Until recently, there were three main garbage collecting companies in town… and a handful of smaller ones.
The local company sold out to company number three…. officially meaning that #3 now had more new customers in this metro area than they had original customers.
Our entire neighborhood with very few exceptions has always had company #2. We actually got a special neighborhood discount because such a high percentage of the homes were all on the same service.
Now, #3 is a national company. After a few weeks, they started using their own branded trucks, so it wasn’t the equipment they wanted in this deal…. basically what they bought was the customers.
It has now been three months. And when you go through our neighborhood, very very few people still have the cans from company 2/3.
They bought customers, only to lose almost all of them to a mix of several of the smaller ones.
And they can’t figure out why.
There have been commercials and news stories from them trying to promise people the rates won’t go up if they stay… and trying to play it up that they still have the same employees…
But nobody cares.
And the reason why is actually really simple.
This land is flat, and the city is old.
That might not seem like it would make a difference, but it does.
Because everything until you get out to the suburbs is set up as a grid. There are no mountains to get in the way of the straight lines… and cul-de-sacs dont happen until you hit the recently build areas.
Almost everywhere around here is a standard rectangle layout… with an alley down the middle of each block and houses on each side close to the two streets as to make back yards about 3 times the size of the front yards.
Why does that matter to a trash company?
Because around here, trash cans are supposed to go in the alley. That way, the smell and mess are further from the house, you dont have to move the cans back and forth on the right morning, and the trucks don’t block traffic picking it up. Many of the houses have concrete areas specifically for the trash cans to sit, and have a sort of notched area that isn’t fenced to allow them to sit just outside the fence, but be able to have bags put inside without opening the gates.
The alleys aren’t paved, but they are easily driveable… a lot of the houses usually have the garage driveway coming in from the alley instead of the street.
But the national trash companies don’t seem to get it. Neither one does alley service, saying that it is harder on their trucks to take a beating on non-paved alleyways.
When #3 took over, they didn’t even announce that they were ending alley service. They just suddenly didn’t pick up the trash the week that their own trucks took over, and when people called, they were told that they’ve never offered alley service.
If they don’t actually offer what the people are actually buying… does it really surprise you that they’d rather change to a company that does offer what they want instead of just changing to what you want to offer them?
And yet they can’t seem to figure out why they paid a lot of money to buy customers that suddenly all jumped ship the minute that their bills came due again.
Meanwhile… 3 of the smaller companies merged to be better able to handle the increase…. and they are running out of cans to give to all of their new customers! They are bringing out the older cans that look like they had probably been retired… and the one that my mom has is actually supposed to be the largest style of recycling bin.
They offer alley service. All they had to do was send out a single flyer, and that’s all the flyer had to say other than the phone number.