According to the latest edition of the Hollywood Lakes newsletter, there have been many complaints about service provided by Waste Management, to which the city of Hollywood outsourced its contract to remove trash, recycled materials, and bulk materials including yard waste.

Royal Palm flowers, about 20 feet up. The seed pod that landed in the yard was about 5 feet long.

Royal Palm flowers, about 20 feet up. The seed pod that landed in the yard was about 5 feet long.

I’ve been bitching about these asshats for years. I’ve had to call many times to get them out here, and when they do they often leave considerable shit behind. I mean that literally. We throw a lot of bagged dog and cat waste into the bin, and sometimes it stays there for weeks on end.

They’ve crushed my chain-link fence several times with their awkward equipment, broken my waste bins into pieces, and somehow made the lid of my regular trash bin vanish. Most times I need to go out after they’re gone and collect all the crap they leave behind strewn through the alley. I realize picking up trash and yard waste is a high-level skill, but even in Florida it seems like there should be labor sufficiently competent to get ‘er done, innit?

This is the time of year when I do major landscape trimming. I generate a sizeable brush pile each week. I halved the citrus tree, and took down the giant Bougainvillea to a series of bare sticks. This is bloody work — both trees are loaded with seriously vicious thorns. I yanked up the remaining bamboo, cut an entire forest of Aurelia down, and pulled about a zillion weeds, dead leaves, and palm fronds out, including several 20-footers from our three royals. If they don’t come out every week to collect, I can’t keep to my schedule.

My day is Friday. They fail to show up two straight weeks, so on Monday I call to ask why. I get an apology and a promise they’ll be out no later than Tuesday at 5. I explain that Tuesday is the day they come around for regular trash and recycles, and when the brush pile is there the regular guys usually knock it to hell when they (half-) dump the bins. They apologize and say they’ll note the file.

When they fail to show up Tuesday, and after I’ve cleaned up the mess the regular guys leave me, I call on Wednesday. I get another apology — that’s what they learn to do instead of providing service — and the agent says she’ll send an email to the supervisor. I say I don’t care about an email to the supervisor, how about sending a truck to get the brush pile? She says that’s what the email to the supervisor is all about.

Late Thursday I call and explain that I’m still looking at a two-week old brush pile. “I see you called,” says Agent Sherlock. “They should have come out by now.” Thanks for the news flash — so where are they? Why do I have to call you people like this? And why don’t you DO something?” Naturally, I get an apology.

Friday at 4 PM I call again and raise hell. The elf on the other end of the phone says she’ll send an email to the supervisor’s supervisor. I tell the elf they’ve done nothing but send useless emails that I suspect nobody can read; that I’m sick of fucking around with this shit and listening to them explain how it shouldn’t happen; that obviously whoever is supposed to do this job doesn’t give a farting rat’s ass about getting it done, and fuck her and her office just stop sending emails and let me speak directly to the goddam motherfucking piece of shit supervisor myself. Except I didn’t say it that nicely.

Long pause. “Just a minute, sir.” I’m expecting hold-button limbo, but then a man picks up, identifies himself, riffs through the record, and PROMISES to call me back in 30 minutes. He does! And he PROMISES there will be a truck out here in another 30 minutes. And there is! And he calls back after 5 to make sure it actually happened, and apologizes again for the bad service.

I made a note of his name, as I’m certain I’ll need to call again.

I should also note that when they came out for my brush pile, they didn’t trouble themselves to pick up any of my neighbors’ piles. In other words, they did the minimum required. Since I raised the stink, I got the service.

Moral: Patience and courtesy are entirely inappropriate, ineffective, and unsatisfying approaches to achieving objectives. Don’t waste your time. Curse, threaten, and rant. This is south Florida.Wasted

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10 Responses to Wasted

  1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

    That is the funniest – and the most aggravating – thing I’ve read in a long time. Thanks for the morning chuckle.

    You have just disproved the adage that you get more flies with honey. I’ve long suspected that a good old fashioned cathartic, cursing screaming rant always gets the best results. I’m glad to see that’s true!

    On another note, will you please come do my yard work?

    Seriously. I’ll pay you.

    I’m jealous of your talent. When it comes to plants, trees and weeds, I’m completely helpless. I actually bought a weed wacker but I’m afraid to take it out of the box because I know I’ll hurt myself with it.

    I can’t complain about my trash company (which does an excellent job), but I can’t find anyone to do my yard work.

    Seriously. I’ll pay you.

    • Squathole says:

      My flies and I both thank you for the kind words. I actually don’t have a lot of talent for this, just enthusiasm. I bat about .500 — kill as much as I care for — and have numerous battle scars from unfortunate encounters with thorns, branches, shards of glass, and lawn equipment still scares me after all this time. It probably doesn’t help matters that I do all this barefoot and barely covered — the whole reason I like this work is the exdcuse to get out in the sun and sweat, but really, at my advanced age the show isn’t worth your money. 🙂 Thanks again.

  2. Helen Highwater says:

    You should send this story to the Hollywood Lakes newsletter. In fact, they’re the ones who should’ve written it in the first place, but as far as I can tell they’re not into advocacy, confrontation, meaningful journalism, or humor.

    • Squathole says:

      Helen — good idea. I just did. But as you note, their sense of humor is stifled by their rather corporate positioning, Maybe Cahoots would like it more.

  3. Lois Terms says:

    Beautiful flowers on that palm. Worth the mess they make when they fall and blanket windshields, sidewalks, and sleeping animals. Ask me how I know this.

  4. Constance Turmohel says:

    Coulda been worse:

  5. Mr Schwinnickle says:

    So is it Waste Management or Waste Pro? Dania has Waste Management and Hollywood has Waste Pro. Which I am thinking Waste Pro is better. Waste Management drives over my swale, ran over the concrete domes (I just pained the damn things!) I put out so no one will drive in the swale, put ruts in the swale. They leave the damn garbage can in the middle of the driveway. You come home and you have to get out and move it so you can pull in the garage. And if the wife leaves for work after they have been there. Boom, she backs into the fucking can. Leave the can where I put it. I put it there for a reason. Close the fucking lid too! It rains here in South Florida, for Christ’s sake it rains all over the place. The can fills up with water and the little old people down here cant bring in their can. Then the city gets on their ass for leaving the can out because they cant move it because it is filled with water and a mosquito breading ground. Just do your fucking job, I know it isn’t a hard job but just do it and do it right. Yes I told this to the supervisor that stopped by one morning to see how their service was. I told him just how it was. Don’t even get me started about bike boxes. If its next to my neighbors can, they will take it. If its next to mine. I get to keep it for another week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1vGM6VOcRk

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