What’s Wrong with the World: The liability of brooms

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What's wrong with the world and brooms

The other day I had to load up my truck and take a bunch of stuff down to the sanitary landfill (AKA the Dump).  I’ve had to do this a number of times over the past few years from different projects around the house, etc.  No big whoop.

So I drove on down, paid my fee, backed on up to the unloading zone, and emptied the back of my truck.  When I was finished, in the bed of the pickup, there was still quite a bit of plaster dust, nails, and other bits of debris too small to pick up with my hands – the kind of mess brooms were made for.  Also the kind of mess that blows out of the back of your truck on the highway when there’s nothing else in it.

I went over to the nearby small building (about 20 feet away) where I found two landfill employees taking a break.  One was sitting in a chair.  Next to him there were a few nice looking shovels and a large push-broom (seemingly on a break as well).

I politely asked if I could borrow the broom to quickly sweep out the back of my truck bed and clean up my site – a task that would literally take 30 seconds.  He unemotionally and without hesitation said, “Sorry, we can’t lend out our equipment because it’s a liability.  I’d have to come and do it.”

I stood there for a moment very blankly.  He sat there blankly staring back.  I said, “Well, thank you.  I understand,” even though I didn’t and walked away.

Of course, he didn’t come and do it.  And he didn’t let me borrow the broom, either.  So I pathetically did the best I could with the side of my foot and then drove away.

I realize there are reasons government (and other) operations come up with these ridiculous policies.  But it was a saddening reminder of where we’ve come in this world.  When a fellow man needs something as simple as a broom (and one that his tax dollars paid for no less!), and you are kept from lending him yours because such unauthorized operating of said broom would be too big of a liability – there’s something wrong with the world.  I know it’s a small thing.  I know I’m a huge whiner.  And I know I just have to take my own broom next time.  But such a silly world we live in.

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Shelly @ Sound Mind and Spirit August 5, 2009 at 5:07 pm

I wonder what he would have said if you’d replied, “Would you please sweep out the back of my truck for me then?”

Yes, the world constantly surprises me. However, I don’t think the days are completely gone where one offers to help another. Hopefully everyone who reads your blog today will purposefully seek a way to help one another this week.

NCSue August 5, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Sometimes the wierd rules will make you crazy. I was at the ballpark for a game the other day. I b ought a canned beer. They asked if I wanted a plastic cup as well. I said “yes” because I like to invert the plastic c up over the hand to keep
stuff out of it. (The guy that sits next to us tosses his peanut shells and the little skins that cover the peanuts, and they wind up in the can or cup if I don’t keep it covered.)

The vendors told me that they couldn’t give me a cup unless they poured the beer into it. I could buy a beer without the cup, or have a cup without the beer, but I couldn’t have a cup AND a beer unless some of the beer was poured into the cup.

There’s a good reason to stick with Coke.

Chris Weidenhamer August 5, 2009 at 11:10 pm

You have to wonder: what happened in the past to cause such things to be a liability? Most likely, the problem was with a shovel or some other tool with more – how shall we say – aggressive uses. It became a liability and thus the title was transferred to all tools – just in case.

Reeee – diculous. You have my sympathy.

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