Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: Should I rat out my neighbor's kids for making a mess by the trash chutes?

By Dianne Ackerman  | January 31, 2020 - 9:00AM

Ms. Demeanor says its ok to say something. Speak directly to the parents if you can or say something to management, because this is an issue that impacts the entire building.


My building is blocking off the trash chutes because tenants aren’t throwing out their garbage properly. As a result, we have to take our refuse to the basement. I happen to know that my neighbor’s kids are the ones who leave a mess on the floor next to the chute. Should I rat them out? Signed, Feeling Trashed

Dear Trashed,

Of course you should "rat" them out (which is something you get when you don't deal with garbage the right way). Proper disposal is everyone’s issue. There is a reason for those chutes. Garbage that doesn’t go down the chute is not only unsightly but unhealthy, and your building can get bugs, mice, and yes, even rats.

While I don’t see taking garbage down to the basement as such a big deal, the offending parties should be told that what they are doing is inconveniencing all tenants. If you know the parents of these children, you might address the problem with them directly. If not, speak to your management company and tell them what you know. Then they can address the issue without naming names.

It is one thing to snitch on a person who is doing something that doesn’t affect anyone else. But, in this situation, it is affecting an entire building. If there are cameras in the hall, then the staff and management company probably know who the guilty parties are and may be just too lazy to do anything about it. So, I would address the problem with them and make sure that they do something about it. You would be doing everyone a favor and helping to keep your environment clean, safe, and free from bubonic plague.

Dianne Ackerman is the new voice of reason behind Ms. Demeanor. She has lived in her Upper East Side co-op for the past 20 years and is the vice president of her co-op board. She is filled with opinions that she gladly shares with all who ask—and some who do not. Have something that needs sorting out? Drop her an email.
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