It was late Thursday morning, and it was already sweltering. We were working at our largest account — a shopping center anchored by a supermarket.
There were no lawns to mow or weeds to pull here. Instead, the job consisted of each of us combing the property and picking up trash.
And man, was there always a ton of trash.
We’d each lug a plastic container behind us, and by the time we’d return to the truck, it’d be overflowing with shopping bags, soda cans, beer bottles, cigarette butts, soiled diapers, used needles.
“I really need to get paid more,” I mumbled, dropping a flat, run-over cat into my container.
I was walking the perimeter of the supermarket and approaching my least-favorite area: the overflowing Dumpsters in the back alley. They always reeked of rotting food, and garbage blew everywhere in an endless whirlpool.
As I approached the nearest Dumpster, I saw a pair of legs poking out, wiggling. As I grew closer, warily clutching my trash container, I saw that they belonged to Crew Leader Carl.
“Hey!” he said, wrenching himself out of the Dumpster. He was holding a carton of eggs. “Look what I found! They must be throwing out food today. I found a whole dozen eggs, and they’ve only been expired for a week!”
My stomach turned. “Boss, it’s ninety degrees out here!”
“So what?” Carl said. “It’s not like they’re refrigerated when they pop out of the chicken. You need to learn where your food comes from, pal.”
“Well, I know where it doesn’t come from,” I said. “The supermarket Dumpster.”