Dumping On Drivers

The Sherwood Island transfer station — aka “the dump” — is many things.

It’s a place to dispose of unwanted stuff — furniture, electronics, yard waste — in an environmentally sound way.

It’s a place to meet other Westporters. It’s a place for politicians to troll for votes.

It’s also become a place where the informal rules of social conduct are being, well, trashed.

Alert “06880” reader Steve Axthelm writes of this recent trend:

Instead of taking the next available space and keeping the line moving quickly on Saturdays, some drivers now ignore multiple available spots. They block the lane, waiting for the “perfect” spot.

Maybe we should have a reservation system, so you can be sure to cozy up to the metal dumping area, or save those 10 steps when recycling your cardboard.

But think how much time you save, on your way to your entitled parking spot at Starbucks!

Drivers wait for the “perfect” spot, instead of pulling in to the first available one. (Photo/Steve Axthelm)

15 responses to “Dumping On Drivers

  1. Chip Stephens. Staples 73

    Funny thing happened at the “dump” while campaigning handing out palm cards and helping others unload. After an hour or so realized less than half at the Westport transfer station were Westport residents. Oh well

    • Chip, I second your observation. I don’t remember the last time I saw a dump sticker on a car or truck. I also see contractor vans and trucks with either out of town company lettering or out of state plates. I also know of several Fairfield residents that go to the dump due to the convenience and the lack of fee.

  2. There are some people in town that say they are all about peace and love and equality. But they act differently when they want something. When I see bumper stickers that say “Be kind”, I wonder if they mean everyone should be kind to everyone or if they mean everyone should be kind to just them. I’m just sayin…

  3. My other favorite move of the selfish is when pulling forward to back into your spot they pull in forwards right behind you ignoring the posted protocol that has been there since the beginning. And when confronted they ask me “where does it say I have to back in?”

  4. Bill Boyd (Staples 1966)

    Sometimes I think the town motto should be “In Hubris I Trust”

  5. Michael Calise

    This selfish ” I want my spot and you can just wait attitude” is prevalent throughout town. In spite of it the transfer station is a pretty joyful place and the guys that work there are most helpful and friendly. They are a great crew and a credit to the town.

  6. As a long time user of “the dump”, I can honestly say that I have witnessed the “waiting for the ‘perfect’ spot” very rarely. At least not enough to declare it a raging example of selfishness. Once in a while someone with a particularly heavy item to dispose may jockey for a good spot, but that is understandable. All in all I would agree that it is a pretty joyful place, noxious odors notwithstanding.

  7. Werner Liepolt

    The transfer station is the acid test of a driver’s ability to back-up. And there is usually a quietly jovial crowd of on-looking judges. Thank goodness for the proliferation of backup cameras.

  8. I have to agree with Bill Ryan – I rarely if ever see entitled or “ignorant of the unwritten rules” behavior at the dump; on Saturday mornings (at least) you usually have a chance to see how it’s done before you get your turn. And you wont find a nicer, more helpful bunch than the guys who work there.

    I might point out that I know a few people who simply suck horribly at backing up, even more so when there’s an audience; I wouldn’t be surprised if that lack of backing up talent might explain the odd pull straight in driver.

  9. Mary M Maynard

    If I’ve ever jockeyed for a “good space,” it’s because I am almost hopeless in reverse. mmmt

  10. Bonnie Bradley

    Am frankly amazed at Chip Stephen’s comment: “realized that less than half at the Westport transfer station were Westport residents.” In my Litchfield County town no one who does not reside or pay property taxes here can deposit trash at the town dump. Residents must buy an annual permit – $35 per year, I believe. A permit sticker is displayed on the vehicle’s window. There is one private trash collector for those who choose not to or cannot go to the dump but they pay the fee too, through the collector. I’m pretty sure that construction debris is forbidden. Separation of newspapers, recycled glass, metal and plastic is strictly observed. Sounds like the Westport transfer station could eliminate some of the problems with similar rules.

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      I’m not sure anecdotal information is a replacement for scientific observation. I’ve got a sticker on one car but not another, but I can assure you that the staff is diligent about helping you out and offering a sticker if you don’t have one. (Also about enforcing the policy and fees for commercial haulers.) On the plus side, we also have single stream recycling, so no separation of our materials like that. (The town well made up for the lower price it gets for the materials with the increase in volume that this put into the recycling stream.)

  11. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Does anybody see an inconsistency between those who feel that entrance to Compo Beach is an entitlement versus access to the recycling station which should be for Westporters only? Personally I’d rather see non-residents spending time cleaning up their act at the recycling station than taking up space on the beach.

  12. Let’s not forget those who have 10 minute chats after they’ve dumped their trash, keeping the space occupied despite the line of cars waiting for their turn.