Ed Cook: I HATE Waste


As I was cleaning out the refrigerator the other day it struck me that I really hate to waste things.  Not just food leftovers, but everything.  As I got more into this thinking I thought of many things that are wasted all around me.

My mother was very frugal and taught me not to waste things. She came from a very conservative (frugal) family and she became an adult during the Great Depression. At that time waste DID NOT HAPPEN! If you bought it you used it…period.  When I was a kid, there were rarely any leftovers.  Maybe an extra chicken leg, but that was about it.  Little did I know that when I got married, to a woman who grew up with 3 siblings, that dinner would be prepared as if the First Division was arriving any minute.   It really bothers me to throw out food.  My kids don’t appreciate this and rarely eat leftovers unless there is nothing else available.

I did not have a lot when I was growing up, but like so many people I have met over the years who had the same situation, we did not miss things we did not have.  We had what we needed and nothing more.  My parents were very good at re-using things, recycling if you will.  I liked this idea and was into recycling before it was fashionable.

But waste goes far beyond this.  As you all know, it is not just food, or material waste.  Ever wait in line for something and then find that the delay was caused by two employees chatting about last night’s visit to a night club, or a customer rummaging through her suitcase-sized purse for a 10 cents off coupon.  Hey that wasted my, and others time.  Maybe I have no place to go but maybe I have to get to the day care after work to pick up my child.

Government waste!  Oh geeeeeez!  It is not Democrat or Republican.  Equal opportunity stupidity, and at all levels.  I work at a State University, very lean in most places. But here is a place that has had minimal upgrades in the past 20 years, contributes to the State and local economy by educating people, and their budget is being cut for 2011-2012 and probably next year too.  I interviewed for a job at 2 State agencies during last week.  One has a hiring freeze on and is dealing with the effects of the housing problems in the state.  They can only hire temps.  They are struggling.  The other, no hiring freeze (why the double standard) and when I came in there were two people at the reception station.  One is doing computer work, one answering the phone.  OK, she would have answered if it rang.  Two people to do one job?  I walk to my interview and happen to pass the break room.  Several folks (5) are debating the previous night’s hockey game.  OK they are on break at 10 am.  Interview over at 11:15 and the same group are in the same seats in the same break room going over the upcoming football game.  Still on break for over 1:15??  It is awfully early for lunch, and I saw no food.  Waste.

Wasted government money.  There are Millions, no Trillions of examples here.  One of the more grievous was a number of years ago a US Senator and former Democrat Presidential candidate who is VERY rich owns a home in Idaho with his wife.  The property floods when the adjacent river overflows its banks.  He inserted into a bill several million of taxpayer money for the US Army Corps of Engineers to re-route the river so his land would not be flooded.  Nice.

It is hard to combat it too, even close to home.  Aside from the food that I mentioned before, two of my kids are wasters.  One is not.  One of the wasters is applying to colleges now and has applied to 11 schools.  11!!!!!  Do you want to go to each of these, I ask. No, she says.  Then why are you applying to all of them.  “Mum said to apply to all of them.”  $650 Why???

If you buy a piece of electronics these days and you are just as likely to be told to go online for the manual as have a booklet in the box.  As you are installing the equipment it is nice to have the manual in your hand instead of having to look it up on line.  Wasted time.

Bet you can come up with dozens of your own examples, unless you were one of the ones taking the 1+ hour break.

I hate waste.

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One thought on “Ed Cook: I HATE Waste

  1. ugh, i dislike waste very much too. it’s taken me about 14 years, but i have now trained the Honey to get satisfaction from having all the week’s groceries eaten and even to pull out all the bits and pieces from the fridge and make up a meal rather than go buy more. we both are dismayed, though, by the amount of trash we still seem to generate weekly. where does it all come from, this abundance of packaging and such? blech.

    i also try to be clear as to my language regarding waste and time. i prefer to use the words “spend my time” versus other more negative slants. sometimes, i might look like i am doing nothing and in fact, that might be the case. however, i am choosing to do nothing, on purpose, since doing nothing is doing something. hee. (and also a big accomplishment of mine, to think less and do less, by choice and on purpose.)

    always nice to read your blogs, ed!

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