‘What’s a stealth bin’? I’m glad you asked!

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of working in a Greenstar building you may have come across the latest thing. No one’s allowed to have their own bin at their desk. Everything has to be taken to a ‘central’ bin where there is the option of placing it in the recycling or regular waste. The idea being that it kinda forces everyone to separate, recycle and cuddle puppies. Fine and dandy and helpful to the environment and all that lovely stuff except for one problem, people find ways around it. They find ways around it because as per human behavior from time immemorial, anytime we find a stupid rule we obey when watched and ignore when not.

A stealth bin is a bin that looks like something else and can avoid detection by the bin police. I’ve observed multiple types of stealth bin. One is a storage box that seems permanently to never be in ‘storage’ and likes hanging around a desk. Another is cleverly disguised as a mobile pedestal with a liner inside it. Still another is a large coffee cup, with no coffee. The list goes on and I’m sure you get the idea. Human inventiveness knows no end and there is probably an infinite combination of regular office items that can be press-ganged for bin service.

So, what’s this got to do with jaywalking? Well here in Queensland we have a wonderful law that states:

‘A pedestrian must not cross a road, or part of a road, within 20m of a crossing on the road, except at the crossing or another crossing, unless the pedestrian is,..’  then it goes on to give a few exceptions.

In the real world this translates into a fine if you cross the road at a crossing on a red men instead of a green man, if the Police are there. When I arrived in Brisbane and was told of this law I thought a work colleague was  having a lend of me until I actually watched it happen with my own eyes. As a consequence a lot of people look around at a crossing and watch, not only for oncoming traffic but also for oncoming revenue raisers. 

There is a dark reflex action in the mind of social controllers that impels them to use the force of Government to make the world bend to their will. And even if it’s only on the surface and in begrudging fashion, they’re somewhat mollified. Until next time. The problem with this is that there’s no end to their will and there’s no end to the rules they can force upon you. Once one is conceived and implemented, there’s another one coming down the railway track. Like the old saying goes: “A socialist is someone who has a sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere can make a decision for themselves”.

The weakness of the argument is in the method of conformity. The fact that people won’t follow it when it’s a suggestion, or a recommendation, demonstrates that it’s appeal is meager and people don’t see the value in it. With something as simple as a road crossing for example, most think to themselves: ‘Is there a car coming? Yes? Then I’ll wait. No? Then I’ll go.’ Simple really. No oversight needed. Same as walking into walls: ‘Is there a wall? Best not walk into it then…’

When rules and laws have obvious value to the man on the street they tend to follow them. Not many people committing murders out there and not many arsonists. Why? because not killing people and not burning property makes sense. No bins? Not so much.

I can hear the retort already. “Why, this is for your safety and security. Let us run everything for you and you’ll have peace and stability.”

Yeah, thanks Mustapha Mond but no thanks, I’d prefer to make my own decisions.