanks to a rude cashier.
She pulled out her weekly shopping list and walked down the aisles with her shopping basket.
She ticked off everything and walked to the counter where the cashier was. She unloaded all of her items and smiled at the woman behind the counter. But she was bewildered after hearing what the cashier had to say to her.
It was a lot of items and her shopping trolley was full. Being a bit older she took her time slowly putting everything on the counter. The cashier rolled their eyes as she pulled out the bags she brought with her.
The woman scanned each item, sighing between each of them. It seemed that she hadn’t had to scan this many items for a single shop all day.
The cashier clearly had a problem with her. She asked her how many bags she’d need and Dorothy looked at her items. She had no idea so she started to take some of the bags she brought with her and started to put the items in them.
The frustrated cashier went to help her pack and remarked. “You know, plastic bags are not good for the environment!”
Dorothy was caught off guard by the snide comment. She had been a loyal customer for many years and no one had ever treated her this way.
Looking at the woman after hearing the remark she merely said, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my day.” Dorothy thought that there wouldn’t be any other issues, but the cashier had other plans.
The cashier thought that Dorothy was backpedaling and decided to go on the offensive, but she clearly didn’t know Dorothy.
“That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations,” the woman rudely said. Dorothy hated hearing that, the cashier didn’t know her from a bar of soap, how could she make that assumption? But Dorothy just smiled and knew that she could get the last laugh.
“Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles, and beer bottles to the store,” Dorothy quickly replied.
“The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back in our day.” And she didn’t stop there.
“Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books,” Dorothy recalled.
“This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But, too bad we didn’t do the ‘green thing’ back then.”
By now, there was quite a long line behind Dorothy. The cashier just wanted to get rid of her so she could serve the other customers.
Some of them were getting impatient with the delay, but others seemed to be struck by Dorothy’s words and were eagerly listening to what she had to say. And she wasn’t done yet.
Dorothy continued talking as she packed her cart. “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 are right. We didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in our day.
Each statement hammering home the fact that in many respects the older generations lived much ‘greener’ than modern generations.
Dorothy was in full swing now and continued going. Most of the customers had fallen silent at her words.
“Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But, young lady, you are right; we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back in our day.”
In modern society, TV has become a central part of the so-called ‘nuclear family’. It took merely a decade since they were available on the mass market for TVs to be in almost every home.
“Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room,” Dorothy said. “And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana.”
Dorothy realized that she was holding up the queue, but it was clear that the people were taking note of what she said.
Many of them were smiling at the anecdotes she was sharing while the cashier was still at a loss for words. No one knew what she would say next. She saw her chance to finally drive her point home.
She moved her tirade into the realm of the kitchen and the ways they prepared food.
“In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.” Then, Dorothy turned to the people behind her in the queue, flexed her arm, and winked. Then, she continued.
“Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power,” Dorothy said.
“We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But you’re right; we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back then.” But Dorothy still wasn’t done.
As she placed her bag into her trolley Dorothy talked about both public and private transportation.
“Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the ‘green thing.’”
Then, Dorothy went on to talk about the devices that have control over virtually every aspect of our lives.
“We only had one outlet per room, not an entire row of plugs to power more than a dozen electrical appliances. And we didn’t need a fancy gadget to get a signal from 23,000 miles in space to find the closest burger joint.”
By now, the people in line were all slowly nodding their heads. And the condescending cashier?
She was staring at Dorothy, flabbergasted and at a complete loss for words. Dorothy had only been talking for a few minutes, but the woman didn’t have a single retort. She was hoping that Dorothy would just leave her to get on with her day. Maybe that would teach her to keep her smart mouth to herself.
Dorothy finally finished her tirade and walked away, calmly pushing her brimming cart to her car.
But what she didn’t realize was that someone in the line had recorded everything she had to say. She drove home and didn’t give the incident another thought. She never expected her insightful speech to have the impact it did.
In just two days, Dorothy’s speech had gone viral. The person who recorded it in the grocery store posted it on Facebook word-for-word.
People just couldn’t get enough of the feisty older lady’s response to the rude cashier and the amazing glimpse of life back then. It wasn’t long before the story racked up a staggering 2.2 million shares and views.