The other day le boyfriend broke my computer chair – my fancy black leather computer chair (which I may or may not have inherited from a previous teacher, who may or may not have picked it up from the side of the road). Okay, so the old thing wasn’t all that fancy, but it was amusing coming home and hearing the tale of how he leaned back a bit too far, snapped the legs off, and landed backwards on the ground. I need to keep my eye on that one…
So what did I do with the broken chair? I took it downstairs to the basement and tossed it away with the rest of my garbage, of course.
I took a few days off work, celebrated my birthday, and forgot about the entire matter. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the elevator midweek and found this notice…now that looks like my chair!
Of course it was written in Korean so I had no idea what it actually said. I ripped the paper off the side of the elevator and took it to work for one of my Korean co-workers to translate. She giggled before she was able to give me any kind of explanation.
“You have until Tuesday to put a tag on the chair or they are going to play CCTV and find out who did this.”
That’s right. My building has cameras monitoring your comings and goings, and apparently also what you throw in the trash…
I’m sure on a roll in Korea. First the fiasco where I got locked out of my apartment and now this.
It turns out that if you want to throw away furniture in Korea, you first have to go down to the city office, register with them, and buy garbage tags. So that’s what I did. I walked down there in the searing heat, showed the receptionist the photo of my decrepit chair, she gave me a form to fill out which was entirely in Korean (I don’t even know my phone number, let alone my address!), and then I paid a grand total of ₩ 4,000 which comes to less than $4.
Crisis averted. I’m glad to say that the garbage police didn’t come knocking on my door even though I was two days late in meeting their request.
LESSON LEARNED: Just throw your furniture out on the street like all the neighbours seem to do.
Kidding! Just pay a few thousand won and have your furniture disposed of properly. But seriously, what’s up with all the trash I’m finding behind apartment buildings?
Have you found that throwing out your garbage can be complicated when you’re abroad?