You tried to do the responsible thing. Rather than just dump your aging couch on the curb, you called the garbage collection agency and scheduled a "large item pickup." You scratched away the last few cents of your deposit, marring the walls with a wide couch in a narrow hallway. And you left the decrepit piece of furniture out front to meet its destiny.
Of course, the fate of just about any couch left on the streets of San Francisco is to serve as a slumbering spot for a homeless person. And what do Recology's collectors do when they find a snoring man splayed atop the item theyr'e charged to obtain? As your humble narrator witnessed early this morning, they leave -- sans couch, and sans homeless man.
This creates a frustrating situation. When Recology's collectors depart empty-handed, the couch is liable to be picked up by the Department of
Public Works -- which would have happened anyway, even if it was just
irresponsibly tossed out the window. So, DPW workers -- public employees paid via taxpayer funds -- may be put to work for a duty left uncompleted by Recology -- whose pickup service is funded by city dwellers' garbage payments, incidentally.
Rob DeMartini, a district manager at Recology, said this situation doesn't come up all that often. His official policy regarding a vagrant sleeping upon couches, mattresses, or other items left for Recology is to try to solve the problem "verbally, maybe kick the couch, try to get his attention." And if that fails, so does the pickup attempt. DeMartini says drivers are supposed to go back later and try again. And yet, "People being people, I have some crews I don't have to worry about. I wish everyone was 100 percent perfect. You know how people are."