“I’m curious if this has happened to anyone else in Columbia Heights or if I’m just lucky.”

bag of rotting fruit

“Dear PoPville,

This is an odd one.

For the second time this month, someone has left a bag of rotting food (usually a variety of fruit but this time also a bagel!) by the back door of my basement apartment on the 1300 block of Monroe St. This mystery person walks passed our garbage cans, up the parking pad, and down a set of step to drop off these “packages” near our back door. My landlord suggests calling the cops but I’m pretty sure they would laugh me off phone since this probably only counts as littering.

I’m curious if this has happened to anyone else in Columbia Heights or if I’m just lucky.”

23 Comment

  • SilverSpringGal

    Put an open trashcan, a sign, and a motion-activated floodlight on your back porch. Problem solved.

    • Double-security measure: once the city possums move into the open trash can, they’ll be able to spring out at unsuspecting interlopers!

    • In my experience trashcans attract more of this sort of nonsense. I used to keep my cans in the alley behind my house, and there was always crap strewn all over the place. One day I was cleaning up wet clothes and a backpack that someone had draped over the trashcans, only to find out they were covered in diarreha… that was the last straw, so I moved the cans to my backyard and haven’t had a problem with litter since then.

      • Yep — it’s also a D.C. requirement for people to keep their trash/recycling bins on their own property (not in the alley) except between 6:30 p.m. the night before pickup and 8:30 p.m. the day of pickup.

        • Tell that to pretty much everyone who lives in Mt. Pleasant.

          • Yeah — I think a lot of people either don’t know about this requirement or don’t care. (About half the bins in my alley stay in the alley 24/7.)

          • pretty sure it’s the latter. I’d say you’re doing pretty well if only half the bins in your alley stay there. : )

          • When I moved in, it was about 95% of the bins in the alley 24/7. (And in the beginning, I didn’t know I was required to bring them in.)
            So 50% or 2/3 or whatever is actually a significant improvement. 😉

          • What’s the reasoning behind that law? I suppose it makes the alley less beautiful, but if the cans aren’t blocking anything what’s the harm? I can certainly understand the desire to bend the rule when you have a tiny yard and the cans are taking up a significant amount of space in it.

        • Yeah, I know.

    • Also, this person apparently is near trashcans and choosing to not use them. I think it must be a homeless person who is hanging out there when the OP is sleeping or not around. The motion-activated light would probably deter them, if it’s happening at night. If the landlord’s not willing to install one, you should be able to get a special bulb for the porch light that will do it.

      • Lighting can make such a difference. The house I used to live in was right next to a hit-or-miss alley light. When the light was out, I saw a major uptick in trash, used condoms (oh, Logan,) urine stench, and evidence of muggings (think things like lipstick, toothbrushes, random purse flotsam.) When the light was on, those things magically dwindled.

  • My guess is some well-meaning person or organization is providing bags of healthy food for the homeless. One particular recipient is apparently not a fan of the fruit (perhaps there are also other, more acceptable, snacks in the bag) and is leaving it in an out-of-the-way place because they are embarrassed to be seen throwing away the food they received.

  • Yeah, my guess is also that a homeless person is hanging out on the steps and going through food s/he picks ups somewhere to eat what is salvageable and leave the rest. Maybe it’s donated food, maybe it’s from dumpster diving.

  • YES! I live on this block and found a bag in my front yard!

  • It’s a message intended for Luca Brasi. He now lies with the vegetables.

  • So you know those drunk guys who hang out around the 14th and Park fountain and Z Burger on weekday mornings? A few weeks ago they started playing music on a radio that they plugged into an outlet on the traffic box (who knew traffic boxes had outlets?). Anyway, this morning, I noticed that one of them was sitting on the ground with a bag of fruit, making smoothies with a little blender he’d plugged in there. I have no idea whether these things are connected, but I just had to share this random, strange fruit-related occurrence.

    • You’re right! I pass by them every morning as they are eating the fruit that Giant has thrown away. They will sit right behind Giant after they make their collection only to leave a huge mess.

    • I had to laugh at the blender part. I guess smoothies have officially jumped the shark.

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