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Has integrity gone out with the trash?

Our trash gets collected on Monday’s, and for me it’s a big deal. As a transplanted former apartment-dwelling New Yorker, I never had to worry about the disposition of my garbage. I’d stuff it down the building’s garbage chute or leave the recyclables in a bin, and that was that.


When we moved to a tiny bayside village on the South Shore of Massachusetts about 5 years ago, the collection of our garbage became our responsibility, so we hired a company to handle this, and got 2 gigantic new bins which I dutifully put out on Monday morning’s for pick up.


For some reason, I get a great deal of satisfaction when the truck comes as scheduled, empties the bins and we get to start all over again. That didn’t happen yesterday, and not because I didn’t do my part!!

nancy mendelson hertelier

See, I spotted a pattern a while ago, connected the dots and figured out that no collection happens during weeks when our regular driver, Michael is either sick or on vacation. Oh, the truck comes by alright, but because our neighborhood is often a bit challenging to navigate, the substitute drivers get frustrated and simply leave like they did yesterday…I saw it with my own eyes.


When this happens, I always text the company to complain. Here’s what went down yesterday:


ME: Hello, we had no pick-up today. Saw the truck pass our house and didn’t stop. This only happens when our regular driver, Michae is on vacation or out sick. Can you collect our trash tomorrow?


THEM: Good morning, you are correct. It was a different driver. I tried to get you a pick-up for today (Tuesday) but unfortunately the route is full so we will be back out tomorrow. Is there anything else I can assist you with?


ME: Thank you. Since this happens every single time Michael isn’t driving, is there any way to get out in front of it? Michael is outstanding and always figures out ways to navigate our neighborhood when there are challenges. He would never drive away and not do his job.


THEM: I can definitely let operations know that this is a pattern for your stop.

nancy medelson

All very well and good, but this happens every freaking time I text them and nothing changes. Even Michael says it’s bullshit, that the other drivers are just lazy and make up excuses about why they didn’t do their job.


So… what, you are probably asking, is the point of this whole diatribe? INTEGRITY…and Michael’s got it! There’s too little of it around these days, and I really appreciate it when I experience it. In the words of radio host and author, Dr. Laura, “People with integrity do what they say they are going to do. Others have excuses.”

1 Comment


The greatest compliment of my life happened in my late 20s when a friend surprised me with his observation that "you always do what you say you're going to do." Before that I hadn't realized that being responsible was an uncommon trait. As I've grown old, my favorite people in the world are those who do what they say they will do. Our word should be understood as sacred, a promise and bond to be cherished.

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