A Doorman Speaks: Garbage day

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The saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure" rings true on many levels in a building setting.

Very often, a resident offers one of the staff guys something they have no need for anymore. Items can range from a sofa, refrigerator, television (the big bulky kind), VCR’s (have collected a few in my time), DVD players and movies, clocks, radios, printers, toys, books and make-up.

They range from never-used condition, to good condition, fairly usable, to things that makes staff guy think, “Do these people think I’m poor or something?" or “Are you f’ing serious? Used lipstick?!?"

Donated insults aside, many handymen and porters fret over the larger unwanted items like the sofas and refrigerators. They wind up breaking their backs taking them out on “big bulk" sanitation pick-up days.

Once on the curb, the garbage can take on another life.

It can appear to be a giant monster, because the city blocks seem consumed by the heaping piles waiting to be picked up, or it can be the best thing that ever happened to someone.

It all depends whether you’re on the staff, or you’re a scavenger.

From the staff’s perspective, a smallish building can produce a sizable amount of trash on a normal week. Imagine a larger building with over two hundred apartments or even more?

In the nasty winter we’re currently having, pick-up days are put off in order for snow removal.

That means either garbage doesn’t get thrown out and it piles up somewhere in the basement of a building. Or it gets piled up outside in front of us, a heaping black bagged barricade of yuk!

Residents complain. Our answer to them is basically, “That’s for sanitation’s ears, not ours."

But the garbage pickers don’t complain.

They include the young couple who just moved into a studio apartment up the block, carting off that thrown out sofa, chair, or table, apparently unaware that with the city in the grip of a bed bug problem, taking furniture off the street is not exactly a wise move.

Homeless people roam about, opening up bags, searching for something they can use and, sadly, maybe even eat. We doormen will let them as long as they stick to one rule: Tie up the bags when you’re done.

Then you have the entrepreneurial “metal seekers". They’ll take anything from bed frames and A/C’s to the metal innards of a freezer after they have let the freon out.

Lastly, you have the recyclers. There’s the van that goes building to building, block to block in search of mostly newspapers. And the people who open up bags in search of bottles and cans that will net them a five-cent refund. These individuals usually have their routes and buildings already laid out. It’s a hard way to earn a living, but what if these people worked in a team and collected 200,000 cans in a month?

That’s $10,000. Not a bad racket indeed.

I just try to avoid the garbage all together.

Leave that to the porters and handymen and the scavengers. They can deal with that monster on the sidewalk. The head, the tail, the whole damn thing.

 

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