To the car that parked in front of my bins: an open letter

Damien Larkins 15 November 2021 100
A car parked in front of rubbish on a Canberra street

Why? Why would you do this to me? Photo: Damien Larkins.

Putting the bins out isn’t my favourite task – but having to move them later because someone parked them in makes it a real chore.

For the second week in a row, it feels like I’ve had to put my bins out twice.

Each time, on the allotted evening, I’ve dutifully rolled them to the kerb to be collected in the morning, only to find later that night someone has parked right in front of them.

I’m not angry. I’m not even disappointed. Mostly, I’m confused. Why? Why would someone do this? It makes absolutely zero sense.

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There’s plenty of other spots to park, possibly in front of your own house and not mine. It hasn’t even been the same car.

Who even does that?

Is there a secretive cabal of local neighbourhood watchers, passive-aggressively trying to inform me that I’m not putting them out the right way?

If there’s a better way, or somewhere else I should put them out, can someone please just tell me?

Does the very presence of my bins besmirch the overall look and feel of the street? There are plenty of other bins out (in fact, that’s how I usually can tell if it’s recycling week); why are mine so viscerally disagreeable?

Garbage bins. Photo: Region Media.

No one parked in front of these bins. Why? Photo: Region Media.

Once my muttered curses subside, I take a breath and ponder some reasonable explanations.

I tried to take myself out of my (now damp) slippers and into their shoes and ask myself if there is a perfectly good reason that I’m not seeing.

Maybe they didn’t see my bins? I mean, there is some slim chance that two large green bins, one with a red lid and the bigger one with a bright yellow lid, directly under a streetlight could be overlooked.

There were other parking spots all around the street, but maybe the driver was headed somewhere where an extra few steps just weren’t feasible?

Were they on crutches? In which case, how rude of someone else to park in their spot and make them walk so far.

Maybe the driver knew they’d be gone before the garbage truck came the next day, though I defy anyone to know exactly when the truck comes beyond “usually sometime on bin day”.

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Applying Occam’s Razor, it’s the simplest explanation that I was keen to avoid.

The one idea I didn’t want to admit, that may be most likely, is they simply didn’t care.

It didn’t cross their mind that my bins might not be emptied because of their actions.

Who cares that I might have to haul my bin full with a week’s worth of garbage in the car to the tip and pay $14 to dump it?

Or, if I’m very lucky, that the garbage truck driver might be forced to get out and move them, as if they don’t already have a hard enough job. Do they even do this nowadays – is it the big mechanical arm or nothing?

A rubbish bin on a Canberra street

Fortunately, it didn’t happen the next week, or any week since (touch wood). Photo: Damien Larkins.

Maybe this person’s single-minded desire to park in the spot directly in front of my house, directly in front of my bins, was simply greater than concern about the convenience of others.

Because, in the end, it’s not the end of the world, it is just an inconvenience.

In the early morning, before going to work, I had to move my bins because of someone else’s choices.

I didn’t want to, I shouldn’t have had to, but it was the only reasonable and viable solution to ease my mind and ensure they’d be collected.

I’m not naming and shaming the person who parked there – though it would feel good to flex some petty revenge.

But you know who you are.

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100 Responses to To the car that parked in front of my bins: an open letter
Milly Koh Milly Koh 10:31 am 19 Nov 21

Ugh the bins still get emptied. Geez have you ever seen a high density street or city. The trucks are capable of lifting the bins over parked cars

    CraigFromCurtin CraigFromCurtin 12:16 pm 19 Nov 21

    That is completely incorrect. The trucks CANNOT lower their arm over the height of a car in the way and even if they could they would not (think of the liability if the truck’s arm damaged the car or dropped the bin on it). Anyway, they can’t. Just where did you get this crazy notion from? 🙂

BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 9:53 am 19 Nov 21

I think you answered your own question. They choose to park their car under the street light.

James Forge James Forge 4:56 pm 18 Nov 21

Space the bins more than one car length apart. They can't possibly park one car in front of both bins then.

Cheryl Bennett Cheryl Bennett 8:31 pm 16 Nov 21

Put your bins on the road !

Matthew James Matthew James 6:37 pm 16 Nov 21

If you grew up in Narrabundah (and presumably Charnwood or Kambah) you will have learnt that you only leave your bins out the night before the collection if you want them stolen or emptied across your nature strip.

Put your bins out in the morning.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:09 pm 16 Nov 21

    Matthew James I've lived in Narrabundah for over 30 years and never heard of that happening to the bin.

Ash Weiss Ash Weiss 6:33 pm 16 Nov 21

Years back when we lived in a unit. It was bin night and someone parked in front of about half a dozen of our bins. So we made sure when they came back to their car in the evening the car had bins behind, in front and on it.

I recommend doing it, they seem to learn a lesson this way.

Mitchell Spinks Mitchell Spinks 9:29 am 16 Nov 21

Remove air intake for the tire can’t be fixed needs full replacement 😂

    Poppy Paul Poppy Paul 1:25 pm 16 Nov 21

    Mitchell Spinks i think that you mean the valve stem

Zarko Rychevski Zarko Rychevski 8:53 am 16 Nov 21

Sorry but had to say something. This is Frome street. Two trucks and trailers parked directly opposite both my driveways. I spoke to the owner and asked could you get rid of one truck and park the other in your driveway. His response was, “ what! And inconvenience me??” Don’t drive down Frome street during school pick up drop off if the trucks are there. It’s a Wait. And drive slowly because the trucks break your line of sight to on coming speeding cars. And the minister in charge, Chris’s Steel sent me a letter claiming there’s nothing wrong with these trucks parked there. The community was consulted and no parking restrictions were wanted. He said we try to minimise parking restriction in my area. Funny really! I had to point out that starting from the next house up parking restrictions are in place all the way to the end of Frome street. The partner of the owner is/was a very senior PS. Rather coincidental given the issues. I have asked Chris’s Steel many times to explain why parking restriction start from the next house up and not in front of my home. Its been 3 years and Chris’s Steel refuses to answer the question. I asked Chris’s Steel for details of when and we’re was the community consulted. Chris’s Steel refuses to answer. I have asked what connection does Chris’s Steel have with the owners of the Evolve trucks and trailers? Chris’s Steel refuses to answer.

Let’s see what happens when a child is injured in a accident caused by these trucks. Maybe then Chris’s Steel will fix this problem.

    May Mac May Mac 11:04 am 16 Nov 21

    Not the first time I've seen or heard of 'special treatment'.

    Troy Robinson Troy Robinson 1:12 pm 16 Nov 21

    Zarko Rychevski probably get the message when his valve stems keep disappearing

    Kaleb Cobb Kaleb Cobb 10:34 pm 17 Nov 21

    Zarko in Victoria??

suegue suegue 7:14 pm 15 Nov 21

I have an annoying, ongoing problem with my ##### neighbour. They consistently put their bins in a position that is very difficult for the collection trucks to reach even though they have a choice of easier positions. I have installed artificial turf in my front garden and the truck was driving onto my expensive turf and tearing it up. I have now had to install a rock edging along the front of my property to deter them. I feel sorry for the truck drivers as I watch them trying to manoeuvre to pick up their bins. I’m surprised they don’t refuse to empty them. BTW their recycle and green bins are usually full of rubbish also ?

Adam Toepfer Adam Toepfer 6:43 pm 15 Nov 21

You know the council will still empty your bins even if someone is parked in front of them. If they can’t reach them mechanically they hop down off the truck.

    Alison Rowland Alison Rowland 7:20 am 17 Nov 21

    Adam Toepfer no they often don’t. Didn’t in a couple of our council areas.

Stephen Phanvongsa Stephen Phanvongsa 5:29 pm 15 Nov 21

You guys would have a heart attack if you saw Melbourne bin nights 😂😂

Martin McMaster Martin McMaster 1:25 pm 15 Nov 21

Doesn't help with credibility when the headline implies that cars are sentient. Try, "To the person who parked their car in front of my bins". And also leave off the, "an open letter". It is obvious by the fact that it is openly published.

Frank Spencer Frank Spencer 12:51 pm 15 Nov 21

First world problems!

Frank Spencer Frank Spencer 12:49 pm 15 Nov 21

If this is worthy of a feature story your life must be pretty good.

Catharine Lee Catharine Lee 12:22 pm 15 Nov 21

Who cares! Better to put bins in front of your own driveway to free up street parking.

    Marie Gee Marie Gee 7:15 pm 15 Nov 21

    Catharine Lee you obviously have a huge driveway. 🤷‍♀️

Ronald Limon Ronald Limon 12:03 pm 15 Nov 21

Try the doors it may not be locked or the windows my not be right up then use your imagination

Tamara Habres Tamara Habres 11:44 am 15 Nov 21

If I'd put the bins out first, and the car was there in the morning, I'd move the bins. One on the road in front of the car, the second on the road behind the car.

Caroline Mew Caroline Mew 11:26 am 15 Nov 21

The car was most likely parked on purpose under the street light as a deterrent to dishonesty. Not necessary to put the bins under the light though, put them on the other side of your drive!

jorie1 jorie1 12:54 am 15 Nov 21

I feel sorry for you as I am in a similar situation. Unfortunately we live in a selfish society and many people are just uncaring and self absorbed. My neighbours constantly park right out the front of my house (often on my front lawn) and when I asked why they don’t park in their own house (they have plenty of room), they said they don’t want to ruin their own front garden. They would rather ruin my lawn and I have nowhere to put my bins either. Some people are just selfish and disrespectful of others. Not sure what can be done about it, unless ACT government would introduce a law (and police it properly) stating not to park on nature strips and roads.

    phydeaux phydeaux 8:53 am 15 Nov 21

    It is already illegal to park on a nature strip, but unenforced as a routine matter. However, a photograph and report to Access Canberra can have an effect if they are repeat offenders.

    It is little realised but the pressure on the ground from vehicle tyres is enormous, packing the ground and killing or debilitating even trees let alone smaller plantings which are crushed.

    bigred bigred 8:32 am 16 Nov 21

    Probably would take a live feed from a camera before they acted. Always wondered what is it with this habit of gouging a track on the verge with at least two wheels that some poor sod has put the effort into maintaining to the letter, and why the parking Gestapo and the city rangers ignore the issue?

    huntsman huntsman 3:19 pm 15 Nov 21

    I’d be parking on their lawn.

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 11:22 pm 14 Nov 21

Some moron who used to visit my neighbours actually moved my bins and parked on the verge where my bins had been on two occasions. He left and I fortunately noticed he hadn't moved the bins back. Caught him on the third occasion and had a discussion about parentage and life skills. Problem solved!

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