The customer is your servant


Tower Hamlets started a food waste reycling service last year. It was generally a good thing – put your food waste in a biodegradable bag and leave it for them to collect on bin day. From our point of view it meant that the regular bin in the kitchen was less smelly and moist, and also filled up a lot less quickly. A good thing all round, I would have thought.

But we ran out of the biodegradable bags, and no more were delivered. So I called Tower Hamlets to see if they would deliver some more bags for us. No. No, they won’t deliver any more bags. I have to visit a Tower Hamlets One-Stop Shop to collect some more.

Now, a One-Stop Shop is exactly what it says. It handles every sort of customer interaction that a local authority has to deal with. You arrive, and take a ticket, and sit in a waiting room to see a customer service advisor. Last time I had to go (to renew a resident’s parking permit) I waited for an hour although there were only four people ahead of me in the queue.

So I have to queue for an hour to get some more food waste recycling bags.

Yeah right.

I don’t think you’ve thought this one through have you, Tower Hamlets?

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5 Responses to “The customer is your servant”


  1. 1 Dominic Sayers January 6, 2009 at 14:54

    Hammersmith & Fulham bags probably only accept Waitrose food. Not much use for our Lidl food waste.

  2. 2 Mike Persaud January 6, 2009 at 12:42

    What would happen if you used Hammersmith and Fulham biodegradable food waste bags in Tower Hamlets? Would you be asking for trouble?

  3. 3 Dominic Sayers January 6, 2009 at 11:32

    Mike: Until the local tribesmen in Tower Hamlets start using Twitter I foresee a slight problem with the secondary market in biodegradable food bags. Like I’d have to stand outside all day shouting.

    Open outcry may not be the way to go here.

    Dec: Is that ironic in the Alanis Morissette sense?

  4. 4 Mike Persaud January 6, 2009 at 09:55

    Someone within your local area will have a surplus of biodegradable food bags I’m sure. You need to start a market to trade ‘one-stop’ stuff in the local area to avoid the long visits to the one-stop-shop.

  5. 5 Declan January 6, 2009 at 09:51

    In Hammersmith and Fulham you can pick up your orange recycling bags at the local library. I think they eventually realised that not that many people actually visit the library so they started dropping them through the door every couple of months. The problem with the latter though is that I know have far too many recycling bags than I’ll ever need and rather ironically might have to throw some of them out.


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