The True Cost of Renting a Trash Can

RECEIVED Mon., April 28, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Gadzooks! I've just estimated that the $7.50 rent I pay on my trash can every month and which I've owned for five years has actually cost me $450 as of this month.
    Are you kidding me?
    "No sir, you cannot do that," a pleasant voice with the city utilities responded when I asked here if I couldn't just purchase an exact replica of my own (they're available at Lowe's). She explained that if the waste collector damages a privately owned can, the city is then liable to replace it.
    Hmmmm, I thought for a second and then I asked her, "How about the city agree that I pay $7.50 a month only until I've paid $59, the actual cost of the can, and if my can ever has to be replaced for any reason, you just start charging me $7.50 rent again until I've paid it off – $59 – as well?"
    She didn't have a reason why that wasn't a fair proposition, but I do: $450 less $59 = $391 profit – and counting.
    I didn't think the city was supposed to profit in such matters.
Jim Lacey
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