Trash crews can become good friends

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In our go-go-go world, something is still special about the faces that make a trip to your house on a regular basis.

Most doctors abandoned house calls decades ago. Traveling salesmen have gone the way of the typewriter. And with the growth of e-mail and online messaging, even the mailman has fewer regular stops in your driveway than he once did.

But one thing about our society hasn’t changed — we are still pretty trashy.

Email newsletter signup

As a result, the trash pickup man is — apparently — a pretty important face to many of you.

I’ve heard from a number of residents in the week since the City of Natchez announced that Waste Management would no longer handle residential trash pickup in the city. Everyone who has called, written or e-mailed isn’t worried about Waste Management as a company, the city as their local government or even the status of their next trash pickup.

Instead, folks are worried about their trash man, or woman.

Will he have a job? What will he do? I’ll miss her.

Local residents have pointed out that the same face has visited their house twice weekly for six years or more. The drivers have watched children grow up and tamed local dogs.

One reader even wrote a letter to the editor — published here today — about the impact her trash crew has had on her family.

It’s a heartwarming reminder that, in the era of social connections that come through Facebook and text messages, some residents do still enjoy getting to know the real people in their lives, even if it’s just the trash guy.

I don’t know our trash crew. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen them. I’m either asleep when they do their work or up and out of the house for a meeting at work. But the calls from other area residents have made me realize perhaps I’m missing out.

The city granted its trash pickup contract to a new company last week — Waste Pro.

Waste Pro will, I’m sure, have quality drivers with friendly faces all the same.

It will take some time to get to know them, and the change will be as aggravating as any kind of change is.

But the Waste Pro drivers and crews deserve just as much respect and neighborly love as the Waste Management workers have reportedly received for years.

And, according to executives at Waste Management who stopped by our office Tuesday, no one has been laid off from their company and no such layoffs are planned.

So, though your preferred driver might not toss you a friendly wave this week, he’s still gainfully employed this holiday season.

Waste Management should be proud that so many local residents have such respect for their employees; it speaks wonders in an era and, frankly, a community in which customer service is often so lacking.

We all should smile a little to know that the faces that impact our daily lives in seemingly small ways do, in 2012, still matter.

After all, the folks who deliver our newspaper to thousands of area houses daily have known that for years.


Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or