punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

The trash service here is crazy

Okay, I live in Fairfax County and we have AAA Trash and Recycling. When I moved to my current address in 2000 (man, it's been TEN YEARS, wow), we had no trash cans apart from the ones the previous occupants left. We were told that AAA would give us new ones because the trash people were NOT ALLOWED to get trash from non-approved AAA containers.

Well, nobody told the trash people that. For the next two years, not only did we not get AAA trash cans, the trash people picked up our crappy generic Home Depot plastic wheeled can and emptied them without protest. The only people who did not pick up our trash were the recycling folks. Because we did not have recycling bins. And we didn't press the issue because we were getting regular trash removal, and the "to do" got pushed further down the stack until it vanished from memory.

Then in 2003 or so, we got a notice that they were replacing our cans and recycling bins, and to put out our old AAA can and recycling bins to get new ones. We called and said we never got ANY cans or bins. They said they'd just leave the new ones, then. Which they did not. I liked the newer cans the neighbors got. My own generic cans were falling apart, and why pay for new trash cans when AAA was supposed to supply them? So I called them again. And again. Eventually, I got a new can AND ONE recycling bin! Yay! Oh, wait, I am supposed to get THREE. One for glass, one for paper, and one for plastic. No, they only sent me a dark green one. When I called and called, they sent me a SECOND dark green one. Whatever. So I only recycled paper.

Then in 2008, they said they were replacing the cans and bins yet again, and we didn't have to sort our recycling anymore. We'd get a new bright blue can instead of the triple bins of dark green, yellow, and blue. This amused me, because they only sent me two dark green bins. They exchanged my can, gave me a new can, but left my dark green bins. And somehow, I ended up with three dark green bins. One of them is smaller than the other two. I am not sure how I have 3 of them now, I always assumed that it belonged to Anya, but she said it didn't. But AAA does not use the dark green bins anymore. So I use them to haul around yard waste.

So, back in March, our neighborhood renewed a discounted contract with them. Basically, the trash pickup costs had been creeping up every year, and finally the got a new contract which saved me $30/month for the trash pickup. But I had to call and change it. So I did. I spoke to a "Susan" who said they'd have to close my old account and open a new one. Details of the next account would be mailed to me. O-kay!

So imagine my surprise when I got a message on my machine this weekend saying they were going to pick up my trash bins. I never got notice of that. I looked through all my bills, and saw I had gotten nothing from AAA since March. I also saw that my bank tried to make an auto-payment in March, but got rejected as "account closed," but I assumed that had been because I changed accounts. It occurred to me that not getting ANYTHING for two months likely meant one thing: they canceled my account. But then why have they been picking up trash all this time?

So I called today, and spoke with a mousy person named Jo who said there "was no Susan working here," but she did show my account had been canceled in March, as per my request, and no new account was ever opened. It occurred to me to ask her, "well, then who canceled it?" but she seemed frightened I called, and frankly I don't care. I did ask, "then why did they pick up my trash all this time?" She said, "sometimes the drivers don't look at the address and just empty anything with our logo." That seems... like a great way to get free trash pickup. Hmmm... but it's unethical. So I reinstated my account, but I had to pay a $76 "hookup fee" which I was okay with because I hadn't paid them since March and got trash service anyway.

She then said she's not sure why I got called for the cans this weekend, because she shows they repossessed my cans and bins in April. No ma'am, I still have them as of yesterday, although they are in my back yard to prevent someone from taking them. She said that she'd send me some new ones, which... honestly, I could have said, "I JUST TOLD YOU I STILL HAVE THEM YOU DIM TART!" but I figured one of four things would happen.

1. I will never get new cans, and it will be like nothing happened (this is the most likely)
2. I will get new cans in addition to my old ones (I could use them)
3. They will take my old cans anyway and not give me new ones (boo, I hope not)
4. They will take my old cans anyway and give me new ones (unlikely)

I also found out from her that the bin repossession and distribution is done by a third party contracted by Fairfax county which really does explain the silliness of it all. She said she reinstated my account, with the old account number (which I verified on my statement), charged me the setup fee, and in theory I get trash pickup again next week. Thankfully, I had no parties since the last (apparently free) pickup on Friday, so...
Tags: trash
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