Photo Copyright: Maggie May
Although I'm not the most patient of people, I think I am reasonable and try and see things through others' point of view even if I do fail at times.
However, my patience is now running very thin.
There has been a bit of a saga going on here for the last month concerning our household and the City Council. Maybe it is not the City Council's fault but they gave a contract to a firm who deals with our garden waste and all the other things that we now have to recycle.
I'd like to add that I am a keen recycler and fully support all recycling.
So what is the fuss about?
I pay the Council a sum of money every year for a green bin and the chance to have this emptied every week, providing I put it out on the pavement by 7 am on collection day.
The green bin is for garden waste, leaves and plants, small branches, weeds and grass cuttings etc. Among the other things that are on the list for collection in this bin is small animal bedding, providing they are not meat eaters and this includes rabbits.
I have had the rabbits for two years and there has never been any problem with the Council picking up my green bin contents........ until now, that is.
The problem began a month ago when my bin was not collected. I do struggle with getting the bin out because of my hip and spinal problems not to mention my sore wrists that are arthritic.
Well it is worth the effort to get the bin emptied. I have a small garden and cannot now cope with compost bins because it is all too heavy for me.
If the bin isn't emptied, then I have to struggle to get it in and out of the garden several times until the next collection date, while the bin gets heavier with more things being added.
The first time I complained by phone, I was told that my bin hadn't been emptied because I'd not paid my yearly subscrition. I was a bit surprised by this and went to the bank to find out if there was a problem. They said everything was fine and that they'd rung the Council for me and the money was going through by Direct Debit as it always had done. I was told it was an Council administration error.
However, the Council insisted that I hadn't paid and when I pointed out that my next door neighbour's waste bin hadn't been collected either, the girl I was speaking to told me that whole streets were on the fiddle and that they were clamping down on all the people who had green bins but were not paying.
I thought this was a terrible thing to say to someone who had always paid and I guessed the neighbour hadn't got into arrears either. I think the street had been missed out by the collectors.
The woman said it was my word against hers but because I was making a fuss they would send someone round to empty my bin. I asked them to empty the neighbour's bin too as it was out on the street next to mine.
My husband was painting the front door when the lorry came round on a different day from normal, especially to empty my bin. They told him I was not on the list of people who had paid so they shouldn't really be doing it. They didn't empty my neighbour's bin although it was on the pavement by mine.
When I learned about this I rang to complain about my neighbour's bin and to give them the details of my payment from the Bank Statement that I had found.
I asked why they'd left my neighbour's bin when it was out on the street next door to mine?
They told me the neighbour hadn't actually complained. I asked if they thought this was a complete waste of public money to have to keep coming back to empty bins several times when it could be done in one visit.
I was assured that everything would be collected the next week.
I shouldn't have been surprised when I realised my bin had not been emptied on collection day the following week. I was told, when I rang to complain, that I hadn't paid, so the Council couldn't collect. I reminded them of my Direct Debit details, told them of my health problems and the fact that I found the bins difficult even when they were not so full and although they seemed empathetic about that, they still insisted that it was because I hadn't paid.
However, they would phone through to admin and try and get me taken off the *black list*.
The next week I put my green waste bin out with a sinking heart because I didn't have high hopes of it being emptied. I was rather shocked to hear from my husband that next door's bin had been emptied but mine hadn't. The lorry had come but not taken my bin contents. Instead they had slapped a note on it to say it contained things that they couldn't handle.
I rang up again.
"Oh...... you mean there are animal faeces in the green bin? Well no wonder they wouldn't pick up."
I explained that the rabbits' droppings in their bedding didn't exactly come under the heading of smelly faeces. (Though technically they were faeces). I asked if they would go and check if there were new rules that said they wouldn't take rabbit's bedding/droppings anymore. They came back and told me that no, rabbits' droppings and bedding were considered alright for recycling and that perhaps the collectors thought I'd put in cat faeces.
I think a two year old would be able to know the difference between rabbit droppings and cat faeces and I asked them how the drivers could be enlightened about it. After a long think, the rather polite man I was speaking to asked if I could put a note on my bin saying that it was rabbit bedding and nothing to do with cats. The man was very apologetic and said he was writing quite a severe complaint to the drivers.
I did tell them that every time the bin is not emptied on collection day, I was going to complain and ask them to come out and empty my bin on another day. This is what they are obliged to do if the bin gets over looked.
So if you are all wondering why your Council tax bills are so high, then maybe this has something to do with it.
I am not getting too excited about my bin getting emptied on collection day. Maybe I will never get it emptied again.
Would you be annoyed if you were paying for a service that was not being done?
Any suggestions, if they continue to miss out my bin?