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Who are you calling trash?

October 17th, 2012 · 46 comments

Writes our submitter in California: “Our custodial staff is very careful about not throwing stuff away just because it looks like trash. This co-worker wanted to make sure the right things got thrown away, but might have gotten a little overly specific.”

The result? “An onion of confusion and garbage.”

Box is trash Trashcan in box is not trash (Trash in trashcan in box is trash)

related: Hey, that garbage was important!

FILED UNDER: California · garbage · office · Say wha?

46 responses so far ↓

  • #1   ariemay

    Fox in sox on box …

    Oct 17, 2012 at 6:34 pm   rating: 20  small thumbs up

  • #2   Elisha

    Kind of like one of those photos where a person is holding a picture of the exact same photo and on and on and on…..

    Oct 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm   rating: 14  small thumbs up

  • #3   Limeliberator bang

    I’m not wanting to be the master of the obvious or anything but why not just dump the trash in the box and label it as such?

    Oct 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm   rating: 57  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   SchoolBusDriver/Custodian

      The trash that is in the trash can (that is not trash) cannot go into the box that is trash because the trash in the trash can (that is not trash) is full of half empty (or half full, however you look at it) Starbucks cups that have sat around until they are leaking and smelly. But, you say, the trash that is in the trash can (that is not trash) is in a plastic liner. WELL, the plastic liner has a hole in the bottom because the person in charge of ordering the liners is a cheap ass and buys the ones that don’t tear properly. So that is why the trash that is in the trash can (that is not trash) cannot go into the box (that is trash).

      Oct 17, 2012 at 9:19 pm   rating: 42  small thumbs up

    • #3.2   My name is Princess!

      The box should be recycled.

      Oct 18, 2012 at 9:11 am   rating: 27  small thumbs up

    • #3.3   ....But That's Not My Name

      Or why doesn’t the über-douche just take the bag out of the trash can, tie it shut, and place it next to the trash can? Or is that too lowly for some people? But it’s ok for the cleaning people to do it….

      Oct 22, 2012 at 12:10 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #3.4   blazeraider bang

      A note such as this could result in having the only trash can in the office not being emptied for a long time.

      Oct 23, 2012 at 4:58 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #4   Mushroom

    But what if there was a little box in the trash can with a sticky note in it?
    Then we’d wonder if the trash in the box in the trash in the can in the box is trash.

    Oct 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

  • #5   Tesstarosa

    Don’t they usually have these little Post It thingies that say “Trash/Buscara” (not sure I’ve got my Spanish right) to put on the boxes. Then you just set the box by the trash can?

    Oct 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   weaselby

      Basura. So close!

      Oct 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #6   Greg House

    Okayyyyyy…. so, if the box is trash, and the trash can is NOT trash, but the trash in the trash can is trash, so why not take the trash can out of the box, dump said trash from trash can into box, and then put a sign on the box that just says ‘TRASH”… the note writer is a boob.

    Oct 17, 2012 at 6:37 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   Dane Zeller

      Wait, wait, Greg! What if the coffee drinker who thinks it’s all right to put a half-finished coffee cup in the trash can has done so? Mind if I improve on your solution? Take the trash can out of the box and put it beside the box. Write note on box: “throw this box away.” Simple!

      Oct 18, 2012 at 9:11 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #6.2   Kimberly

      When I have a box to be thrown away I take on the arduous task of breaking it down and then putting it behind the trash can. Maybe our cleaning crew is just top notch but there has never been any confusion on what is to be done with what.

      Oct 18, 2012 at 11:53 am   rating: 13  small thumbs up

  • #7   vegnation bang

    I’m picturing a Venn diagram of (a) the set of people who have the intelligence and patience to take time out of their busy job to decipher the note on the box, and (b) the set of people who don’t know that trash cans, although they hold trash, are not themselves trash. The only person in the overlapping section is a 25-year old custodial worker who dropped out of his Physics graduate program because of mental health issues and now spends most of his shift locked in the broom closet with the works of Neal Stephenson.

    Oct 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm   rating: 34  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   squib

      I read that as “locked in the broom closet with Neal Stephenson,” which is also an awesome option. I picture lots of conspiratorial whispering and diagramming on a whiteboard.

      Oct 18, 2012 at 8:13 am   rating: 11  small thumbs up

  • #8   shwo! bang

    It’s kind of like the movie Inception, except as a trash can.

    Oct 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm   rating: 33  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   Brian

      This made me actually laugh out loud.

      Oct 18, 2012 at 7:41 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #8.2   KatieMB bang

      Which, to some people, is the same thing.

      Oct 21, 2012 at 10:16 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #9   Ely North

    Yeah, I’d just take the box and everything in it and toss it all in the dumpster. I don’t have time for reading notes on boxes. I have toilets to scrub.

    Oct 17, 2012 at 7:25 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

  • #10   Daniel

    This is what Magritte would have painted if he worked in an office.

    Oct 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   Aaron

      Ceci n’est pas une poubelle

      Oct 18, 2012 at 4:37 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   pooham

      That is an awesome observation! And it made me look up Magritte so I could understand it.

      Oct 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #11   Ryan

    I would have just broken down the box and put it under or behind the trashcan. But then, I’m not completely inconsiderate…

    Oct 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm   rating: 26  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   Jenn

      After working at a mall where people refuse to break down their boxes and overload the cardboard compactor daily… I always, always break down my boxes. You cut two pieces of tape and you’re done! And then you’re not tripping over a box!

      Oct 17, 2012 at 8:50 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #11.2   The Elf

      And then they still don’t take it because it isn’t in an approved trash receptacle. If I don’t label it as trash/basura (both are necessary), then it won’t get picked up.

      Or is that just my county?

      Oct 18, 2012 at 8:10 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #11.3   Kimberly

      I too worked at a place with a cardboard compactor so it is completely unacceptable to me to not break down boxes.

      Oct 18, 2012 at 11:55 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #11.4   Vulpis

      I hear that–the place I work at doesn’t have a compactor, but it does have a dumpster specifically meant for cardboard. Idiots on other shifts can’t be bothered to break boxes down, so the thing gets packed solid well before the pickup day. :-/

      Oct 19, 2012 at 12:57 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #11.5   pooham

      Our cardboard recycle dumpsters only have slots in them so you have to break down boxes before putting them in.

      Oct 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #11.6   blazeraider bang

      I dont know how many times i have taken boxes away with the trash and found out later the person wanted the box. If its next to or with trashitwilbe removed. The trash can may also be removed for cleaning depending on how much coffee and other crap has leaked through the cheap liner. I sometimes wonder, are they so lazy that they cant walk to a sink and pour out the coffee or just to stupid? Speaking of stupid, occasionally i’ll get a page requesting my services, when i arrive and ask “did you need something?” then in a condescending manor or smart ass remark “our garbage is overflowing”. When i proceed to rectify the problem i’ll find that some genius has stuffed an empty box into the can, or my favorite, a larg toner cartridge in its original box that says “PLEASE RECYCLE’. Arrrgghhh!!! And im the idiot.

      Oct 23, 2012 at 6:43 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #12   Nahhh bang

    I’d have just left a reply on another Post-It: “Trash-can liner is removable.”

    Oct 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   shwo! bang

      Please stop wasting my Post-It Notes.

      Oct 17, 2012 at 10:27 pm   rating: 51  small thumbs up

    • #12.2   redheadwglasses

      Shwo, I wish I could send you cookies!

      Oct 19, 2012 at 11:26 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #13   Mel K bang

    Can’t the box be recycled or be reused by someone in the mailroom?

    Oct 18, 2012 at 4:54 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   The Elf

      Sure it could. But that would likely be another level of craziness to get that picked up.

      Or is that just my county, again?

      Oct 18, 2012 at 8:12 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #13.2   Kimberly

      At my office someone who works here, not the janitorial staff, has to take the recycling to the recycling location, so it probably would add another level of craziness in finding someone who is willing to do that.

      Oct 18, 2012 at 11:57 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #14   Gniz

    Way to over-complicate things. Plus, (and this is just based off my experience in various offices), sometimes the janitorial staff don’t always speak fluent English, and this sign would be crazy to try to comprehend.

    Oct 18, 2012 at 10:11 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   Kathy

      Same in my building. We’ve taken to sometimes putting a Spanish translation under the English one. It helps.

      Oct 21, 2012 at 4:43 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #15   hmmm

    yeah, recycling people. in MA it’s required.

    Oct 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   Vulpis

      Recycling people is required in MA?

      Oct 19, 2012 at 12:56 am   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #15.2   The Elf

      It explains a lot, when you think about it.

      Don’t eat the green wafers.

      Oct 19, 2012 at 7:12 am   rating: 13  small thumbs up

  • #16   Joe Blow

    Why does the trash can have to remain in the box?

    Oct 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   Kathy

      That’s exactly what I thought. It creates confusion putting the can in there. Why didn’t they just leave the box separate from it? The janitorial staff knows to dump the trash can and they’d know what to do with a box if it was labeled simply “TRASH.” As someone else said, “Way to complicate things.”

      Oct 21, 2012 at 4:45 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #17   Polly

    Note writer should remember that not all cleaning ladies/gents have a perfect mastery of English.

    Every cleaner understands that the stuff in the various trash receptacles gets tossed. Want other litter removed? Slap a “TRASH” label on it (or a label provide by your cleaning service with the word(s) their workers understand).

    Keep it Simple.

    Oct 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #18   Le Lac

    Because breaking down the box or putting the box on top of the trash can was too simple…

    Oct 19, 2012 at 11:44 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #19   Margaret

    It reminds me of the Berenstein Bears book, “Inside, Outside, Upside Down.”

    I think someone didn’t want to work on real work that day.

    Oct 20, 2012 at 5:08 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #20   G. B. Miller

    Sadly, we have to do this at work. If we don’t label something as “trash” (English and Spanish), it will not be taken away. It will sit in the hallway until dust bunnies appear and make it hop away.

    Oct 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up


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