It’s Easy to Trash Your Reputation

It’s New Year’s Eve and tomorrow many people will be cleaning up the trash leftover from parties. Along those lines, I have a story of trash and reputation.

Over the recent holiday season I was visiting with relatives who live in a rural area where trash removal services are provided by small private operators (e.g. a guy with a truck). The latest news among these family members was that their trash collector had announced the week before Christmas that he was retiring immediately and would no longer provide his services. Ever. He was done. Even though people had paid him through the end of the year and he owed them another week trash collection services in 2011.

I heard this story recited over and over again to anyone who would listen. Given how little I was around to hear it, I can only imagine how widely this event has been discussed in this rural community.

What wasn’t mentioned. Lots of things that I can think of. That unlike some of his competitors, this small operator hadn’t been banned from county dumps for bringing in improper materials. That he would drive all the way down your private lane and pick up trash right at your house instead of requiring you to take your trash to the main road. That for years people could count on him to collect their trash right on schedule.

But that’s not what will be remembered.

Instead, he’ll be the guy who quit and owed people a week of service. Or worse, as the story spreads, a week will become a month and so on.

Okay, not the happiest story to end the year with. However, it’s been on my mind so I wanted to pound it out on the keyboard before moving on to something more fun. Have a great time ringing in the New Year tonight!

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2 Responses to It’s Easy to Trash Your Reputation

  1. Noel,

    If the guy retired, perhaps he simply doesn’t care about his reputation. It seems a little extreme of an action, and I assume something else is at play there. Did he get less envelopes at Christmas this year? Was his route altered? Was a pay raise voted down?

    Also, only time will tell as to what his final reputation is. People might forget about a week without garbage pickup, especially if its to cold for the garbage to smell.

    • Hi Justin, it’s a self-employed situation, so nothing to do with altered routes or pay raises. You’re correct that time will tell, but people in the area where this happened have long memories. I guess what stuck in my mind was that nobody brought up the good things he’d done over the years.

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