There are many important issues in our economy and on our stock markets that need to be addressed. There are also a host of smaller, nagging, annoying little problems that should raise all our hackles.
Well, at least they bug Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner. In this series from the Rule Breaker Investing podcast, he takes aim at several tiny yet irritating quirks of the market and the wider economy.
David's grievance du jour in this clip is one he shares with a great many of us who like to keep our environment clean and waste-free: littering.
A transcript follows the video.
This podcast was recorded on July 20, 2016.
David Gardner: Pet peeve No. 2, with state lotteries behind us. Let's go to something not quite as serious, because it's not quite as financial, but I would say possibly even more annoying for many of us. I hope you share this pet peeve. This is a big one for me: littering. Littering!
Honestly, how can any person today, whether you're driving down the street, or out in a truck somewhere, or just walking through a park, or sometimes people presumably do it on their own front lawn, just drop the cup? Or flip the cigarette away? Or toss the straw? And so we end up driving down the highway and seeing, over on the shoulder, litter. It doesn't look good there. It looks even worse in green settings and family settings.
And I hope you feel this, too. I know the Teddy Roosevelt in all of us national-park-loving people -- I know you don't like littering. I really, really don't like littering. I think that there is no real excuse for it in almost any context that I can think of. I don't actually care what your own personal background is. How easy or tough life has been on you. Where you come from. What your culture is. I don't think there's any excuse for just dropping something and making someone else pick it up.
The phrase "litterbug" I remember growing up with in the 1970s -- my formative years. I don't see that phrase around quite as much anymore, but I do see some powerful statements against littering. In fact, a lot of us who are outside the state of Texas might not know this, but if you've ever seen the bumper sticker "Don't Mess With Texas," you might have thought that's just some tough-guy talk from somebody on the bumper of his pickup truck.
The truth is, that was started by a very talented ad agency run by a friend of ours named Roy Spence, and it was all about encouraging Texans not to litter in their home state: "Don't Mess With Texas." I love that sentiment, and whenever I see that bumper sticker, it makes me smile.
One of my proudest, but most ridiculous, moments was when I was in my car, behind another car, at a light somewhere in urban Washington. The person, a young man, had lowered his window and just dropped his cigarette right there while we were waiting at the light.
I knew it was a longer light, and I was having a little bit of fun with this, so I literally opened my door from the driver's side, got out, walked up, bent over right next to him at his window, picked up his cigarette, still smoking, and walked back to my car with it.
I hope that doesn't sound self-righteous, and I'm definitely not suggesting I do that all the time. The reason I'm telling it as an anecdote is because I did it once just to see what it felt like. But I like to think that that guy still remembers that moment, and maybe that, in a small way, changed the future destiny of our world. Littering, No. 2.