The lazy persons guide to saving the earth

The lazy persons guide to saving the earth

captain planet

I had a look at my Facebook profile the other week and realised that 4 of
my last posts were in relation to animals and/or planet earth. At first I thought the inevitable had happened and I had turned in to a crazy animal activist that was saving the planet one plastic bag at a time. Although this is true, I realised I’ve always been cautious of pollution, global warming and the welfare of the worlds environment and the wildlife that inhabit it. But in recent times I had been paying more attention to these issues and it got me thinking of all the simple things you can do everyday to help look after our environment.

I’ve developed 10 tips that I try to do. It’s what I like to call the ‘lazy persons guide to saving the earth’ and if everyone was to follow these little things, hey! It might just help out the earth?

1. You don’t need a receipt once you’ve used an ATM. I might be speaking for myself here but I don’t need a little piece of paper reminding me of how little money I have remaining in my bank account that inevitably ends up in the bin. Plus, we are in the age of internet banking. If you want to see how much you do or don’t have, go online.

2. Confession. I carry fold-able shopping bags in my handbag. Yep, that’s right, I’m one of those people that pack my own groceries in my own shopping bags and take a million hours to do so. Say no to plastic bags and you’ll help save a whale (true story).

3. Use a KeepCup. They’re so trendy right now and perfect for coffee lovers! If you have two take away coffees a day, that’s two paper cups a day or 730 in a year that end up in the bin. You can choose heaps of cool colours and in general be a better person by having one on you at all times. You never know when you’ll need an emergency coffee.

4. Like number 3, buying a good drink bottle is a really cool* thing to do. My personal favourite drink bottle is the Frida Kahlo one I bought from Ishka. I feel slightly more superior drinking from a bottle with a strong feminist icon printed on it. Two other things also, 1) drinking from reused plastic bottles isn’t that good for you and 2) plastic bottles are incredibly bad for the environment.

5. Remove bottle caps and jar lids before putting them in the recycling. Although technology has improved over recent years and able to sort through large lids (bigger than a business card), you are still required to undo those lids so they can be sorted. Bottle caps from beer and wine are too small to sort so keep them separate.

6. Throw your gum away responsibly, e.g. put it in a bin. A little bird may think it’s some kind of delicious, gooey worm and try to eat it and instead choke to death (in the most serious cases). Could you really live with that?

7. I have often been guilty of this, but for those of you that take public transport, ‘accidentally’ leaving your newspaper on the seat next to you or your empty drink bottle between the seats isn’t fooling anyone but yourself. If you used it, pick it up and throw it away properly.

8. Really easy one here folks, actually follow the instructions on the bins that tell you what does and doesn’t go in recycling. I have often been caught standing by bins trying to figure out if fruit scraps go in recycling or regular rubbish. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

9. Have you ever purchased 4 pairs of shoes at once? I have and it does not hide the fact you have a shopping addiction because you walk out of a shop with 4 plastic bags with a box of shoes in each. When I splurge on shoes, I now ask if I can take the shoes without the boxes so they fit in one (reusable) bag. This is of course hoping that the nice environmentally aware shopping assistants reuse the boxes or dispose of them correctly.

10. It’s summer time here in Australia and that of course means a lot of of time spent on the beach. Similar to number 7, burying your rubbish in the sand doesn’t mean it has disappeared. It will eventually be swept up in the sea and some poor sea turtle will try to eat your leftover Twisties which will not end well (for both the Twisties and turtle; no one likes soggy Twisties).

So there’s 10 tips that you easily adopt. They may be obvious and you may already do them, but it’s always nice to have a reminder. As Captain Planet once said, “the power is yours!”

*my version of ‘cool’ will most likely differ from yours.

Retail Customer Service – Good or Bad?

So I found out recently that there’s a thing called Choice magazine, who describe themselves as The People’s Watchdog. They pride themselves on ensuring the consumer voice is heard loud and clear.

They have released an article this week that rates the best and worst of Australian Retailers including Big W, Bunnings, David Jones, JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys, Myer and Harvey Norman are among others. A recent American Express global customer service survey found Australian consumers believe service standards have continually declined over the last three years.

SO  – Choice sent four individuals to stores in Sydney over a two week period to judge the in-store experience. Here were the results -(

But really – who are these four people that wondered around Sydney and visited stores? Do they have qualifications? It is said that “they rated staff member on helpfulness and product knowledge, as well as noting any other efforts to close the sale such as offering a price reduction or added extras.” I’m not a research scientist (believe it or not), but shouldn’t studies show the verdict from a focus group of actual consumers, not four random people? And shouldn’t it be mentioned that often these stores are separately owned and operated across the entire country?

The only thing they noted was the subjective element involved in any shopping experience. Well yes, exactly, so shouldn’t a number of customers, or at least the same four shoppers go in to the same store and speak to a variety of salespeople? If they did mention this it wasn’t clear in the article.

And also – as this Choice magazine is Australian, shouldn’t they be supporting Australian retailers? No, instead they’re deferring people from in-store shopping  and encouraging people to shop online. Because let’s face it – people continue to shop in-store as they are getting a one-on-one shopping experience with customer service being the number 1 draw card. Oh, but wait – if customer service is failing in most regards and at most retailers – what’s the point of shopping in-store at all?

Being a casual Harvey Norman employee over the last three years, I have experienced my fair share of unsatisfied customers. My position as a cashier lets me speak to customers at the beginning and end of their visit to the store. When it comes down to it – I can recall more good feedback than bad. I always make an effort to pass the praise on to the salesperson on behalf of the customer and make sure to let the boss know. I believe that you hear too much of the bad stuff and not of the good!

I am not defending Harvey Norman or any of these other stores because as a customer too, I often get frustrated with some of the service I receive. However, I think it is entirely poor of Choice to judge the entire chain of these retailers from one visit to one Sydney store. I think this study is a joke.

What are your experiences with customer service in retail? Do you agree with Choice magazine? Let’s hear it!