Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Letter to Mister Waste Management Recycling Man

Dear Mister Waste Management Recycling Man,

I am writing to you to discuss the event that occurred last Thursday, which is the garbage day on my street. Iwould also like to discuss the event that occurred the first Thursday you ever came to my house, you know, after we first moved in.

It was a sunny September day and my husband was out of town. You may be wondering, what does that have to do with anything? Well, we had just moved in and my kids were starting new schools and there was crap strewn all over my house and I was exhausted. And teary. I was very teary because the move was a very stressful experience and because my husband had abandoned that week me to go on a business trip with his cantankerous boss.

The buyers of our previous house? Not nice people. They demanded extra stuff at the closing, you know, when they’re about to make everything legal and binding? BOOM! They wanted a hot water heater or they were going to walk. This was after they demanded a new furnace. When I drove by my old house later, I saw that they had also gotten an air conditioner. Probably one of those two-for deals places have going every once in a while.

We could’ve done that to our sellers. They were especially desperate because they had no choice but to move out of town were therefore stuck with two mortgages. We could have taken total advantage of their desperation. But we didn’t. We like to take the high road.

Anyway, the whole process was emotionally, and more importantly, financially draining.

That particular Tuesday, right after we had moved in, I hauled a ton of garbage and boxes to the curb. Usually this is the husband’s job. His ONE household task-taking out the garbage. But sometimes he goes out of town and then I have to do it.

Later that same morning, I drove my son to preschool and when I came back, you were there, putting my milk cartons into your truck. Which is really loud, by the way. This will be relevant later.

I got out of the car and waved to you, because I am friendly. I wave to everyone. I wave to my neighbors. I wave to little kids at the supermarket. I wave to all the parents I pass in the school parking lot. I am a nice person.

You did not wave back, but you did motion for me to come over. Honestly, in my hopeful naivety, I thought you were going to welcome me to the neighborhood- to say a friendly thanks for choosing Waste Management and not Suburban Disposal or Boon and Sons.

You gave me a three-minute lecture on bundling the cardboard boxes.

You did not take the high road.

Okay. Perhaps I didn’t read all of the Waste Management literature. It may have been that I didn’t receive the literature in the mail yet, as we had just made arrangements for you to come two days before.

You may not realize this about yourself, but you are an intimidating presence. You are large and burly and have long, crazy hair. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… that’s your style and I respect that… but your appearance and your tone made me feel one-foot tall.

I guess I’m the kind of person people can tell right away that they can push around. I’m pretty meek. My body language gives me away. You start talking about how it makes your life ten times more difficult when I don’t bundle the boxes and I bite my lip like a guilty child. The fear radiates from my body. And people like you smell the fear.

You didn’t even acknowledge that my own children were crying for me to let them out of the car.

I bet you would not have lectured me if I were a large, scary looking man. You probably would have left one of those obnoxious notes on my garbage can instead.

You yelled and I nodded and then you told me you were giving me ONE warning but that I’d better bundle from now on.

You made me cry. Okay, lots of things make me cry, but you made me feel like an idiot. Couldn’t you have let it go, seeing as I had just moved in? I have avoided you since then. Honest to God. If I get ready to leave the house and I see your monstrous truck heading down the street, I hightail it back inside.

Except last Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. The husband has gotten into this horrible habit of only occasionally taking the recyclables out. I realized this had occurred last Friday and hurried to remove some, ahem, cardboard boxes out of the garage so I could park my van in there. There were four of them (cardboard boxes, not vans) and I dragged them all out to the curb just as you pulled up. I let my guard down. Probably full of the holiday spirit. I cautiously waved to you and turned toward my house.

“Hey!” you said.

I should have pretended I didn’t hear you.

I slowly turned and you immediately started lecturing me again. On bundling. And then you insinuated I had not rinsed my soda bottles.

You went on and on and I couldn’t hear half of what you were saying because of your horrifically loud truck. I didn’t say a word. Finally you vacated my premises. I shouted “Happy Thanksgiving” to the back of your truck. And then I just stood there, befuddled and livid that I had allowed this to happen to me twice.

Let me tell you something. I hauled those stinking boxes down to the curb all at once. You are twice as big as I am. I don’t think bundling would have made a difference as to the successful transferal of said cardboard boxes to large monstrous truck.

I am writing this letter to inform you that tomorrow will be the last day you pick up my recyclables because I am switching garbage taker-awayers.

And I’m going to tell them, the powers that be, why. And ALSO, I’ve come up with lots of forthright comebacks since we last met. They’re really quite clever. And I’ve been practicing “look tough” faces in the mirror. I almost hope we meet again.



p.p.s. I always rinse my soda bottles, you cretin.


Michelle said...

LOL! So funny. I avoid my "garbage man" (as we say here in the south)...I'm embarrassed at the loads of trash we haul out there... we've left whole rooms of torn up carpet, doors, trim...we have yet to find anything they won't take...even if it's not bundled!

Janet said...

YOU GO GIRL!!!! I hope his boss lectures him now!!!

Anonymous said...

My name is Julie and I work with Waste Management. I’m sorry to hear of your experience. I wanted to let you know that we’re aware of your concerns, and want to remedy the situation. Please feel free to contact me at

Julie Newman

heather@it'stwinsanity said...

Hilarious! But really, I'm glad it's getting worked out.

Toaster said...

Wow, our WM people have never said a word to us! Of course, my better half does the recyclables, and he can be a bit compulsive about things. ;)

ShellyF said...

They didn't take our stuff once and left us a "warning" letter if we didn't improve. So now I just don't bother. Us mom's have too much to do to be cutting our pizza boxes into little squares.