Two Competing Garbage Collectors

garbage men

In my neighborhood the trash collection is handled by one of two companies.  They both do the same thing: pick up the trash and haul it away.


Same job – two different approaches.


One has a fully automatic truck where one man sits in the cab, lines up the container, picks it up with the giant robotic hand, dumps it in the top of the truck, replaces the container and drives to the next stop.


The other has one man driving and one man riding on the back.  The man on the pack picks up the bags, hurls them in the compactor on the back of the truck, lifts any cans and dumps them, replaces the cans and hops back on the truck with a tap on the side they are off to their next stop.


My dogs prefer the hands on company.


They hop up in the window and watch with fascination as the men hurl the bags of garbage in the back of the truck.  Personally, I think they are thinking, “what are you doing? That is a gold mine!  You gotta open that up!”  I think they also secretly hope they see them rip open a bag one day just as they would.


They bark incessantly at the fully automated truck.


The fully automated may have the leg up on the equipment but my preference is the old-fashioned company.


If the automated truck doesn’t place the receptacle just right and it falls over, well, it doesn’t pick it back up.  The men actually loading the trash make sure it is upright and out of the way.


The man in the automated truck doesn’t interact with anyone.  The guys throwing trash bags over their shoulders into a truck say hello and are friendly.  Maybe it is a Tom Sawyer kind of thing, but they look like they are having fun.  They also interact with each other.  The poor guy in the automated truck doesn’t have anyone to talk to but the giant robotic hand.


What is my point in all this?


  1. Obviously, I had no clear concept for a blog post today.
  2. More advanced technology does not mean better service.
  3. The devil is in the details.  Now, if I were to interview two people for a job that each worked at one of these two places I would be more interested in talking to the one that hops off the truck and slings the bags.  I’ve      seen them in action.  I can make some assumptions just based on this: they work hard, can work well as a team, can interact with all kinds of people and are very efficient.
  4. Now I’m wondering if I got all my trash out for collection.


If nothing else, enjoy your job no matter what you do – you might be surprised to know other people appreciate it.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW


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