David Thompson


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September 28, 2013



I drink my coffee out of something bigger than that.


And the waste-conscious Ms Hollander doesn’t seem troubled by the time that will be wasted walking to and fro as thousands of employees empty their new bins sixteen times a day.


Ms Hollander doesn’t seem troubled by the time that will be wasted walking to and fro as thousands of employees empty their new bins sixteen times a day.

I'm sure that, by day three, almost all of the employees provided themselves with plastic grocery bags so they only have to make the trip once a day. Between that and the trash winding up in the recycling, give 'em a month or so before they quietly back off.

Their point will be made: Their intentions were good, so failure of the system must be due to the moral failings of the employees.


An official rally heralding their arrival and making a pitch for their proper use came Thursday.

So Minnesota taxpayers are not only paying for thousands of ridiculous tiny bins they're also funding a rally for how to use these tiny bins? I'm actually lost for words.


I can’t help thinking that if your office bins require a rally and elaborate printed instructions on their “proper use,” plus an hourly cardiovascular workout to comply with those instructions, then there’s probably something wrong with the system you’re trying to implement.


And by the time you've put the printed instructions in the bin it's full.


Thus, we see the problem which exists thanks to too many MBAs. They simply must "manage" something, so they create all manner of hurdles which have nothing to do with the actual work performed or product created by an organization.


They took away ALL the desk bins in my office. But our reams of photocopier paper comes in handy sized boxes. Problem solved! :D

Runcie Balspune

The last two offices I have worked at have had the desk wastepaper bins taken away.

"This short walk will help the county save money, stay healthy and protect the environment"

How does replacing bins "save money" or "protect the environment", were they made out of free unicorn poo?

Not forcing people into a closed virus-swapping office environment is a better way to improve health.

Elrond Hubbard

The "centrally located receptacle" will replace the water cooler as the place for bureaucrats to gather and gossip, talk sports, flirt and avoid work.


"time that will be wasted walking to and fro as thousands of employees empty their new bins sixteen times a day."

Note that we're talking Government "employees" here, so having them do nothing more than walk back and forth may be better than whatever they're doing now... (which may be setting minesweeper records, but hey)


"3,000 mostly unwitting workers". This number leapt out from my monitor so I did a bit of Google sourced research. Apparently, Hennepin county rejoices in a total of about 7400 [mostly unwitting] full time employees.
Also, about 44% of its $1.6 billion budget is spent on "health and human services, including
uncompensated care at Hennepin County Medical Center and services for vulnerable populations", rendering hennepin county as "the state’s largest provider of care to indigent and vulnerable populations.
My guess is that the remaining 56% of the budget goes on wages, salaries, and new staff bins.


It’s funny, or at least laughable, but the whole thing symbolises a certain kind of mindset.

There’s the shameless absurdity of it – spending taxpayer dollars on a promotional rally for tiny bins - bins that no-one seems to want, but which the taxpayer is bankrolling anyway, along with printed instructions on the “proper use” of said bins. Bins that will be filled almost immediately by their own discarded instructions. Naturally, and despite their obvious uselessness, the comedy bins have a self-congratulatory message printed on the side: “This is all the garbage I make!” Look at me, see how virtuous I am. Then there’s the casual imposition – the assumption that making thousands of employees wander back and forth needlessly umpteen times a day – all in the name of efficiency - is somehow the bin proponents’ business and an unassailable good. And then of course there’s the likelihood that these glorified pencil holders will eventually be withdrawn, trashed and replaced, at further public expense, and probably with no acknowledgement of just how asinine and wasteful the whole farce was, or any consequence for the authors of this folly.

Like being fired, for instance.

Dr Cromarty

Is this a 'Spinal Tap' scenario, where they got the dimensions out by a factor of 10? (cf 'Stonehenge')


Is this a ‘Spinal Tap’ scenario, where they got the dimensions out by a factor of 10? (cf ‘Stonehenge’)

Maybe they should just do away with one of the dimensions altogether. In a couple of months they could replace the thousands of tiny bins with thousands of pictures of a tiny bin, placed where the tiny bin would have been, each with the words “bin not, ye heathens” printed on it. It would scarcely be less useful.


Hmm...wonder if the consulted with their physically handicapped employees. Surely they have some out of 7400. And if not, why not? Mentioned this story to a blind friend of mine. He was not amused.


Did you notice the useless lids on the useless tiny trash cans?


The little slogan strikes me as curiously childish, inviting self-congratulation and smugness. "This is all the garbage I make!" I can see it being taught in a kindergarten.


Speaking of lack of awareness of Environmentalists the following two links may be of interest:

David Suzuki, a well know Canadian activist declared in 2008 that all politicians who deny global warming should be sent to jail. Now he not only reports that the Canadian government is building prisons to lock up environmentalists but reaffirms that his opponents should be sent to jail.


When the packaging that the tiny bin came in is too much for the tiny bin to hold, you have a problem. Unless, of course, you recycle by eating the cardboard box.


I can seen that none of the commentors have lived in Hennepin County. I have. I spent the bulk of my formative years as a resident of Minneapolis. I left in '82 and I'm never going back. David, you could probably do a post a day on Hennepin County. It is a place where good intentions run riot over common sense.

And for a bit of a topic switch, some do gooder thought bringing 30,000 Somalis to Minneapolis would be a good idea.

The list of crazy government plans in Hennepin County would be a long one.

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