April 21st, 2008


Take That, Capitol One!


Two-thirds of the way home today I got off the freeways onto Clyde Park Avenue to look for a branch of our bank. We'd gotten a flier in the last statement with a list of dates, times and branches to where we could bring "two bags" of paper to be shredded. Now we have a shredder. But with both a mailbox and a P.O. Box, I swear this means we get twice the junk mail and meaningless credit card offers. Seems to me that if I haven't responded to the first 300 offers from Capitol One, or their sometimes cute TV commercials ("War kittens?" "No. Regular kitties. Baby cats.") that I'm probably not going to respond to the next ones. Yet I still get the Capitol One offers in the P.O. Box, two or three a week. And these days you just can't throw them away, because there might be things nefarious assholes can use to gain a credit card in my name for their purposes.

Sigh. It just isn't possible to keep up with the shredding. So an offer for someone else to do the shredding? What the hell. And they didn't actually specify what kind of bags, so we used two heavy-duty Schuler's Books shopping bags, well reinforced to deal with the weight of paper.

Twenty Seconds

Besides the bank's sign by the side of the road, I knew I'd found the right place because there was this big shredder truck from a company which makes shredding and recycling their living. The bank also had their snack trailer and were entertaining adults and children with stuff -- didn't need to check that out. Even if they had ice cream, we had Edy's Grand at home and in ice cream sandwich flavor... serious yum.

Before I had the tailgate open to get my two precious bags of papers -- and they must be precious if people want to get ahold of them or at least my identity -- a very clean and spiffy young man in a dark blue uniform came over with a very clean rolling garbage can. We were able to dump the papers right in and I could take my shopping bags home for another use before they ripped. Then it was time to wheel the can over to a little vestibule entrance and clamp it in place. They have an 8-9" B&W monitor hooked up to a couple of video cameras so you can verify that your load goes up, it tips over, pours into the spinning whirling blades of death and then get dumped into the big bin as confetti.

Including all the safety interlocks and waiting for the machine to spin up, the whole process is over in about twenty seconds. Since our shredder takes about a maximum of four paper widths, you have to open all the envelopes and either separate out the boring non-dangerous parts, like ad inserts and envelopes or you have to feed it all in a bit at a time. These two bags would've been a couple of "sittings" by the shredder and a couple of hours of work.

The big machine can have it.

We Have A Date

The operator gave me a coupon also paid for by the bank, allowing me to take "one box" of papers to be shredded to their home station by 31 December 2008. Heh-heh... they don't define what a "box" is. I'll be there in December. (double-trouble-grin)

Don't know about you, but this is what I call customer service.

Dr. Phil
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