More first world blues, local business edition.
A year or more ago, our city council decided to reward one company with the trash pick up and recycling business. Before then, several companies were contracted. Nobody was complaining but apparently the thought was that having just one company have the business would enhance the ease of managing them and save us money in the long haul.
Does this sound familiar from other episodes of life? Read on.
The city and company said that this arrangement would not increase our rates. We believed the city and company. We'd elected those city officials.
Does this sound familiar from other episodes of life? Let's keep going.
After a few months, the city announced that the company was seeking a rate increase. Apparently, to the company's surprise, the city's inhabitants recycle more than they expected. Therefore, it was costing the company more to fulfill their contractual obligations.
My wife and I were baffled. She was also outraged. "Did they consider that before they put in the bid and negotiated with the city?" she said.
Yes, but well...they'd underestimated what was needed.
Sound familiar? There's more.
The rate increase was granted. All was well. Except...it turned out that it's costing the company more than expected to run the recycling center.
What a business. Did they understand anything of the cost and volume associated with what they were doing? And these were the best the city council could find?
The company went to the city council with their problem. A small rate increase was granted to offset that cost but to offset that recycling increase, our trash collection rates would be decreased by the same amount. However, rates are increasing three percent in January. This is so the city can give the company the money to buy new garbage containers so that everyone has the same one. That will allow the company to more efficiently operate. Henceforth, everyone will need to stop using the containers they bought and use the new ones the city bought for the company. What do you do with the one you've already purchased? Well, that's your problem.
Wait a minute....
Sounds like this company is pulling the long con on the city and we're all going along with this. After all, these people we elected to run the city put themselves forward as responsible and principled people who would be our servants and do what's best for our city and its citizens.
Yet, somehow, doing best for the city and its citizens means paying this company more and more money so they can be profitable.
It seems way too familiar to how things operate in the first world.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com