I used to have an agent. He was a nice guy, very smart. In fact, he was a Harvard Law School Graduate with anexcellent reputation. If someone was going to represent me, why not him?
When I signed with my agent I assumed our interests were aligned. The more I made, the more he’d make. It wasn’t until the relationship was real that I realized how wrong I was.
I have discussed this with a few friends in the business over time, but had never seen my concerns espoused in print, until today and an article in the Sunday New York Times.
This particular example is real estate agents, but the idea is exactly the same.
My Trashy Story
Every week, on Friday, our trash goes to the curb. Every other week it’s supposed to be accompanied by recycling. It doesn’t work that way in our household.
Whether it’s our distance from the curb or the amount of recycled newspapers we have (we subscribe to both the New Haven Register or New York Times) or maybe all the boxes we get because of online shopping, going to the curb bi-weekly doesn’t work. So all of this recyclable material piles up in the garage. A few times a year we stuff it into the SUV and I drive it to the transfer station.
Transfer station, what a lovely phrase. It’s so much more genteel than town dump.
I drove up to the transfer station this morning only to find the new policy – no newspapers. I had an SUV full of recyclables, and of course, the supermarket bags of newspapers were on top!
I unloaded the 20 or so bags of newspapers to get to the cardboard and other material underneath. At this point the transfer station folks took pity on me and found a place… a transfer station loophole if you will… that allowed me to drop the papers off. From now on it’s newspapers to the street, I suppose.
I want to be a good citizen, but it is increasingly difficult to follow the rules. In fact, it would be much easier to hide the newspapers and cardboard and bottles with our weekly trash. I’m sure a lot of people do just that. It also always strikes me as a little ironic that the two most talked about recycled products are made from sand (glass) or grow on trees (paper).
I know this is supposed to be good for the environment, and I’m for that. But, is it really? Is this just a feel good exercise with no payoff… or negative payoff?
From “Recycling Is Garbage” – New York Times Magazine, June 30, 1996:
I don’t know what to think. I want to do what’s right, but I am really not sure. Until I know otherwise, I will follow the rules.
In the meantime, part of our recycling life at home will have to change. Newspapers to the curb. I can hardly wait for the first really big rain on a Thursday night.