Oscar Wilde once said: “To recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It’s like advising a starving man to eat less.” In a way, this is similar to many daytime television articles and guest interviews that offer advice on how to reduce electricity bills for the modest public.
Some of these suggestions are well-intentioned, but many just don’t work. I’ve often looked for ways to reduce electricity bills, and the first suggestion in many of these articles is to simply install solar panels. Reader, I rent an apartment on the fifth floor of a seven story building, I have neither the physical nor the financial capacity to spend a few thousand bucks on solar panels for a rental in North Wall.
Other advice seems to have come straight out of a five-year-old’s guide to keeping warm. “Put on a sweater.”
If I’ve taken the time to sit down and look up ways to save on electricity, I’ve probably put on a sweater or two beforehand.
I’ve even seen commenters seriously state that we need to shower less – something I’m sure those closest to the commenter will strongly disagree with.
It’s true we’re largely a throwaway consumer society and, yes, I know there are cuts to be made, but to tell those struggling to make ends meet to eat less, heat less and wash less , probably will not bring much change, the situation changes when energy prices rise by 30 percent and gas prices by 40 percent. Former Tory MP Edwina Currie, holding a piece of foil to the light as if it were the answer to all our problems, seemed to get so close to satire that it could have formed a plot line The thickness of it. Another daytime TV solution to fixing the cost-of-living crisis — a spin of the wheel that includes mention of a four-month payment for utility bills This morning – made me rub my eyes in disbelief.
People’s immense financial burden had already been highlighted, but a flashy Ferris wheel filmed by millionaires Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby turned it into daytime TV fodder.
This morning later announced that the producers were dropping the mention of energy bills in their Spin to Win game after immense backlash.
As I mentioned, these are usually well-intentioned people trying to offer advice and help during the cost-of-living crisis, but some of the suggestions also seem to come from a dystopian place of joy,
Some members of older generations shout out to younger generations that they “had worse” and “oh you wouldn’t have survived the 1970s”.
If you feel the need to remind people that you’ve had a tough life and they haven’t, then you’re probably not feeling well
We are all aware that people see the generation below them as “soft” and unable to deal with adversity, but here’s the thing, we can acknowledge that times are hard for people without resorting to times in where you felt that times were worse. You don’t have to tell a man with his arm cut off that he should be grateful because you’ve had two legs cut off. Perhaps the optimum in joy and nostalgia can only be reached when Micheál Martin explains to the nation that we are living beyond our means and need to tighten our belts.
It’s possible to give people real advice without belittling that what’s happening in the world is largely out of their control.
Statements like “Well, we had it a lot worse in the 1970s and I’m fine” can easily be refuted. If you spend hours of your day reminding people that you’ve had a tough life and they haven’t, then you’re probably not doing well.
I hope that I will give the generation below me less tenuous advice on their worries, presumably when climate change has taken full effect and the world is burning down around them.
Members of Gen X and Boomer generations may also need to be reminded that while rising energy prices are affecting everyone, the generation above them, our grandparents’ generation, is being hit the hardest. Telling an 80- or 90-year-old to put on more sweaters while they’re deciding whether to spend money on heating or dinner seems like a solution that could be credited to Marie Antoinette.
We are rightly reminded that older people have retired and weathered recession after recession, so expecting them to put foil behind a radiator again seems obnoxious at best.
So what can we do? Unfortunately I don’t have any great answers on how to stop the cost of living crisis. But for now, I would perhaps just recommend that we be a little more thoughtful as we distribute money-saving recommendations to the elderly, the sick, and those struggling to pay their bills.
It is more than likely that these people are experts when it comes to this task. Acknowledging this as a societal problem in general and not a problem people have imposed on themselves seems to be the first thing we should acknowledge when it comes to the cost of living.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/when-electricity-bills-are-soaring-telling-people-to-simply-put-on-an-extra-jumper-is-insulting-41980710.html When utility bills are skyrocketing, it’s insulting to tell people to just put on an extra sweater