Dear Amy: We are an older, retired couple living in a townhouse condominium complex.
As such, we have individual garbage/recycling pick-up.
We do not generate much garbage or recycling. Our cans rarely fill up more than 50 percent.
We have noticed that our garbage and recycling cans frequently get filled up with other residents’ garbage/recycling to the point where the lids are up, with garbage bags hanging out over the edge.
We do pay for our garbage, and like everyone else in the complex, we buy the smallest can available.
Is it old-fashioned to be upset by this?
It’s the fact that no one bothers to come by and ask our permission.
It just seems rude to use our cans without our permission. I’d be happy to help out, but is it just old-fashioned to want to be asked first?
– Peeved Dear Peeved: Why are you so concerned by being perceived as “old-fashioned”? Have you been successfully conned into believing that your own honest reactions are not acceptable?
Snap out of it! Own your feelings!
You could raise this issue at your next condo board meeting or on the complex’s listserv (if it has one). You might find that other residents are experiencing the same annoyance, or you might smoke out a neighbor who is doing this.
Yes, this is annoying. Yes, you have every right to find it annoying, and to wish that people behaved differently.
You and your wife could approach this with a little humor and perhaps inspire people to be more respectful.
Tape a florescent sign onto the inside of the lid, so that someone opening it would see it: “Hello, Fellow Humans. Are you generating so much garbage that you need to use an extra can? That’s a pity. Haven’t you noticed that the planet is on fire?
We will accept your wasteful overflow, but please be courteous and put the lid securely down. (And leave a tin of homebaked still-warm brownies on top.)
Waste Not, Want Not.”