Monday, November 03, 2003


It's always amazing to watch a monopoly service in action. Greenstar's monopoly hold on refuse collection in my area is a great case in point. {And, it seems to me that the publicly owned monopolies are not as bad as those that are privately held. A tough admission for me, a committed capitalist.}

This week we received a notice from Greenstar regarding the coming year. The first sentence of the letter says "We are writing to remind you that your 2004 subscription for domestic waste management services is due for renewal by Friday, December 12, 2004". Of course, this is no reminder. This is the first any of us in this area has heard about the due date. In all previous years, we paid for our refuse collection by January 31.

So, right away they're annoying me, the customer (who's supposed to be "always right" - don't make me laugh).

Then they explain that "excellent customer service" is one of the company's "key objectives". Puhleease.

Next, they explain that they are "introducing a dry recyclables service" to their Wicklow customers. Is this the service we have now (weekly refuse collections and an additional monthly recyclables collection) or the serivce they attempted to ram down our throats back in early October. Well, that remains to be seen. The letter explains that further details will be available as the "service reaches your area". But, what about those for whom the service has already been introduced?

A quick call to Greenstar solicited the answer: we are going to lose one refuse collection per month. For this privilege we are only being asked to cough up an additional €42 for a total annual charge of €372!

But, before I complain, I should know that "people in Kilkenny are paying upwards of €400 per year". Well, that's a pity for them, but I also know from listening to the radio in recent weeks that we are paying way above the average, particularly when compared with our neighbors in Dublin.