September 13th, 2016


entitlement and overflowing trash cans

I walked into a bathroom my first year of college and had to step around a very overflowing trash can. Families moving college students in had grabbed fast food, and if their kid didn't have a personal trash can yet, they found the bathroom trash can, found it to be full, and set their fast food trash and cups around the trash. I was furious. There were dumpsters out back. Most students eventually would get a little trash can for their room, which they'd empty into the dumpster. But these parents and students alike had decided that they deserved to be able to use the first trash can they saw, which happened to be the one in the bathroom. The cleaning staff member who comes in once a day would have to not only take the trash out but pick up all the trash on the floor, too. It would take a while.

Entitlement: "Not should someone pick up my shit, but in special circumstances, on a busy day when the established system doesn't work, someone else should still pick up my shit."

How often do we stop and think about how pampered our lives are, that our trash is magically whisked away to a landfill we never have to think about. That's nice, just by itself. Go camping in the wilderness where you're expected to haul your own trash back home with you in your car... really makes you think about it.

Overflowing trash cans became my pet peeve, forever. Is the trash full? Then take it out. If you can't, then go find another one! Setting your trash next to the trash can is the worst thing you can do. You're a real asshole if you think that's okay. It sends a message that you think someone failed you, they weren't there to take the trash out fast enough so they deserve to be punished. Their punishment is more important than you taking a few more steps to find another place.

The next year at college I was the RA so I was in charge of the floor. I removed all trash cans from the bathroom and hid them for the first three days. It forced people to ask where trash belonged. I told them about the dumpsters outside.

They survived.