As I’ve noted in a previous post there’s a reluctance to talk to people about littering generally. This hesitation is even more marked when consumers have all the power, and cranky consumers can be vicious.
Let me tell you about a little corner restaurant /bar trying to eke a living from its location in a suburban plaza near us. Alex often talks to the guy hired to tidy the property. Today the topic is cigarette butts. The property manager says the restaurant really tries to control them only to have its efforts thwarted by vandals and drunks.
The heavy-duty ashtray the place purchased and installed outdoors for smokers' convenience, well, it wasn't nailed down. Persons unknown picked it up and hurled it through the restaurant window.
The property manager shakes his head. This is one of a half dozen locations he minds. He’s in charge of security, site cleanup and maintenance. He tells Alex he’s one in a million to be having this discussion. Alex says he often compliments the guy for his attention to sweeping the outside of the place clean.
If we put ourselves in the shoes of the cleaner there’s nothing better you’d like to see than the site you worked so hard to clean staying that way, the containers those few steps away used religiously, cigarette butt litter not in impossible-to-reach cracks and crevices, but nowhere to be seen instead. That’s the type of satisfaction I’d want to feel after a cleanup. Not littering could be all it takes to make someone’s day.
And as the story about the smashed window suggests, alcohol, vandalism, littering, disorderly conduct, they’re all part of the same anti-social family. If you litter, what else do you do?
This week Associated Press ran a story that made me think two wrongs do make a right at times. A guy, 19, in Albany is busted for littering from his car. Then police arrest him for having an illegal handgun, a loaded .356 that he cast off in the ensuing chase. Talk about a two-time loser. Littering is an anti-social act.