Published in the December 27, 2018 edition.



It’s time for our weekly vocabulary test. Today’s words are “clothing” and “shoes.”

Let’s start by using both words on in a sentence.

“A recliner is not clothing, and mattresses are not shoes.”

Congratulations! You’re smarter than a fourth-grader! You’ve also been eliminated as a suspect in the trash dumping at the green donation bins in the MG Fitness lot at North Avenue and Broadway.

The mountain of trash is the first thing you see when you hit the railroad crossing at Broadway coming from the West Side. People seem to think that these bins are an open invitation to dump their unwanted furniture, mattresses, old toys and all manner of discarded household items.

This despite the fact that in huge, uppercase letters all over the bins, it clearly states, “CLOTHING AND SHOES DONATIONS.” What part of “clothing and shoes” don’t people understand? Would it help to print it in six languages like the ‘HATE HAS NO HOME HERE’ signs?

As soon one mountain of detritus disappears, the illiterate begin working on another.

On Monday of last week, the Item ran a photo of the latest pile of junk in front of the bins. We also sent an email to the charity that runs the bins. On Tuesday, someone from the charity showed up and removed the piles. But by Wednesday afternoon, another old beat-up recliner had appeared in front of the bins. And now, just over a week later, there is a whole new pile of crap, even bigger than the one that had just been removed.

If it’s local people dumping their furniture and other junk there, it makes zero sense. The DPW provides free curbside pickup of large bulky items every Friday. All you have to do is call by noon on Thursday and kick your unwanted sofa out to the sidewalk for pickup. That’s a hell of a lot easier than loading it on a truck to transport it down to the Junction.

So, a lot of people are speculating that it must be out-of-towners. No matter who it is, it’s the epitome of lazy, antisocial behavior.

It’s easy to blame the charity that owns the bins, but it’s not their fault. In fact, it costs them money to dispose of all the stuff that they didn’t ask for and can’t use. That takes resources away from the people the charity is trying to help.

It’s not the fault of MG Fitness either. And it’s certainly not the town’s fault, although there is a social media contingent eager to blame the town for everything short of the Kennedy assassination and 9/11.

The blame lies with the lazy slobs dumping their crap for someone else to deal with. Out of sight out of mind, I guess. It may be out of their sight, but it’s an eyesore for everyone else.

What’s probably going to happen eventually is that someone — the charity, the property owner or the town — will get fed up with the complaints and the bins will be removed.

Some have suggested that cameras should be put up to record the miscreant dumping. Exactly who should pay for that is unclear. And who gets to monitor the cameras? Whose job would it be to chase the offenders recorded on video? The police? Given the volume of junk, they’d need to assign a full-time officer to the site.

Maybe forget the camera and just put up a sign saying, “Site monitored by video,” like those fake home security signs.

But considering that that people can’t read words like “clothing” and “shoes,” I’m not sure what another sign would accomplish.

But the real answer to stopping this dumping is education, not enforcement. That’s why I propose stationing, not a cop, but a literacy coach at the site. Have them offer to help potential dumpers to read the signs.

After that, if they still want to dump their junk, they really are beyond shame.