The stuff Dilbert is borne from

I work in a corporate environment. Things are done for reasons that often baffle the masses. I’m generally pretty good at understanding both sides of an issue. Today’s just took the cake, though.

Everyone in our office today walked in to find their normal sized garbage cans replaced with these, seemingly from the world of the Fisher Price Little People:

Mini Trash Can

Yes, this is the result of the efforts of our “Green Team” whose mission is to apparently go where no man can fit, unless they’ve been hanging around with Rick Moranis too much. The concept comes from something spearheaded by the Ontario government a decade ago (O Canada, how you can do no wrong!). Now, instead of employees having a normal-sized garbage can and a paper recycle bin in their offices, the recycle bin stays and the larger trash bins are centralized on each floor. Cleaning staff will no longer come into offices to empty your tiny can, either. You want to toss it, you walk your can down to the shared can and DIY (Dump It Yourself). The company admits there might be a slight cost savings as well from the reduction in cleaning staff needed, but assures us that is most certainly not the primary motivating factor.

I don’t know about most other people, but frankly I don’t generate much garbage, which is what really bugs me about the whole thing. The couple trade magazines I get go into the recycling bin, so the garbage is generally reserved for snot-filled tissues and food waste. Instead of telling people that trash cans would only be emptied weekly, we are now being given moral and spatial occupancy guidance by our employer as well. I’m still looking for a mini-me sized can of Lysol and which line on my timesheet I should charge “office maintenance” to.

I admit, I sent the idea to Scott Adams because this has Dilbert written all over it. I’m reminded of another couple recent Dilbert strips that might be a bit of foreshadowing for us:

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  1. That’s funny, one of my employees just told me exactly the same story! You don’t happen to work for a company with an “x” in the middle of its name, do you? My, that’s a long drive from home.

    Actually, if I could come up with ways to make people get up occasionally from their desks and walk a little (aside from bathroom breaks) that would probably be a good thing. Not sure that mini-cans are a solution but perhaps that’s what corporate had in mind when they implemented them. I have many concerns about employee health and am constantly looking for ways to prod my engineers into taking a break from software development, at least occasionally, to clear their minds. They’re collectively suffering from stiff necks way too often.


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