If Stacy and Clinton from TLC’s “What Not to Wear” were to go through my closet, the first thing they’d condemn to the trash chute would be, without a doubt, my favorite pair of jeans. Yes, they are threadbare and hole-ridden to the point that they’re not really appropriate to wear outside my apartment. But, they’re so comfortable, so familiar, that I just can’t bear the thought of voluntarily letting them go. Old habits die hard.
When it comes to parting with something we’ve become attached to, the incandescent light bulb is a lot like disintegrating denim. After all, we’ve lived with the shapely little light sources—in exactly the same form as they are now—for as long as we can remember, and we’re enamored with their warm golden glow. Then, as if out of nowhere, these know-it-alls appear, spouting off about lumens and saving energy and—gasp!—compact fluorescents. Oh, no. We’ve heard about those things. You’ve got to be kidding if you think we’re giving up on our beloved incandescents without a fight. Sound familiar?
If you think I’m exaggerating, take, for example, a recent post on The New York Times’ Green Inc., in which blogger Tom Zeller Jr. quotes reader feedback about the national energy-efficient-lighting mandates that are currently hitting Europe. One reader writes, “There’s a difference between a low-flow toilet (which, if it performs properly, shouldn’t be an obvious change) and light bulbs that make your entire family look like cadavers.” Ouch. And the comments get worse.
As sure as my broken-down jeans are destined for the garbage bin, the change is coming, people. And like it or not, we’d better be ready. Those of us who take on the challenge of educating our salestaff and our customers about the much-improved merits of energy-efficient light sources are poised for the future, and will, undoubtedly, profit. Don’t get me wrong, as made evident by those nasty comments about CFLs, we’ve got our work cut out for us. It’s going to take some time, but I know we’re up to the challenge. As my favorite fashionistas might say, there’s no use holding fast to something that’s so clearly on its way out.