My friend’s carbon footprint leaves grass clippings everywhere

imageAfter years of creating ad campaigns for high-profile companies like Coca-Cola, a good friend of mine in Atlanta has decided to do what many successful advertising people do when they reach that point in their careers where they can simply LOOK at a new product and, without any hesitation whatsoever, begin to vomit:

They leave advertising behind to launch their own lawn care business.

Like some of history’s most successful entrepreneurs, Fred spent time studying his new market, its trends and the competition before assembling a detailed business plan, which he described as follows: “I bought a lawnmower.”

On the surface, this may not sound like much of a business plan. But as Fred pointed out, what sets him apart from other lawn care enterprises around Atlanta — aside from his limited grasp of Spanish — is the TYPE of mower and equipment he’s using. While other lawn care enterprises utilize gas-powered equipment that emit enough exhaust smoke to divert air traffic as far west as Alabama, “I use manual-reel mowers, electric gear and hand tools in order to reduce emissions and promote more responsible, planet-friendly yard work,” Fred explained.

I considered this for a moment — this idea of promoting more responsible, environmentally-conscious yard work — before responding with, “Hahahahahahahahahahaha!”

“No, really,” said Fred, who cited an EPA study that stated that a piece of gas-powered lawn gear actually creates more pollution than a car.

“Unless it’s a Gremlin,” he quickly added. 

When I considered that it usually takes a full hour for the lawnmower smoke to leave our yard (a process I sometimes hurry along with a leaf blower), I realized he could be right. On any given weekend there are at least a dozen people around our neighborhood mowing lawns, edging grass, using gas-powered weed eaters, burning yard debris and branches (and occasionally portions of their fences and/or shrubbery), then tidying up with leaf blowers the size of a Lear Jet engine. After which they take a moment to enjoy their handiwork in nature by, how else?

Smoking a cigarette.

Somehow, I have become desensitized to all of this, and the fact that our Labrador has passed out three times in the last month while relieving himself in the front yard on mowing days. Possibly for periods long enough to cause permanent brain damage.

Sadly, we’ll never know how much damage because, as I mentioned, he’s a Lab.

I told Fred he was on to something big and asked how the business was going. He admitted he had miscalculated and started too late in the season. As a result, “Mow Green” hasn’t really taken off yet despite an aggressive ad campaign.

“Plus, I think most of the fliers we put around the neighborhood ended up in the portable toilet at a construction site down the street,” he said. “But hey, we used recycled paper, so at least we’re still having an impact on the environment in the end.”

Fortunately, because of his years of experience in advertising, Fred saw the need to diversify his marketing campaign in order to keep it from…

Well, going down the toilet.

In addition to creating his website to explain his services and communicate with clients, he also came up with a high-profile promotional plan to spread his idea of “planet-friendlier” lawn care by offering a free mow to the first celebrity who asks.

“As long as it’s within driving distance,” said Fred. “If it’s really far away, they’ll have to split the gas with me. And possibly let me sleep over. (Note: This offer excludes Kanye West.)

In the meantime, Atlantans, when you think of lawn care I hope you’ll support the environment by thinking of Fred.

Unless, of course, you’re in a portable toilet.




This has been an excerpt from Ned’s book, Humor at the Speed of Life, available from Port Hole Publishing, Amazon Books, Barnes and Noble or even the trunk of Ned’s car!

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

19 thoughts on “My friend’s carbon footprint leaves grass clippings everywhere”

  1. You know there is probably a lucrative market for environmentally sensitive lawn care. It wouldn’t be for everyone but he could position himself as a value added service for a premium price.

      1. The trick to this is for him is to charge a large amount for it – perhaps a premium of 50%over competitors – so it is perceived as a valuable commodity. And advertise the shit out of it – which he would be good at. I could see lots of side lines as well – a vertically integrated environmental lawn service with perhaps organic fertilizer, topsoil, organic plant food, etc. And he could hire some strapping young lads to push his mowers and take their shits off on hot days to make the women drool (and it is my experience that women more often hire the lawn maintenance organization). And, of course, if they require organic environmentally friendly escorts for evening soirees then the strapping lads would be good for that too – no, wait, that’s horizontal integration, I keep mixing those up. 🙂 He could also be an equal opportunity employer and when the customer is a man , send over:

          1. Perfect Ross – you’re good at this! Are you sure you’re not a clandestine marketing guy? – oh, wait, you’re a Bluenoser living in Quebec, of course you’re good at sales ( you have to justify your existence day by day “I’m here for the artesinal cheese” “Oh yes, I came for the ski hills”, “Of course Quebec is a distinct society – no where else are the English not allowed to put up a sign for their English customers in an English neighborhood – in fact I have seen English signs in Nepal but not Pointe-Claire.” “Yes, I’m sorry the ‘recall’ button on the phone is marked ‘Recall’, I’ll change that right away.” “Indeed, Muslim women wearing Hajib should never be allowed to play soccer – that’s just plain unfair after all, isn’t it? It must be as it was outlawed by Quebec Soccer.” And so on.)

    1. Hahahaha! But I’m not sure consuming twice as many munchies is leaving a smaller or larger carbon footprint after all those empty Cheetos bags.

No one is watching, I swear...

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