My husband is one of the hardest working people I know. Since our children have been born, it’s a rare, rare thing that he only works an 8-hour day. He does it humbly as it allowed me to stay at home and raise and homeschool our kids.
Even before that, he worked in a slaughterhouse, a wiring factory, a meat processing plant, a preserving technician (literally preserving dead animals for dissection), cleaning gigantic frog tanks (probably close to 500 gallon tanks), an over-the-road truck driver (seriously how clean are truck stops?!), and an LTL truck driver.
LTL stands for less than truckload. It’s the transportation of small freight or freight that doesn’t require an entire trailer. It’s kind of like a UPS driver but with a semi. Basically, it entails running around like a maniac all day trying to empty your trailer before you start getting calls about the items you need to pick-up to fill your trailer all over again. They are fast-paced, stressful, and long days.
Actually, if you have anything delivered off a straight truck or a semi, tip those guys too. They deserve it and rarely get tipped when they should.
All this to say, my husband has done all these other dirty jobs and couldn’t hack it as a garbage man. It’s THAT hard! His old boss told him it takes about 18 months to become proficient and really have a handle on the job.
I, for one, never realized how hard of a job it was! I put my toters out on the curb, the wonderful drivers pick up the trash, and then went about my day.
But garbage collecting is so much more than that. It is thankless work. It’s very dangerous, hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s waaaaaaaaay dirtier than we realize. For example, just because there is a mechanical claw dumping you garbage doesn’t mean the don’t have to touch the garbage. And lastly, people treat you like a servant.
People flag down drivers after they haven’t had their trash picked up. Customers argue about bulk pick-up. They call in to dispatch to ask why their garbage hasn’t been picked up. It is 8 am after all!! People park their cars right in front of the toters so even if it’s not a hand-pick route, the driver is adding time to his day.
And some people, honestly, are really gross. They don’t bag their garbage, they have 742 cats, they have an overflowing toter every single week, or they don’t follow the rules for disposing of hazardous material.
Do you need to give your garbage man a gift?
In the words of Ron Swanson, “I can do what I want.” This is America, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. BUT! I’m guessing if you are reading this article you are curious what to get for your garbage collector.
You don’t HAVE to do anything. But I assure that any gift you leave will be appreciated more than you know.
What to Give the Garbage Man for Christmas
- Cash. Cash is king as they say! How much you want to tip is entirely up to you. Anything is appreciated. Don’t worry about the cash not being seen. If you put it on top of the bin, they are gonna see it. Especially around the holidays. They know tips are coming 😉
- Gift cards. Specifically gift cards for local gas stations or fast food places. They are driving around town all day, and they have to use the restroom at some point. They frequent gas stations so it is nice to give them some business.
- Homemade (or store bought) goodies. Fresh Christmas treats like chocolate and cookies are very welcomed during the holidays.
- Beer or liquor. If you would like to gift some beer or liquor, make sure you check with them first. A lot of company’s have policies on the drivers picking up the booze themselves. If they not allowed to pick it up, it may be possible to be sent to their terminal.
- Soda or water. If you don’t feel comfortable gifting alcohol, soda or water is perfectly fine. If they double as mixers, even better.
What your garbage man really wants!
- Wash out your bins. Seriously. Wash them out. Bags leak, break, and all sorts of awful things break out of the bags.
- Bag your garbage. I didn’t realize people DIDN’T bag their garbage, but if you don’t, please do. It’s much less of a hassle.
- Say thank you throughout the year. Summer is H.O.T. in a garbage truck so drivers are very grateful for bottle of water or a soda during the dog days of summer.
- Learn what you can and can’t throw away. My husband had to fish so many things out of the trash bucket that aren’t allowed: paint cans, construction debris, tvs, . . . .
- Learn about bulk disposal. What day of the month it is, what you are allowed to throw out, how much you are allowed to throw out, and don’t abuse it. Garbage collectors will give people the benefit of the doubt, but they also
Where do you put it?!
You can put it right on top of the toter! I was shocked by this as well. But around the holiday season (or anytime of year) they are looking closely at the toter and will notice if something ISN’T garbage.
You can also go out and hand them the gift. They are always willing to stop for things that aren’t complaints 😉
You may want to ask beforehand about things like liquor. They will gladly accept them, but some company policies state that they can’t pick it up. The way my husband’s company did it, is the driver would call dispatch and someone from the terminal would come out and pick it up.
Even though my husband is no longer a garbage man, he still has so much respect for the job and the hardworking men and women who work in the sanitation field. As he says, “I will ALWAYS tip my garbage man.”
Whether you are giving cash or homemade treats, the gift you are leaving for your garbage man will be well-received and your garbage collector will remember that you were thoughtful enough to leave him a tip!