Recycling The Same Answer Over And Over

, , , | Right | December 3, 2018

(I work for a local non-profit that includes a thrift store that funds our work. We have a box truck that we use to pick up donations from people. We will pick almost anything with a few exceptions. The other day I answered the phone:)

Lady: “I would like to schedule a pickup time. I have a washing machine to donate.”

Me: “Great! Let me get some information from you. First, is the machine in working order?”

Lady: “No, but I figure that you could part it out or recycle it or something.”

Me: “I’m very sorry, but we cannot schedule our truck to pick up broken items. If you want us to have it you will have to find a neighbor or a friend to help you get it here.”

Lady: “No one will help me and I really wanted to give it to you guys.”

Me: “Ma’am, I am sorry but it costs more to send the truck to your house than we could get by recycling the metal in the washer.”

Lady: “But I really wanted to give it to you. I guess it will just have to send it to the landfill if you don’t come get it.”

Me: “I am sorry, but we cannot pick up non-working items because it costs too much.”

Lady: “Well, I will just have to send the machine to the landfill. The new machine is being delivered tomorrow and the old washer has to be gone and I really wanted to give it to you guys.”

Me: “I understand that it is important to keep it out of the landfill. Who are you buying your new washer from?”

Lady: “[Big Box Store].”

Me: “That is great news because I know that they will take your old washer away and recycle it for you. That way it won’t go to the landfill.”

Lady: “But I really wanted to give it to you guys.”

Me: “Ma’am, with fuel costs and labor costs it would cost us about $50 to pick up your washer and we might get $5 for recycling it. We simply cannot pick up broken items. But [Big Box Store] will take it to recycle it for you when they bring your new one.”

Lady: “But I really wanted to give it to you guys.”

(I tried a few more times to explain the logic of why it did not make sense for us to lose money when it is hard enough as a charity to raise the necessary funds to perform our work. I just kept getting the response. “But I really wanted to give it to you guys.”)

Me: *at this point starting to lose my patience* “Surely you see that it doesn’t make sense for us to spend $50 to send our truck to you when we will only get $5 for your broken washer.”

(Recycling is not our charity work; alleviating poverty is.)

Lady: “But I really wanted to give it to you guys.”

(At this point I did not know what else to say that would get my message across to her so I just told her one more time that we would not pick up her broken washer and hung up quickly. I am still puzzled as to why she wanted to gift us her broken washer that would cost more money than we could make from it.)

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