Archive for April, 2010

For Earth Day: A plea for you to be a pain in the ass, because I’m so discouraged that I leave my lights on when I’m not home.

Sometimes I leave all my lights on when I leave the house.

It’s not because I like wasting money, or even because I like changing the climate.

It’s because I work in energy efficiency, and have given up in desperation. (Maybe that’s overdramatic. I’m also going to law school. SEE!? I’m so desperate that I’m selling my soul to go to law school.)

We have a HUGE cultural change to make. Huge.

Because no business is going to listen to me. Inertia is stronger than logic, and most of the time inertia is even stronger than the promise of money saved.

But if you, a customer, request a change?

Businesses will listen. Especially if there is more than one of you.

Vote with your dollar. You have more power than you think.

Ask why the business is still using incandescent bulbs when there are $1 compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs at Ace Hardware down the street. Ask why the faucet in the restroom pours water out faster than Niagra Falls when low-flow aerators cost about $5. Ask why coffee comes in styrofoam cups when paper cups are used at every Starbucks and Caribou. Ask why the air conditioning is set at 55 when the door is left hanging open. And ask if you can turn the temperature back to 70. Pay attention, and speak up. Write letters, write comments, write letters to the editor, ask to see the manager, and threaten to take your business elsewhere — somewhere that you like the way things are being run.

Tell the business you love what they do and want to continue to be a valued customer. And then proceed to be a pain in the ass. I don’t like to do it, either. But trust me. It works. Business decision makers remember you, and roll their eyes, and eventually change their minds. Because any business that doesn’t serve a customer or a need isn’t going to survive.

When you find a business that does it right, tell every other business you visit about it. Name names. Shame your favorite business into action.

Because we are Americans. We are ego-driven. And we don’t like to be told what to do by anyone without a dollar bill.

So please. Make the last few weeks of my job a little easier. I’ve been pushing for the last 3 years. It’s time for you to pull.

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