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Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 03 Jun 2013, 11:43
by Kellemora
We may actually live to see the day when every home will have solar collectors on their roofs, and unused areas of their property covered with them.
And I don't doubt that some day we will see taxes based on the amount of land sun is hitting that is not used for production of crops or electric.

Currently, the biggest problem with going solar is the price gouging by manufacturers for the components.
We have a company not far from us who makes all kinds of claims about their product.
But what it boils down to is simply, it is cheaper to buy electric at its high cost, than to install a solar system.

A system that only provides around half of the electric you use, costs almost 20 years of buying electric to install.
And that is assuming ZERO maintenance costs on the system, which we know is impossible.

They talk about global warming, but what if, everyone had solar collectors, absorbing the suns rays instead of reflecting them back into our atmosphere. Could that not bring on another ice age? Global Cooling due to the absorption of the suns rays by solar collectors in mass use. The government will then begin taxing both sunlight hitting the ground unused and sun hitting solar collectors as contributing to the Global Cooling.

In other words, you can't possibly win!


Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 03 Jun 2013, 13:10
by Ice.Maiden
Good points Gary.

Over here, quite a few've got onto the solar panel bandwagon. The initial cost's high, and some folk've covered their roofs in the things. Excess electricity can be sold back to the National Grid, so someone CAN make a profit, but it'd take ages to recap the cost of the panels in the first place!

There are "cheap" ways of having these panels installed. Companies offer them at knock-down prices ... with a proviso. In return, householders are expected to keep an open house to these firms, who bring hoards of would-be buyers round your property to see how it looks and works. This way, the companies hope that one or two might sign up for the same offer, but who wants a dozen strangers traipsing round your property at the drop of a hat?

Prices vary enormously - from around £1500 per panel to more than double that, and last for between 20-25 years. Since folk generally have a few of them, it can be a costly business, and if you have a house which has a lot of these on their roof, and you fancy selling your home after 18 years or so - who's going to want to buy it, when a couple of years later they might have to replace the panels?

There are grants available, called FiTs (Feed in Tariffs). To qualify, you have to own your own home, but some tenants successfully come to an agreement with their landlords to have the panels erected. You then pay for a qualified fitter to install the things.

On a small average house, you can have solar panels for between £6,000 - 7,000.

Firstly, the supply companies tell you that you save money by not paying electricity bills, because you have created your own energy.

Secondly the energy company will pay a generation tariff (7.1p per kWh), which is a small sum paid per kW whether the energy is used by you or not.

Thirdly the energy company will then pay you an export tariff of 4.5p after per kW for all energy not used that they can than export back to their grid.

A household who would normally spend about £35 a month on bills, can look to save/ make just under £391 a year by not paying for energy and payment from the government's solar panel grant, BUT, to recap your money, it takes between 9-12 years, and some of these grants have to be paid back.

I don't know many people who spend £35 a month on their bills. Unless you're a single person, living in a very small property, the costs are far higher than that, so in fact, your saving isn't all that brilliant at all.

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 04 Jun 2013, 08:46
by Kellemora
I did check into it here as well. And there is always a gotcha involved somewhere.
Only recently have they come up with the ability to sell back electric here.
Back home we had reverse reading meters for years!
Only here, they do not use the typical reverse reading meter, they use a twin meter system.

On a reverse reading meter, one that runs backwards, technically, you are reducing your bill by the amount of electric you feed back into the system. In essence, paid back the same you pay.
On a twin meter system, you are paid very little for the electric you put back into the system, compared to the amount they charge you for electric. Although this system is actually more fair, because you are selling back for the amount they pay for electric themselves. Logical and makes sense.
However, there are many hidden costs, so you don't really make that much back.
You have to install a separate meter basin and wiring, and pay an additional 500 bucks for the second meter. This alone can cost you well over 2 thousand bucks, in some cases, as much as 3 grand.
Also, if you opt for the twin meter system, you are charged different day and night rates for electric too. Night rates being 20% higher than day rates. Night is determined as 1 hour before sunset and 1 hour after sunrise. Times when your panels are not producing electric.
Because of this, the solar systems pushed by the salesmen are those with massive storage capabilities.
To have a storage type system, this requires building a battery shed. It must be X number of feet away from any other structure, constructed of steel (may be covered with siding matching your home), and must contain a foam extinguishing system. So, just the permit, building and fire equipment, will add another couple of grand to the cost, plus the cost of the special batteries and conversion units.
Also, the wiring in your home must be brought up to present day code standards, which will cost a fortune for most folks. Due to the number of issues involved in the current codes.
If you are young, and your house is new, these initial costs will be much less.

We now have a third option here. A company will install solar panels at no cost to you, if you can handle so many square feet of panels. However, you pay them for the electric you use, through a meter, at roughly 10 to 20% less than the utility rate. Very few qualify for this option. And it is only available in certain trial areas of the city. Otherwise, just like back home, it is illegal to sell electric to someone, unless you ARE the utility company. If I understand correctly, the only areas here that this option is allowed, is for homes still powered by either the steam plant or from hydroelectric. If your electric is from the nuclear plant, then you would not be allowed this option.
Remember, we are NOT on a GRID type of system here! Backwards by over 65 years, compared to the rest of the US.

A system that will fit my house, would cost 15,000 dollars, and not provide all the electric we use.
It will take 18 years to pay for itself in electrical cost savings. Not selling back to the grid.
It would take 15 years to pay for itself, selling electric back.
And if we installed the battery shed, it would pay for itself in 13 years, provided it lasts that long. Battery systems are only good for around five years. But they included that in the 13 year figure.
Now, if I BORROW the money to install the system, I would have INTEREST due on the loan.
The government has a special deal so that this interest is fixed at 5.9% if you qualify. I'm too old to qualify!

Folks who have installed the top-of-the-line system, on large homes, in the more affluent areas, realize a much greater return on investment, simply because they have more roof area to cover, and some have covered their garages and out buildings as well. They can also afford the panels that look like roofing and not like solar panels, so they are not eyesores.

Some people have purchased an empty lot next door to their home, and installed ground mounted solar panels. They have stockade fences around the lot, so you don't see the panels. Considering the size and amount of surface area they have covered, I'm sure their electric cost is zero and most of what they make is sold back, probably at a higher rate than they offer normal homeowners.

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 04 Jun 2013, 15:40
by Ice.Maiden
I hear you Gary.

I think the initial idea of using solar panels was interesting, but far from being the "cheap" way of running your home, the initial costs can be high, and, as you say, take years before you really see much profit - by which time you're maybe looking to replace all those panels anyway!

Let's look at it logically. We'd all like to dream up a cheap or free way of getting electricity, but if someone came up with that, the big companies - and the governments who get a good rake-off from them'd be screaming in our faces.

In the UK, we're surrounded by water and're never very far from a river. It'd make sense to use old-fashioned water wheels. Surely water could be diverted from the rivers and fed along a pipe to the turbine? You could supply a whole village or town with the electricity supplied, providing there were enough sluices to support the system - but no. Our fuel prices are astronomical Gary - seriously high. Some old people died during last winter and the winter of 2011, because they just couldn't afford to keep warm in their own homes.

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 05 Jun 2013, 11:50
by Kellemora
A utility company, doesn't matter if it's coal, wood, gas, electric or water; have employee's, investors, greedy CEO's and overhead.
The MUST make a certain profit to keep everyone happy.
As devices that use these resources become more efficient, the cost to operate them MUST go UP for the utility companies bottom line to continue to increase.

Utility costs are going to go up, even if nothing else changed. But consider this scenario.
If everyone using electric could cut their usage in half tomorrow.
The electric company would be forced to DOUBLE their rates instantly, to protect their bottom line.

Those families, namely the elderly and those on fixed incomes. Who could not take advantage of the new equipment that would cut their bills in half. Would suddenly be faced with electric bills that are now DOUBLE of what they were before.

Conserving Energy therefore IS NOT a way to keep costs down. Doing so CAN AND MUST increase the cost to the consumer.

This causes faster inflation, higher wages for employees, larger profits for the CEO's and for the investors, so the cost goes up again and again and again.

And honestly, that IS what happened with our hydroelectric plants. The water flowing over the dam cost nothing. The dam itself was paid for decades ago. Water turbines last for decades before needing major repairs. The cost of maintaining the dam and the power generating equipment goes up because of inflation, the water is still free and the dam is still free.

As an area becomes more saturated, usage needs increase. As convenience products became available, usage needs increased again. As convenience product became more energy efficient, usage needs dwindled. To make up for this loss of income, they raised the rates. More energy efficient devices replace the old, and they raise the rates again. These raised rates cause inflation, so they raise them again to make up for inflation. It becomes a vicious cycle.

Some new company (or government agency) comes along and builds a more efficient means of producing electric. Because most of their funds came from government grants, from our taxes. The APPEAR to be offering their electric at a lower rate. So everyone (meaning the cities utility provider) switches from the hydroelectric company to the new steam plant.
To make the community feel good about this change, they give them a very small break on electric costs. The people are happy, Hey or Electric Bill went down. What they don't realize is their real estate tax bill went up by more than that reduction to cover the cost of the grant to the new steam plant. And another tax went up on recreation, boat and fishing taxes, etc. to cover the maintenance costs of the hydroelectric dam which now has no income to offset those costs.
So in the long run, all things considered, the switch to the steam plant is actually costing a considerable amount more.
But people don't see this, because they NEVER look at the WHOLE PICTURE.

Ask anyone here how much they pay in taxes, and most only look at Income and Sales tax to give you an approximate figure or percentage of their income. They are greatly fooled into ignoring all of the other taxes they pay. There are well over 100 different taxes we pay, over and above the two I first mentioned. And many of them are tax on tax on tax as well.

Your income is taxed when you earn it, it is taxed when you spend it, and any asset you purchase with it is taxed annually.
Most products you buy have hidden taxes, and some of them quite heavy too.

People are SO DUMB, they scream, don't tax us, tax the big corporations, tax business, tax stores, etc.
WHERE do these companies get the money to pay all of these exorbitant taxes they are saddled with.
The answer is so simple. Overhead is added to the Cost of Goods Sold. These costs are passed on to the Consumer in the form of higher prices. The Consumer is paying ALL of the Taxes imposed on all businesses!

I had to laugh when the government slapped the exorbitant 500% SIN TAX on cigarettes.
At best, this tax only hurt the poor and elderly, those on fixed incomes. And families struggling at a minimum wage job.
It did not affect one single self-employed worker, or a business owner one iota.
The majority of smokers, due to laws in the workplace, either become self-employed or start a business where they call the shots. Employed working holding a regular job, may moonlight on the side, or begin stealing from their employer to make up their added tax expenses.
Even the folks who mowed lawns upped their price from like 25 to 30 bucks, to make up for this tax.
And of course, the self-employed and business owners, and we are snide about this too, we picked a product we sell that is purchased more often by non-smokers than smokers, and up the price of those items to cover our increased cigarette tax costs. It is our way of getting back at all those pain in the arse folks who got all these new discrimination against smokers bans in place. Make them pay for their meddling in other peoples business! Of course, they are too dumb to realize that they are paying and in many cases quite dearly.
Personally, I would like to see a 500% tax placed on Coffee, just to really hear how loud the AH's can scream!

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 05 Jun 2013, 16:27
by Ice.Maiden
LOOOL!!! You've just described how the economy works, in part, and yes, you're right as usual, but there's one person here who refuses to buy into the hype.

We all have to pay taxes, because this's the way that revenue's collected, but it's the sneaky taxes that no one wants. I admire travellers and gypsies who refuse to pay most of these taxes - and indeed, why should they, unless they're hooking up to amenities for free, which the rest of us are paying for? Originally, the land, water and air was free. Indigenous people lived sometimes hard, but decent lifestyles - if left alone. I'd seriously have no problem with that, but it'd mean going backwards.

I could live wthout a car and all the latest gadgets. OK., so it'd mean extra work and lack of transport could be a problem, but would it really be so bad? People used to live like that once upon a time, and it's just that we've become used to being spoilt. Without taxation, countries'd go to pot, but that's only because of the way that the system's been built up over the years.

You don't have to say it - I know it's a very simplistic view - but that's how I'd like to live. Think I belong in a hippy commune!!! Are there any left?? : )

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 06 Jun 2013, 13:56
by Kellemora
Back home we have a small incorporated town that goes by the name of "The Village of Country Life Acres."

They have no taxes on anything, other than the required federal, state and county taxes.
Because they accept no services from the county, their county taxes are quite low.

Ironic, the cheapest house in that town is over two-million bucks.

They initially incorporated as a town to prevent being annexed by their tax gouging neighboring towns.

We had a similar problem where I lived. Our taxes would have more than doubled if one of the high tax cities annexed us.

Here, all the little corner grocery stores every other block are gone. You don't find a little shopping area every few blocks. They were all put out of business by the massive shopping centers in the commercial areas.

Bus lines seem to only run between the poor residential areas, to the rich residential areas, for the purpose of bringing maids and butlers to work. Plus a few routes between lower class subdivisions and major shopping areas.

Back home, when I worked in downtown St. Louis, I considered taking a bus to work. Problem was, no busses came anywhere near our area. Then they decided to build this rapid transit mini-railroad line. They installed chain link surrounded parking areas so folks could park their cars in them, then ride the transit. The cost to build this was phenomenal, but fairs were cheap at first, then they began to climb. You still needed a car to get to the, and then your car sat outside in the hot sun all day. If you missed the last one home after work. You were SOL.
Many of us went back to driving downtown and parking in closed parking garages. The cost wasn't that much more, and the aggravations it saved were well worth it.
I only worked downtown for like five years. Wasting two hours a day for drive time and sitting in traffic just wasn't worth it to me. Even taking a big cut in pay to work in the county, I still came out way ahead. Where I worked provided free parking, that was shaded, low cost meals and was very close to home. Drive time was under 10 minutes. So we didn't use much fuel either. All those savings added up to more than my reduction in pay by changing jobs.

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 06 Jun 2013, 16:41
by Ice.Maiden
Yes, I hear what you're saying.

Taxes are the bane of everyday life, but they've now got out of hand, and everything that CAN be taxed, is. One of the reasons for this, I think, is that our governments've wasted so much money that the only way out of it's to create further taxes to try and make up the deficit.

Over here of course, strict austerity measures are in place, and they won't be lifted for at least 3 years. Ha! I doubt they EVER will!
Labour ministers are already saying that if they get in next time, benefit changes are going to stay as they are, but these seem to be getting worse and worse. One of the Conservatives's said that he justified taking away money from the disabled. Good grief - these people can't work, so what on earth do they live on if Disability Allowance's scrapped? It's appalling, and nobody seems able to stop these people from causing the misery that they are.

To really rub it in, the UK's sending £18 million to India, to help rebuild the factory which recently collapsed in New Delhi. Pardon me?? Why doesn't their own government do that, or fine the owners for using a building which was obviously risky anyway?

In 2012 I think it was, we sent £19 million in aid to South Africa; their President spent £17.5 million on his palace!!! There's something very wrong there isn't there?

All these millions going hither and thither could easily pay to help our disabled, the elderly - or even nurses and police officers, but no. Our services are being severely cut, while we fork out vast amounts of money to go to places where much of it gets syphoned off.

David Cameron says that overseas students are welcome here. No wonder, when they probably have to find fees of £20,000 or more, but what seems like madness, is that universities aren't encouraging our own people to study there. So we get all these students from far-flung places, who manage to get their degrees - and then stay here. Why? It's not because there are thousands of jobs on offer for them, but because they know they're better off in the UK than going back to their homelands and putting their qualifications to good use. The benefits for them are also tempting. They're housed, they're fed, they can claim for all sorts of things, yet our own have to struggle to get the same.

I have nothing at all against people of all races contributing to our society and economy, but they often don't. Do you see them flocking to live and work in other EU countries? Some, obviously, but the perks here are far better, or on a more permanent basis. You don't see Australia - or even the US taking in folk in such massive swarms as we do. You have more vigorous rules for anyone wishing to settle over there, and rightly so. People coming to the UK - for whatever reasons've, been able to stay here with no documents, no jobs lined up, no homes or anything.

As for your town - The Village of Country Life Acres" - it sounds like a decent set-up. OK., so the residents obviously have a bit of money anyway, to live in houses which cost $2m plus, but apart from the usual taxes, it sounds like they're not onto a bad thing! It couldn't be done over here, because everyone's liable for the extra taxes which keep being sneaked in, and you can't avoid them. If you have property, rented or otherwise, everyone has to pay Council Tax; even if you own a well and don't use piped water from the mains - you get taxed; every time you buy something ... you pay VAT on top (Value Added Tax). I despair.

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2013, 11:22
by Kellemora
Private industry can usually provide services much cheaper to individuals, then when those services are contracted by a government entity. I saw it quite clearly in all three cities I lived in. When the city took over the service, the cost went up drastically in each and every case. Many times, they HIDE these costs by using other taxed resources to cover them up.

Here is an excellent example: Our local trash pick-up. When purchased directly from the company, our annual cost was 200 dollars. This was for TWO pickups per week, at your garage or behind your house. If you were single (only one person in the household), or an elderly couple (with no children living with you), you could opt for only one pickup per week, at the reduced rate of 150 per year. You were not forced to have garbage pick-up! Many folks with light trash would bring it to the public dumpsters on their way to work.

When the city took over the trash pickup, everyone got picked up only once per week, but only 48 times a year. So they skipped a week 4 times a year. You also now had to bring your trash cans to the curb. They raised our taxes by 100 dollars, so it appears we are getting a deal. From 200 down to 100 dollars per year (at the loss of one pickup per week), or from 150 down to 100 (now skipped 4 times a year). And you now had to bring your cans to the curb.
At one pickup per week, folks had to go out and buy at least two more trash cans, so most folks had 4 to 6 trash cans. The city then decided to limit each house to 3 trash cans per pickup. Neighbors got together so they could place their cans at their next door neighbors if they only had 1 or 2 out. The city got wise to this and made everyone have their address number painted on the cans. Garbage dumping on private lands and in parks rose sharply.

Rather than call the garbage company with a problem, you now had to call the cities new, public services board. This board consisted of two directors, who did not work on the board itself, but were part of the board that created the public services board. The director of the new board, and five administrators, one for each zone. Each of these administrators had a secretary and two desk clerks. One of the administrators had two secretaries and four desk clerks, due to operating a larger zone. I'll exclude the top two directors, because they were already on city salary on their board.
The NEW salaried employees include:
The Director of the Public Services Board.
One Routing Manager, from the garbage company, but now on city payroll.
Five Administrators, one for each municipal zone.
Six Secretaries, one Administrator needed two secretaries.
Twelve Desk Clerks, who handled calls from customers.
The funds to pay for all of these new people came from the general fund.
Sales taxes were increased by 0.250% to cover the addition of this new department.
Which was quite excessive, as this department only needed 0.112% to cover its cost.

To equate the original homeowner paid cost of trash pickup, to the new government provided trash pickup. One would have to look at the gross sales tax revenues, determine in dollars, what the percentage represented. Then work backwards to the number of homes serviced by the garbage company, to determine the true cost the citizens were now paying for garbage pickup.
Because it was based on an increase of sales tax. Those who did not have city supplied garbage service, were now paying for it. As an example: Apartments had to use commercial dumpster services for their tenants. Yet the many apartment dwellers were now paying a part of the garbage pickup for homeowners, due to the increase in sales taxes.
When the figures were totalled up, what should cost a homeowner only 150 dollars (for one pickup), was now costing each homeowner well over 275 dollars on average, for 48 pickup per year.
Poor folks who did not buy as much at the stores, obviously paid less in sales taxes, due to their lower purchase volume. While those with kids were paying more in sales taxes. But, even so, this is how they HIDE the fact that a once 150 dollar a years service was now costing 275 dollars per year, under the guise of it only costing 100 dollars a year. The ONLY Winners were those on Government Salary, at the expense of the taxpayers.

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2013, 18:18
by Ice.Maiden
Hi Gary,

Well yes, I can see what you mean, but I'm afraid it worked the opposite over here. These days, Councils employ private companies, who tender for the jobs. They don't necessarily pick the cheapest, but somewhere in between. When jobs were done by Council employees, they were always in work. As soon as private companies came in for a spell, lots of people lost their jobs, and the cost of hiring these companies means that in turn, the costs basically fall on the public, who have to pay Council Taxes which mostly go up on an annual basis.

We get our dustbins emptied free of charge, whether it's one or more, but if you have extra ones, you have to pay for them. However, the costs are covered again by the tax hikes, so really, the refuse collection isn't free at all - it just seems it, because you're not having to hand money over for two separate things.

However, garden waste's removed as well, but you have to pay an annual charge for the use of the bins - if you want them. They're emptied once a fortnight during the spring/summer season, and then monthly thereafter, so for the cost of your bin, it's not like you get a weekly all-year-round service. Larger, or industrial-sized bins can also be provided - at a charge.

Years back, dustbins were collected from your yard or wherever you kept them. The Council workers used to take them out to the refuse lorries, but now, all bins must be taken to the kerb, lids down and positioned ready for the men to load them onto the back of the vehicles. If the lids are raised more than about an inch, the men can refuse to take them, so some people have to put any extra rubbish into bags, which they supply themselves, and even then, they don't always get taken away!

Woe and betide anyone who tries to fly tip. They have special departments now, who, on finding bags of dumped waste, go through everything with a fine tooth comb until they can trace where the garbage's come from - and they do! They're excessively keen, and once they trace a bag back to someone, that person ends up with a nice fine.

Think you can burn your rubbish? No. Not only are some areas smoke-free zones now, but even where incinerators or fires can be used, there are times of the day when they're not allowed. Oh dear. I could go on and on, but what's the point?

Heard on the news today - our austerity measures might not be lifted until 2020. I doubt things'll improve at ALL.

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 08 Jun 2013, 10:58
by Kellemora
The Simple Truth Is:
Where there is competition, prices remain low.
When competition is removed, prices skyrocket.

With so many companies performing the same services. One might ask, how can competition be removed, so prices can skyrocket.

Let's use the garbage trucks as an example:
Wilson, Shindler and BFG all serviced our area. Wilson was the most courteous and also charged the lowest price.
This means that most of the folks in our area used Wilson. Several used Shindler, and very few used BFG.
This meant BFG had to charge more, because there were not as many people on their route, so their collection costs were higher.

OK, BFG complains to the city that Wilson is stealing all of their customers.
The city decides to turn the garbage companies into Monopolies, so they can all raise their rates as high as BFG charges.
How do they do this?
Simple, the city Licenses the garbage company to pick up only in certain zones in their city.
Wilson is given one area, Shindler another area, and BFG get the largest area, due to their tie-in's to poly-TICK-ians establishing the pick-up zones.

Wilson, who previously handled 3/4ths of the area, was cut to less than 1/3rd.
Shindler, who had almost all of the remaining forth, was upped to 1/3rd, slightly more than Wilson received.
BFG now had a full 1/3rd plus a little extra that was taken away from Wilson.

By cutting out Wilson's previous customers, their costs rose considerably, less volume, less customers, higher cost. Logical.
Shindler didn't care much one way or the other, but upped their prices to equal BFG's prices. As did Wilson!

BFG was a very lousy company, which is why very few people used them.
However, after getting the city involved, all of us who used Wilson for years, were now forced to use BFG.
BFG's costs to operate their business went down considerably, because of the higher volume. However, their prices were increased at the time the city turned them into a Monopoly.

A few communities, stuck with using the lousy BFG, got together and decided to retaliate.
We sold a section of our common ground to the strip mall near the entrance to the subdivision.
For the sole purpose of placing Commercial Dumpsters on that strip of land.
They were placed in such a way that the folks who lived in the subdivision could pull into the parking lot between them, and toss their sack of trash into them without getting out of the car.
Of over 250 homes in our subdivision, all but 25 cancelled our trash pick-up from BFG.
And I think of the other subdivision of like 200 homes, all but 50 over there cancelled their service.

BFG went screaming to the city, that several subdivisions have cancelled their trash service, and it's the law they have to have trash disposal service. Well, actually, there was not a law saying they had to have trash pick-up at their home.
So this went around and around and around for over two years. And as other subdivisions learned what we had done, they followed in suit and did the same thing.
The whole idea was to get BFG out of there, and bring Wilson back.
The city had no right to control which business they allowed to work on what streets.
However, the city had already established the Licensed Zones and were stuck with them for the duration of the contract.

This is when the city decided to add the cost of trash pick-up to our Real Estate taxes. So we were paying for it, whether we used it or not. And they established an entire department to handle it.
On the bright side, the city established Rules that each of the garbage companies must follow to maintain their license.
These rules didn't affect Wilson or Shindler, because they always were courteous and proper, didn't spill trash they didn't pick up. But BFG, if they missed their truck when emptying a can, whatever fell on the ground they just left there. They also left your trash cans in the street, never putting them back on the curb where they got them from. Things like that.

Having to do things properly, slowed down how fast they ran the route. They tried to get even with the city, by placing the empty cans in the center of peoples driveways. That way they would have to stop their car in the street to move the cans.
Another outcry from the people to the city, and a new rule was added. BFG had to put the trash cans back in the same location they picked them up from. But as ornery as they were, now they tossed the lids into the yards and never replaced them on the cans. In other words, BFG was always a problem from day one. And now we were forced to use them by the city.

On the bright side, when the contracts finally expired. Wilson and Shindler each got 1/2 of the pick-up zones, and BFG was tossed out on their ear. They tried to sue the city, however, the judges were also tired of their antics at their own homes.
They each had lists covering tens of thousands of complaints about BFG breaking every rule in the books.
The subdivision I lived in finally got Wilson back as our garbage company. But they were no longer the same Wilson we knew. They had changed too. Being on a contract meant they didn't need to please the customers, simply do their job. The worked for the City, not for the customers, and we couldn't cancel them. So, they no longer cared much either.

And that is basically what happens with any service the city decides to control. It costs more and the service quality goes way down.

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 09 Jun 2013, 22:12
by Ice.Maiden
Ah right, I can understand why you think as you do, now. We've never had the problem of several companies running the refuse system at once. Dustbins are emptied by our respective Council workers, and yet funnily enough, we have both Council and private companies who offer bin-cleaning services. Both work alongside each other quite happily, but the private ones are more expensive. Why people seem to like them though, is because of how courteous the workers are, and they'll take the bins back into peoples' driveways, whereas the others leave them on the pavements. So you pay a bit more and get a decent bunch of people, or pay less but don't get the personal touches. That's the way it is round our way, anyway.

I know what you mean about competition affecting prices/charges though. Of course it does. Take our window cleaners, for example. There are some large properties in our area, often standing back and hidden from the roads, which means traipsing up sometimes un-made driveways which might wreck a a vehicle's suspension or exhausts! With many windows to clean, and sometimes necessitating specialist equipment to reach the upper ones, several companies tried to move in over time, and charge a hefty price, but the old established company, which everyone knew, kept their customers by keeping the prices down, despite the newer firms trying to muscle in and advertise the latest equipment and other incentives.

In the end, one company was forced to lower their prices or lose to their old competitor, and the others gave up and weren't seen again. It actually works though. New and old work together within the same area. Some householders are happy to have jet washes, or to get their conservatories done. The old company can't manage to do some of these because of extended crawler ladders being needed. The old company never did some of these because of the time needed, so both companies provide useful services. Ours might take longer, but they're more thorough and their charges hardly go up. The newer company gets the work done in a shorter time, they'll tackle the jobs which weren't taken on before, but they're a little more expensive. Both make a fair old living out of it anyway.

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 10 Jun 2013, 10:48
by Kellemora
When I was younger and working down in the city, with its many skyscrapers, I used to enjoy watching the window washers dangling from their ropes on the outsides of these buildings, washing the fixed-in-place windows.
Older buildings the windows could be opened and cleaned from the insides.
Now, the newest building, the windows can be tilted in, or if fixed, there is a mechanical system that is part of the construction for cleaning the windows.

I remember the first time I saw one of these mechanical cleaners, it scared the bejesus out of me.
I had not worked downtown in years, so did not know of these machines.
Attended an important meeting, held in one of these new buildings, and was seated next to a window.
I heard a thump against the window, and when I turned, all I saw were big whirling brushes, then something that looked like JAWS in reverse hitting the corners, then a squeegee wipe the window dry. Then it moved down to the next window. All of this process took under 10 seconds.
The meeting let out just in time for me to see it do the last two rows at the end of the building.
Since they used a curved frame over the top of the building, I'm sure there were workers up there moving the machine and curved frame parts from each column of windows. Probably refilling its tanks as well.
After that initial shock, I noticed more buildings using similar devices. Some even cleaned the stone and marble, mechanically.

I'm so impressed with mechanical robotic devices that I own several iRobot devices for keeping our floors clean.
Even have a special one, originally designed for garages, that worked great for collecting pet hair, now they make one just for that purpose. Plus we have the Scoobie floor washing one too.
Now, what they need to make, is one for following around old pooches who don't quite make it out the doggie door in time.

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 10 Jun 2013, 11:10
by Ice.Maiden

Well you've certainly joined the "convenience society" Gary, with your robotic cleaners! I insist on hoovering around in this room. It saves me from being disturbed when I don't want to be. I use a Vax cleaner, which brings up pet hairs within seconds - and just about everything else. I've sucked up pens, makeup items, a bracelet and several pairs of socks!! : )

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 10 Jun 2013, 11:50
by Kellemora
I guess that's like a Shop-Vac? I used one quite often when my kids were growing up. I think the old styles were made much better than the new ones they have today.
Almost every home I've ever lived in, after kids, the first thing I removed was all of the carpeting and had red oak floors installed. Easy to keep clean.
I installed a central vacuum in my last house. Not the store bought type which don't have much power.
I used a very large dust blower from my woodshop as the power unit. It did have a baffled 55 gallon drum before the blower unit to catch larger things, and a screen to prevent the impellers from getting broken. But it used no filter bags. It had an outdoor exhaust port, similar to your clothes dryer vent, only perhaps twice that size, more like a cooktop rangehood.
With four kids at home all the time, it didn't take long for the 55 gallon drum to fill up. Although, due to it's design, it had a pull out drawer that was the bottom third of the drum. It was always filled with toys and stuff the kids left on the floors.
I used three inch ductwork to this drum, and 1-1/2 inch connections in the walls, with no 90 degree angle turns. In other words, impossible to clog up the pipes that were inside the walls.
Later on, after the kids were grown, we added a small 3 gallon chrome container that plugged into the wall, and the hoses connected to it. So the big drum in the basement, I only checked about once a year for buildup.

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 11 Jun 2013, 19:03
by Ice.Maiden
Hi Gary,

Shop-Vac?? :shock: Oh - just had to check that out! :P

No, not quite. Vax is a make of vacuum cleaner though, such as Dyson is. They're better than "Dysons" are, in my opinion, and we don't have one of those central vacuum systems. Not many folk over here do.

Our floors are also oak or stone-flagged, so we have large rugs in the downstairs rooms, not fitted carpets, but it's different in some of the rooms upstairs, because I like comfort when I walk around in bare feet. The children also used to skate along their bedroom floors, drag toy vehicles and play on ride-ons, so we soon lay carpets down, not only to save the wood from getting marked, but to cut down on any noise!! :lol:

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 12 Jun 2013, 11:11
by Kellemora
For deep cleaning, we have a canister vac, similar to the Electrolux so popular here for years.
Other than that, we have the computerized Roomba, Paws and Scoobie which handle daily cleanup automatically.

As I'm redoing my house, I'm using laminate flooring in most of the rooms. And installed super thick floating vinyl in the kitchen.

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 12 Jun 2013, 14:55
by Ice.Maiden
I have a friend who put that "Cushion Floor" stuff down in her kitchen. It's like an insulating, padded vinyl covering, which actually looks pretty good. It was either that, or re-do the floor and then tile it. It would've cost too much money at the time. The floor's been coated with a sort of bitumous (spelling??) black paint, and undulates in parts, so they thought it'd be best to just pad it out until they've saved up to have the whole thing done properly, but they like the vinyl covering. It's doing its intended job - no lumps or bumps to be felt now - and it's warm and easy to clean.

How do you clean laminate flooring Gary? Can you mop it over, or do you just have to hoover/brush over it as well, as you do with hardwood floorboards?

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 13 Jun 2013, 13:05
by Kellemora
I had cushion vinyl flooring once. It didn't hold up even a full year.

They say you shouldn't mop laminate flooring, and Scoobie is not recommended for them.
However, we have always wet mopped and used Scoobie without a single problem.
Our bedroom flooring is now a little over 8 years old. My office floor is 10 years old.
And a lot of water gets on these floors, due to the bird cages being in here.

Re: Apostrophes

PostPosted: 13 Jun 2013, 15:39
by Ice.Maiden
Sounds as though you've got it sorted then Gary. I often wondered if you can wet-mop laminate boards, or if the surface'd become dull. We have oak floorboards, and although they've been treated, you can basically clean them with a damp mop, brush OR vacuum cleaner. We do a bit of everything on ours, and apart from where we've carpeted to save any damage, they're lovely.