customer service at the dump

There are a few things I don’t love about living in a small town. The main one being that there’s no such thing as a trash collection service. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that people who have garbage removed from their curb have no idea how fortunate they are. I guess I should be grateful I’m not required to wrestle a huge garbage can up our 45 degree incline driveway twice a week, but hauling our household debris to the community dump isn’t exactly among the top ten things I love to do, either.

Thankfully my lovely husband takes it upon himself to do this dirty deed several times a week and I never have to worry about it, but when he is out of town, it falls on me. And for reasons I can’t begin to understand, it’s a job made exponentially bigger when you have little kids like mine.

Like last week when Jackson asked me if he could eat the core of a bell pepper and I was so busy explaining “why not” that I put the jar of yogurt away in the cabinet with the peanut butter instead of the frig. And then several days later when I started to notice a funky smell, I found the moldy lot, forked it into a trash bag, and set it out in the garage. But of course, I conveniently forgot about it until two days later when the garage started having that same funky smell. And I knew I couldn’t put off the dump run any longer.

So I loaded the kids into their carseats and gingerly piled the trash bags into the back of the RAV and then I headed back into the house for a quick bathroom break. Except my 25 seconds of allotted time ended up being more like 10 when I heard Jackson screaming MOMMMY!!! at the top of his lungs from the garage. I flew through the house and out the door, fully prepared to do battle with whatever man-eating flesh grub must surely be devouring his fingers and toes, only to find him still safely sitting where I’d left him.

“What’s the matter, Jack???”

“Mommy, it stinks in here.”

And you wonder why screams of distress are taken with a grain of salt in this house.

So there we were on the way to the dump, with the windows rolled down and the smell of diapers and yogurt growing more suffocating by the second. Fortunately it’s only a five minute drive so I only had to hear “Mommy, it stinks in here!” 87 times.

Slight tangent here: once upon a time I didn’t have this little reminder in the backseat and I went all the way to the grocery store with the garbage bags still in the back (it was only two and they obviously didn’t smell that bad). I thought it would be fine to leave them in there while I shopped and swing by the dump on the way home. VERY BAD IDEA. For one, even not so stinky garbage doesn’t do well in direct sunlight/high heat. For two, I had to put my milk next to it on the way home.


Back to the dump.This place is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Two huge trash compactors at the bottom of a ten foot chasm continually pack the rubbish into unseen compartments. And the smell… The reek can be detected from a good half mile away so by the time you pull up next to the chute and open your door, it is barely tolerable.

Also, each time I arrive I’m greeted by a huge sign that cautions me in big red letters WARNING: DO NOT CLIMB INTO THE DUMP. DO NOT DISTURB THE TRASH. I am sonotkidding. Just the fact that this sign is necessary says something about our town. Not sure I want to know what.

But there is one thing I love about the dump. A little old man who stays in a shack above the chute and keeps the compactors running smoothly. I don’t know his name, but I know he has the friendliest smile I’ve ever seen – and that’s saying a lot considering his occupation. Usually his is standing in the lot when I pull up and as I open the back of the car he comes over to offer me a hand. Then he gives a hearty chuckle as he wrestles the sacks into the machine and says “Is that all you’ve got for me today?”

“Afraid so,” I joke back.

He closes the back on the car with a smile. “Ya have a great day, now, ya hear.”

And I always do. Because how can you not. We may not have the most preferred method of trash disposal, but we certainly have the best customer service.