Home improvement

Feeling trashy

I froze in my tracks when I saw it. There it was. Perfection that eluded us for so long. I pulled out my phone and took two quick pictures and sent them to my wife. I knew – I just knew! – she would be just as excited as I was about this kitchen trash can on sale at the store.

Perhaps it’s our age. Perhaps it’s a pandemic. Perhaps it’s a combination of things. But we have been on a quest for a new kitchen trash can for a while.

I know what you’re thinking – Mike, why not just go and buy a trash can? Might I remind you it took us about six months to find the perfect bowls (bigger than soup, but smaller than chili, but perfect for, say, Buddha bowls. We both know what we want, and we will definitely not settle.

Also, I’m not saying we are cheap, but I am saying we are not spendthrifts. We don’t buy a lot of things. It’s not our style. We are currently looking at getting a new TV, and I am guessing we will be pulling the trigger on that some time well post-pandemic.

But back to the trash can. The reason we needed a new one is the current one we have was designed by someone who hates us. I do not remember the origins of this trash cans, but I believe it may be when we moved into the house a few years ago, and I made some purchases without supervision. The, I believe, is the last that needed to be corrected. (Previous correction: The horrible microwave that most college dorms would have been ashamed to even have.)

The biggest problem with this trash can is the lid. It is one of those swinging tops you push, revealing the trash can. But for some inexplicable reason, the one has a little indentation right at the lip, about half an inch deep and two inches wide. Dumping out coffee grounds? Why not deposit some in that groove. Scraping our plate after dinner? Maybe some leftover potatoes can fall in there. Emptying the vacuum? Yay, for a little collection of dust and dirt!

But search as we did, we just couldn’t find the right trash can. And we certainly were not about to pay $200 for one. And if any of you have a $200 trash can, I’m not judging you. I don’t get to spend your money. That’s solely your call. But I do get to spend our money, and oooooh, boy. I would not want to see the look on her face if I bought that. Messing up and buying a $29 microwave is one thing.

This trash can was well within the price range we had set, and there were probably a dozen left. My wife did not immediately respond to the text, and anyone who knows me knows how good I am at being patient. (Hint: Bad.)

I got the items I needed and headed home. When I got there, I asked my wife if she had seen the pictures. She had just seen them, and said, “What are the dimensions?” I said, “It was … trash can … size?” 

Because my wife is good like this, she said. “Our current one is 10 and a half inches by 17 inches. I’d like to get the same size, so if it is, let’s get it.”

I didn’t head back to the store until the next day, but I am glad I did, as there was but one trash can left. It was a miracle. 

OK, maybe that’s a little strong of a statement. But it sounds better that “it was supply and demand and retail economics and product placement marketing doing what it does.”

So far so good, on the new trash can, which even has a fancy sensor you can wave your hand over it to open. (A feature, I noticed, is NOT on the $200 model. So there.)

Now that we have this purchase over, I guess we focus on the television. And the most important part, if my calculations are correct, the moment that bad boy arrives is the moment we know the pandemic is done!

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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