Dear Reverend Nile, where’s an ethics class when I need one?

I went to the tip this morning, little knowing I would come back with more crap than I went with.  Who would have thought a trailer full of rubbish would generate an ethical dilemma?

It went like this:

  • Because I knew there would be two different drop-off points at the tip, I went to some trouble before I left home to put a load of flattened cardboard boxes on top, and all the other junk underneath them.  The cardboard ended up being piled pretty high and probably obscured, to a quick glance, the junk underneath.
  • I reported in at the weighbridge, and the lady in the booth took a cursory look at my load and waved me in.
  • I unloaded everything in the right places – the cardboard in the cardboard bin, the other junk in the mixed waste bin.  I even cleaned up afterwards using the big broom they leave near the bins.  So far, so good, all PC.
  • I drove back to the weighbridge, and got out my wallet to pay.  The lady in the booth said: “There’s no charge; you just had cardboard didn’t you?  Cardboard is free.”
  • Before I could give a proper response, the shadow side jumped in, elbowed me out of the way, and said “Yep,” and the boom gate lifted for me to leave.
  • Going back with a correction to the shadow side’s prevarication by then seemed out of the question.

Sitting here afterwards, I inevitably think “What ought I to have done?”

In the scheme of things, the council hasn’t lost out on too much – half a trailer load of sticks, bricks and leaves into a very big bin, and $15-20 worth of tip fees not collected.  But ….

In the end, the big loser was probably me, because I feel right out of synch with personal values I aspire to hold.  It hurt me a whole lot more than it did the council.  There was that split second after the shadow side led me astray, when I could have said, “No, wait a minute, there was a bit of stuff for the mixed waste bin as well.”

The fifteen bucks would have bought me a whole lot of peace of mind.  Oh well, another lesson learnt and a bit more bad karma to purify.

And I suppose part of the atonement is that I have now to remind a guy who did some work for us in our renovations that he has forgotten to send us an invoice  (and that’s for a few hundred bucks).  Can’t quite rationalise my way out of that one after my episode at the tip.

David White

    • Dee Jensen
    • July 15th, 2014

    You just can’t stop looking into that navel can you?

    • Blasty
    • August 12th, 2011

    Dave don’t rear yourself up over the tipping fees – Councils already charge for waste disposal … remember councils have been proven time and time again to default on their obligations to the people they represent . There have been rorts -some discovered ,which led to prosecutions and dismissal of the elected officials. Councils gouge ratepayers in many municipalities by indiscriminately fining severely people who stand accused of breaking council -imposed restrictions on parking. Your experience should not cause you too much of a bother in the scheme of things .
    With respect to the tradesman- if you think he did a good job – I would contact him. There is always a chance as far as he is concerned , an invoice did issue and its YOU who is in default !!. Now I know you would not tolerate that situation LOL !!!!


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