“Because I can” is the stupidest reason ever

The hardest thing is to take less when you can get more.
~Kin Hubbard

I see people every day at work who grab a double-handful of paper napkins and then fail to use but one of them. “Well, I might use them.” You might. Why not just grab one, and when you’ve used that, grab another? Why waste the restaurant’s money by grabbing more than you need? Do you really think those are free?

Why drive a vehicle bigger than you need to? Why run up a credit card buying useless bullshit? Why pay someone else to do something that you can easily do on your own?

Because you can?

Doing something “because you can” is, in fact, the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. It indicates you’re either too lazy or so stupid you’d much rather waste three hours of your life paying someone to do something you can do yourself in one.

We’ve become a society of convenience. Just because paper is cheap does not mean that we need a new paper cup every fucking time we go to work. Someone still has to pay for those cups, and if you follow the trail far enough, it’s probably you.

Take, for example, the paper cups at work. Employees are allowed to grab one and get a soda. This results in pretty much everyone grabbing a soda before they leave for the day. Well, the company has to pay for that cup. Yeah, the price is pretty damn small, but they do. And if/when the price of the paper cups goes up, the company will eat it for a while but eventually will pass the buck on to either the customers (higher prices) or the employees (decreased benefits, fewer hours, etc). All this for the convenience of not having to bring or wash out a simple reusable mug, thermos, old coke bottle, whatever.

There are more examples strewn all over this blog. Cars, houses, clothing, the list goes on.

So much of our economy and culture is based on disposable, unnecessary, and instantly gratifying products and services. And we’re told it’s patriotic. “And I encourage you all to go shopping more.” This. From our thankfully former president. Go shopping for more bullshit trinkets to mire yourself further in debt to further sustain an economy that should exist to serve us. Because it’s for the greater good. Supposedly.

Just because you can afford something, or because something looks like it’s free (trust me, nothing is truly free) does not mean that it’s a good idea. Just because we can genetically modify organisms or because we can dam(n) up a river for cheaper power doesn’t necessarily mean we should.

And just because I have a blog does not mean I can say the same damn thing in five different ways.

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7 Responses to ““Because I can” is the stupidest reason ever”

  1. I agree.

    Did you notice recently that McDonald’s now asks you how much ketchup you want or need. They only give you two ketchup packets, or, put sugar in your coffee, instead of handing you thousands of packets. Whether frugality or environmentalism, this is a great idea!

    Also: Brownsville (my hometown) has outlawed plastic bags– the phase out begins this year and will be formally implemented starting January 2011! I hope this spreads to the rest of Texas!

    • But have they outlawed *paper* bags?

      I do occasionally appreciate the occasional plastic bag, but for the most part I just get annoyed at having another one. Which is why I started taking my canvas bags in the first place.

      I’d be interested to see what the general public thinks about the whole thing.

    • Dargon Says:

      I read an article which showed that everywhere plastic bags have been banned, plastic garbage bag sales have gone up. I know I use my plastic bags for garbage and the like.

  2. great post–it’s something that I work on with my husband–just because it’s free doesn’t meet we need to take it!

    And I totally agree with the paper bag comment. Whole Foods (which, ironically, is one of the more reasonably priced grocery stores here in NYC) no longer gives out plastic bags, but will let you get a paper bag. I reuse my plastic, but paper are just recycled. I do try to remember to bring my bags with me, but occasionally I forget or just buy too much. And if you’ve ever tried to put a gallon of milk in a paper bag, you know it has to be doubled and then with a wish and a prayer that it doesn’t fall apart during the long walk home.

    • I have the same problem with paper. Plastic bags can be reused in many ways (I often put the recycling in them or use them for trash can liners). Paper bags, not so much…I usually end up using them to put Goodwill donations in, as the recycling center doesn’t like to take them.

  3. Trisha Says:

    You would love Europe. I love Europe for what they do here!

    On my first day at my host family’s house, my host father explained how to operate the shower and other useful things about the house. This house is economical. With my fellow student Catie, there are 7 people living in this house with one shower. The rooms have minimal appliances and each has a radiator connected to a central system and you get heat on demand depending on the room. This is nice, saves energy and can be easily turned off when you leave.

    We also have to be careful about our water usage and my host father showed me a way to be use the water efficiently. Tips i will certainly be using and sharing when I come back in May.

    I have noticed that Europe is very conservative about how they use their resources because it is so costly and there isn’t much to go around. It isn’t even necessary to own a car here, there’s electric powered trains that can get you anywhere you need to go that isn’t walking distance.

    It really makes me see how bloody wasteful America is. I feel almost ashamed of myself, even though my habits weren’t that terrible. I hate the ‘because I can’ excuse too. It is basically giving yourself permission to be lazy, wasteful and a jackass to everyone you meet. *sigh* I wish America would learn a little from Germany’s example and be more considerate.

    • If it weren’t for the climate I’d be saving up to move to Europe already.

      America’s biggest problem has always been our biggest asset: resources. We’re so used to have nearly limitless land, ore, water, etc, etc, that we don’t know how to conserve.

      And I’m looking forward to those tips! :D

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