Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This is Rubbish!

Yes, we've been having a great time touring London and environs with Ben and Laska, but lest you think that I've turned the corner from being frustrated by the way things work (or don't) around here, I'll share another story with you...

Our trash ("rubbish") is collected every Thursday morning.  We have one small metal trash can ("rubbish bin") and two recycling bins, and we are also supposed to have a small bin for food waste.  We don't.  Several weeks ago, I  checked our local council web site, and they had a form you could fill out to request a new one.  I filled it out and submitted it.  Nothing happened.  We were out of town for 10 days, so I waited til we got back and tried again.  This time I got an email confirmation:
Request for food waste bins - Reference: AF98849E
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Thank you for using the online request form. Your Complete set (outside bin, kitchen caddy and liners) will be delivered within 5 working days to your front garden.

If you have any enquiries regarding this request please email or call 020 8274 4902.

Information regarding our food waste services can be found at

Your reference number for this form is AF98849E
Seven working days later, there was still no sign of any bins, so I called the number.  The conversation went something like this:

Naina: Hello, I'd like to check the status of a request for replacement food waste bins.  I have a confirmation number, if that helps.

Council lady: OK, what's the number?

Naina: A - F, as in Foxtrot ...

Council: What? That doesn't sound like a confirmation number.  Where did that number come from?

Naina: I submitted a request online and this is the number I was sent in the confirmation email.

Council: No, you can't request food waste bins online.

Naina: Well, then why do you have a form on your website?  And how did I get this confirmation email.  [Reads contents of email to Council lady.]

Council: If we let people request replacement bins online, then everyone would be doing it.  Do you see what I mean?

Naina:  Uh...  No.  Look, I just moved here from another country.  The house we are renting does not have a food waste bin.  How can I get one?

Council: I can submit an order for you.  What's your post code and house number?

Naina: SW19 8TH, number 35.

Council: And what's your home phone number?

Naina: 0-2-0-3...

Council:  Don't you mean 0-2-0-8?

Naina: No, it's 0-2-0-3-...

Council: The numbers in our calling area start with 0208.

Naina: I don't know what to tell you.  This is the number assigned to us by Sky.

Council: What's your surname?

Naina: Mistry.  M-I-S-T-R-Y

Council: That's not showing up in our records.  Are you sure you gave me the correct post code and house number?

Naina: Yes.  We are renting the house.  We just moved in two months ago, so maybe the records haven't been updated yet.  We've paid our council tax.  Can we submit the order?

Council: Yes, here is your order confirmation number: [xxxxxxx I don't have it handy]

Naina: And how long will it take to receive the bins?

Council: When is your regular food waste collection day?

Naina: I don't know -- we don't have a food waste bin.  Is it normally collected the same day as the trash and recycling?

Council: Yes.

Naina:  OK, then Thursday.

Council:  In that case, you may get them on Thursday when they collect your trash.  If not, it usually takes 5 working days.


  1. Wow . . .that sounds like a bad comedy routine. So annoying!!

  2. This reminds me of the time I called PG&E to inquire as to why I hadn't received a bill in over SIX MONTHS. They said they couldn't tell me that information because the account was not in my name (DONALD). I tried to explain that I was just trying to make sure the bill got PAID so my power didn't get shut off. Still wouldn't tell me anything. I didn't get a bill from PG&E for another TWO YEARS. And then they billed me for the entire time that had passed.


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