A Neighborly Response to an Anonymous and (Arguably) Passive-Aggressive Note

There’s been a development in the diplomatic kerfuffle on Colridge.

Sources tell Bernalwood that a response has now been posted to counter the anonymous and (debatably) passive-aggressive note that targeted a Bernal resident whose garbage cans are not hidden from the street.

The recipient, owner of said garbage cans, has responded with the note shown above. And @jack415 approves:

@Bernalwood, I so would like to hug her. Way to go, neighbors!

PHOTO: @jack415

24 thoughts on “A Neighborly Response to an Anonymous and (Arguably) Passive-Aggressive Note

  1. Nice to see such a thoughtful and reasonable response to the passive-aggressive nagging of the anonymous notes. We need more of this!

  2. “If you have an idea that would work, I would be open to your solution . . . . I ask again that we have a talk about this.”

    I’ve often found the best way to solve a problem is to talk face-to-face. For example, if I have a client that is having an issue, I find the best approach is to get together and discuss it (even if it means getting on a plane). Asynchronous communication (e.g. notes, e-mails) have the tendency to be misunderstood, and you don’t get the body language which makes face-to-face communication the BEST way of hashing things out.

  3. This isn’t worth talking about. It’s not passive aggressive, it’s just blather about garbage cans between people who have nothing better to do. It doesn’t even warrant commenting. Oops, too late. Anyway, if you agree BW should let this stuff slide, maybe you could leave a comment with a +1.

  4. Oh no! Having to talk face to face with another human instead of lobbing anonymous nastygrams from an invisible fortress? Not that! Heavens!!!

  5. I hope they are able to get together and talk about this. Non-anonymous communication between friendly neighbors is good.

    I recently received a not so aggressive note on my legally parked motorbike asking me not to park there so they could (possibly illegally) park their own car. Unfortunately, since it was anonymous, and I didn’t find the note until after I moved the motorbike, I am unable to tell them that, yes, I am willing to cooperate!

    I understand how it is, though, being very shy and finding it hard to sometimes talk to people face to face.

  6. There is a 2006 law passed by the Board of Sups that mandates removing garbage bins ( all three colors) off sidewalks and out of sight within 24 hours of garbage pickup. The law was revised after people received $100 fines. Now violators receive a warning and if infraction continues, a $100 fine is issued. Another example of unintended consequences. Laws passed without consideration for the way most San Francisco houses were constructed without access to backyards except through the house.

  7. These poor poor people! The thorn in their side while stuck between city bureaucracy and anal retentive neighbors! I would throw in the can so to speak and tell them all to fuck off! I personally do not have a problem with your poor bins being in my line of vision during any day walks. I will not be calling the city for stupid “infractions” like this… do not worry. This is one person you do not have to worry about having you fined. 🙂 Good luck. I find most people do not like having to come up solutions, only complaining about the situation.

  8. I sympathize with these neighbors… however, lots of people leave the bins out when they could just as easily put them back in the garage (or could if their garage was not packed with junk). It creates a hazard and looks ugly, IMO.

    • I agree completely with Derek. All of my neighbors on my Noe block between Noe and Sanchez EXCEPT for 2 put their bins away each nite, in their garage or an enclosed area. The two of my neighbors who don’t are simply lazy. they also have the trashiest houses on the block: trash in the front yard, flyers hung on the stairs for months, AND they park their cars across the sidewalk. They could be nice neighbors but they CHOOSE not to be.

      • Jeez you all make me want to move to the suburbs. Visible trash cans are the least of our problems in SF.

  9. With the exception of the headline writer calling the original note “passive-aggressive” and “angry” most of the responders to this note considered that it was not.
    Here’s the original note:
    “Please remove your trash cans from the street.
    “It makes our street look bad.
    “Thank you.”

    Note that the writer used please and thank you, and was making a simple request.
    Most of those commenting found it a polite (if anonymous) plea to take the cans off the street after pickup.

    A pleasant but anonymous note seems the best way to approach the situation…

    As was also noted, if you attend the monthly community police precinct meetings you’ll hear the reminder to never approach a person who needs to revise their behavior. You simply do not know how he will react.
    Bernal Heights is in the Ingleside Police District
    Ingleside Police District community meetings
    3rd Tuesday of the month
    7:00 p.m.

    • Yes, many passive aggressive people find all kinds of ways to rationalize their passive aggressiveness.

      • Really? No one sees this response letter as the one that is more passive-aggressive? Learned helplessness (I tried but couldn’t figure out how to do it) and victimization response (it’s the city’s fault, not mine) are textbook passive-aggressive tactics. What definition of passive-aggressive are we using these days?

      • Really. I don’t see anything passive aggressive in the response. It reads as an open and eminently reasonable attempt to reach out to the person leaving the anonymous notes, and both explain the situation and even offer to open up a dialogue to try to resolve any concerns. What more could you ask for?

      • My point is more about the definition of passive-aggressive than about the relative merits of the letters. How is the first letter passive-aggressive? Neither “anonymous” or “contrary to my personal perspective” are actually part of the definition of passive-aggressive.

  10. Sounds like a kind and respectful way of trying to deal with someone who refuses to handle the matter in the same way. As nighbors, while no one is “expected” to get along, simply calling police, leaving notes, etc creates fricton and a general feeling of unease. Be an adult and work together instead of hiding behind your bitter walls.

  11. If the author of the note is still interested in knowing the correct approach with the City, garbage enclosures on the sidewalk can be allowed as a “minor sidewalk encroachment” (http://www.sfdpw.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/sfdpw/bsm/Garbage_Enclosure_Order.pdf, item II.C.). You can find the permit form here: http://www.sfdpw.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=81. If you want to talk with someone, you can reach the correct department at (415) 554-5810. If the only option is to have the bins on the sidewalk, there should be no problem getting a permit to put up an enclosure there. Then your neighbors don’t have to look at your garbage all the time and you don’t have to risk fines.

    • Or they could just get rid of the cans and use plastic bags instead. That’s what NYC does and it works great. These mandated trash bins are simply to make Recology’s pickup job easier.

  12. Okay, here’s the solution. Build a large (3 garbage bin size) shelf. Attach the shelf to ropes that are then attached to a roof pulley system. Then on garbage days lower the cans to the street. Voila! Problem solved!

    Okay, I have to admit, I stole this idea from the dutch, but do I get points for creativity?

    Amsterdam's Roofs and Hooks

    • Dear Alabama: Your solution “Dutch” idea is awsome, have you consider that our city supervisors who are always looking for new regulations could adopt it into our messy “laws” and implement it. I would add even more, no need to have a pulley, just a devise to extend the can above the truck and tilt it to dump the trash so the anon neighbor could find smething else to leave a note or maybe few more notes. :)))

      • I don’t see how the City could possibly have any issues with this solution. I mean, elevated garbage cans, filled with stinky, moist, grossness, hanging by a rope in earthquake country…what’s the worst that could happen 😉

  13. This thread is in danger of degenerating into a discussion of what is and isn’t passive aggressive.

    The bigger question we should be debating is whether or not visible bins actually are really such a menace to society.

    Heaven help us if people are free to decide about such things for themselves. What about the real estate values? What about the children?

    Unless everyone adheres to the laws given to us by our wise city fathers, we are in danger of having an untidy, eclectic urban landscape, not the homogenous suburban enclave that we all surely aspire to build here in Bernalia.

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