Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why government should not provide services

With very few exceptions, government should not be responsible for providing services to people.  Capitalism is the worst system....except for all others. 

Here is my real life example.  It is small but very telling.  In Norfolk, recycling is only collected every other week.  Last Thursday was our collection day so I put the trash and the recycling out.  The trash was collected but for some odd reason the recycling for every house on my side of the block was not picked up. I left the can on the street and called HRSD at 3pm on Friday to tell them that recycling had not picked up.  The woman told me that was a city responsibility and gave me Norfolk's number.  I called Norfolk and the woman was very pleasant, asked for my address and said they would get it that day.  No one showed up. 

Thus began a three day weekend in which I knew no recycling would be picked up.  So I held onto my full recycling can and put it out again today for pick-up.  At 1pm I called home and asked if it had been collected.  My wife said no so I called Norfolk waste management again.  Like Friday, the woman was very pleasant and assured me that it would be collected.  As of this blog post, the recycling can still sits full and uncollected. 

Now here is the dilemma.  No one cares.  It is a government agency.  They will get paid regardless of how well or how poorly they perform.  They have a monopoly on trash collection.  What am I to do?  I will call again and complain but if they get to it so be it.  But if they don't life will go on.

If this was a commercial trash collection agency, I can say with 94% certainty the first time I complained they would be out here.  I can say with a 100% certainty that the second time I complained it would definitely be collected because if it wasn't I would FIRE THEM and move onto another company.  I don't have that option with a government monopoly. 

Given their performance record, I guess I shouldn't be surprised when I am hauling the recycling out in my truck this weekend.


  1. Here's my letter to Hampton Roads Utility Billing Service and Norfolk Utilities:

    Please adjust my February bill to reflect only one recycling pick-up (HRSD Acct. XXXXXXXX). Recycling was not collected on my street’s designated day (2/16). After calling Norfolk Utilities, my husband was informed that recycling would be collected the following day (2/17) – it was not. A second call resulted in the promise that recycling would be collected today (2/23) – again, it was not. My husband was told at this time, “You’re the sixth person to call today.”

    The entire North side of the XXXX block of RXXXXX Avenue is affected by this delinquency.

    Until the communication and coordination issues are resolved, kindly remove the charges from my bill. I am not interested in paying for services I am not receiving.

  2. The last time the trash people were heinously late it was because one of the drivers got stuck in the back of a truck...