In this case, trash smells like ... trash
If it is not corrupt, it is certainly mismanaged.
I am referring to the Cushing solid waste transfer station just south of Main on Luella.
Here’s the story.
In the back of the Citizen office, I had some boxes and other trash beginning to pile up that either would not fit in the trash carts or nobody wanted to place in those carts.
I loaded all I could into my pickup and drove it to the transfer station. The place was a bit of a mess but probably expected of a solid waste disposal enterprise.
The employee was nice enough.
I backed onto the metal building and he met me. I got out and he began to snoop around the bed of the truck. Apparently, some items needed to go in a metal deposit trailer, some in a larger item trailer and some in the main disposal trailer. I asked how much and he said, “About $10.”
He helped as we unloaded the pickup. Once we were done, he said, “That’ll be $15.”
I was a little taken aback, yet, to save confrontation, I paid him $15, then told him I’d be back with another truckload shortly. I asked if I needed a receipt. His reply, “Do you want one?” I did not need one so away I went.
In about half an hour, I returned with another load. This time the price was $10. We quickly unloaded, I paid — no receipt — and I was on my way.
I don’t know what the guy did with the $25 cash I gave him but I certainly had no proof that I’d paid.
He had, so far as I know, no record that money came in to their business.
The gentlemen who accepted that job may well be the smartest guy in town because he was hired on to a job that is a cash business, requires no investment on his part, has no accountability on income and has no audit trail on cash income to the company.
He may be doing quite well.
I thought it was quite strange. It’s like going into a restaurant, seeing a hamburger and fries in the menu for $8 and getting a bill for $12 because the kitchen help accidentally put more fries on the plate than they’re supposed to.
He told me it was $10 then it increased by 50 percent with no explanation of why.
Here is a contrasting story.
At our cabin at Lake Ouachita near Mount Ida, Arkansas, we burn paper and plastic and put the rest in bags to go to the transfer station just north and west of Mount Ida. They are open Monday through Friday but not on weekends. I can deal with that.
It was a Friday and I dragged, behind the Jeep, a small trailer full of trash. Most of the trash was in plastic bags but some too big for bags.
The facility is spacious, nestled in the forest with pine trees surrounding and everything is clean and organized.
I backed my trailer to the proper spot with an employee of the facility guiding me in. Before I even got out of the Jeep, there were two guys grabbing bags and tossing them into the pit.
I may have gotten there in time to help with two small bags. They got the rest.
He asked me to wait before I drove off while he washed out the inside of the trailer.
The staff there asked no questions, required no payment, asked for no receipt of our trash bill from Mount Ida. They were so friendly it felt like I was invited to a birthday party and even washed out my trailer before I was free to leave. That’s service.
That brand of service makes one less fussy about the cost of solid waste.
Mount Ida, Arkansas is a small, clean little town. I believe a critical ingredient to it being a clean town is the fact that all citizens can take waste to the transfer station, feel appreciated that they took the time to bring the trash there rather than having this trash accumulate on and around their property in town.
There are families in Cushing who have items to discard and don’t have $10 to $15 or whatever the person as the transfer station chooses to think it should cost to have it discarded. What are they to do with the trash?
You guessed it. They allow it to accumulate around their property or drop it in the trash receptacles in the park or on a country road — and in my experience, some just go take it to the car wash.
At least, the business of the transfer station in Cushing should be tightened up. No person should leave the facility, after dropping off refuse, without a receipt. That should just be part of the process.
Customers could then have a reasonable expectation that the money they spent is actually going to the company and not in a non-supervised employee’s pocket.
Next, it would not take much time or money to make the place look presentable. Have the employee(s) clean the place up rather than playing solitaire on their computer when there’s not a customer waiting. The place should be clean, organized and not have the pungent smell. It can be nauseating.
Finally, if we truly want our town to look better, make it an easy and pleasant experience for citizens to take trash where it belongs rather than basically urging them not to.
Many hands make light work. We know there is no free lunch but maybe it is best to increase our waste bills only slightly each month in order to offer free dump of waste. Certainly, companies like roofers and other in construction business should and expect to pay for waste disposal. In this, we’re referring to residences and light commercial waste.
This would be one more positive step toward making Cushing a prettier town.
Negative people can always identify ways why something will never work. Positive people may respond to an idea like this with something like, “Makes sense. Let’s try it and see if it makes a difference.”