In Philadelphia people complain. Unlike people from New York or Los Angeles, they just don’t complain about anything – only the important stuff.
What separates this city’s complaining from others is that it’s done on a professional level.
In fact in Philly, complaining is the number one professional sport. It’s an art form.
As more and more people flock to this city to either go to school or live they have to realize that you just can’t complain about anything you want because it’s not acceptable.
Complaining constantly about everything will set you apart from the rest and everyone will automatically know that you aren’t a true Philadelphian.
People who have lived in this city all their lives know it’s not the quantity of said complaint, but the quality of it.
In this city it’s important to not stand out, at least not in a bad way.
Here are 10 things that native Philadelphians complain about and why they do it.
1. Trash pick-up.
Time is very important to the residents of this city. They know that there are things to be done and exactly when they should be done.
Philadelphians don’t complain about how much they have to pay their township for trash pick-up because it’s already built into their taxes, the fact that mattresses have to be covered in an encasement or they won’t get picked up, recycling or even the smell.
Residents sometimes will have a problem if the people who collect the trash leave debris on the street, but what really toasts their cookies is if the trash pick-up is late or doesn’t come at all.
And, yes, they know exactly what time they can put their trash out and exactly when it’s scheduled to be picked up.
The residents usually are a lot more forgiving of the Department of Sanitation’s tardiness during the winter because the trash trucks are used to salt and clear the roads, but not by much. Think of that appetizing thought the next time you let your kids play in a mound of snow on a street corner.
The reasoning for the right to complain could be due to the belief that their right to complain, like the trash pickup, is figured into the taxes.
Lately, however, residents seem to have a justified reason for complaining about their trash collections.
Mayor Nutter announced that all trash that is scheduled to be picked up on September 25 or 26 will be cancelled due to the Pope’s visit. This will affect people who reside in the northeast section of the city far away from where the Pontiff is going to be at.
The good news is that due to the activities surrounding this visit, the 311 Call Center will be open 24 hours September 24-28. It is usually closed on the weekends and only operates during the week from 9-5.
The center is a place where residents can either call or visit to register their complaints/problems/concerns regarding city services, to find out where their local police district is located, and requesting services such as removal of abandoned vehicles, reporting broken traffic lights, potholes or graffiti removal.
For people who love to complain about the trash, having 24 access to a real person in City Hall is a dream come true.
Mayor Nutter announcement: http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/news/2015/08/20/pope-francis-pap…
2. Mail delivery.
Philadelphia is often referred to as a city of neighborhoods and in most neighborhoods everybody knows everyone else.
People in this city like to take things a couple of steps further.
Here everyone is called either by their first or last name but rarely both.
Mayor Michael Nutter is usually just referred to by his last name as are most of the local politicians and the police commissioner.
If a business has a name like Tony’s Restaurant, people will just call it Tony’s. This can confuse outsiders, but perhaps that’s the point.
Feeling like they really know people is important in Philly.
It’s one of the reasons why business establishments are referred to by the name; the owner is actually known.
Residents’ feeling like they have a personal connection to the owner also ensures that that business is most likely going to stay open for a long time.
Although in some areas around the country may feel that familiarity breeds contempt, in Philly it breeds trust; the more they know you, the more they’ll trust you.
This need for familiarity doesn’t just extend to businesses, but to anyone who comes in contact with the average Philadelphian on a daily basis.
This includes the person who delivers their mail.
Most people in this city not only know the name and basic information of their mail carrier (marital status, years on the job, number of children, etc.), they also know what they look like.
Most Americans at one time or another have complained about their mail delivery service and although people in Philly have been known to do that, they also will complain if a stranger has delivered their mail and will wonder if their postal carrier is sick or on vacation.
They’ll also complain that these strangers aren’t aware of when exactly their postal friend delivers the mail and the way this stranger leaves the mail is totally wrong.
3. Professional sport teams.
Websites love to post lists about the best and worst cities in America. They love to put Philadelphia somewhere on that list. Many lists will take the opportunity to comment on this city’s sports fans.
To be honest, this city has a decades old reputation for having extreme over-exuberance towards their teams.
People in this city just aren’t hard on fans from other teams; they’re equally as difficult with the teams themselves.
The truth is that win or lose, Philadelphia fans love to complain about their sports teams although Eagles and Phillies fans tend to do it the most and are the loudest.
It doesn’t matter if the team wins or loses or even how well they played; there will be complaining. It doesn’t even have to be that particular sport’s season. Complaining about the Eagles or Phillies is a yearlong event.
Philadelphians feel it is their right to complain and expect things from their home teams since the city decided to build them all their own stadiums at the expense of taxpayers; raise ticket prices to ridiculous amounts; add outrageous taxes onto those prices; ban food from being brought in so fans are forced to pay high prices for lousy food; eliminate any free parking and offer parking lots that engage in price gouging.
They are currently trying to eliminate tail gate parties.
So, yeah, Philadelphians love to complain about their sports teams, but that same right isn’t extended to people who don’t live in this city and this includes people from the burbs as well as New Jersey.
For tourists who come to the city after being warned about this city’s fans, here’s tip: Stay away from the stadiums, go run up the Art Museum steps in order to have your Rocky Balboa moment and enjoy you Pat’s/Geno’s cheesesteak.
If you still want to attend a game, don’t wear your home team’s jersey and make sure you purchase an approved local jersey. An approved local jersey will have a current team member’s last name on the back.
4. The Philadelphia School District.
Okay so this is a no-brainer because everyone in the state of Pennsylvania as well as the federal government probably complains about the Philadelphia School District, but for long-time residents it goes well beyond just test scores, school violence, the unions or even their budget.
In order to really appreciate the circumstances and complain appropriately you have to have been a taxpayer in this city for at least 10-20 years.
Residents complain about the school district a lot, but there are really good reasons why this is the case.
To be perfectly blunt, the district has been running itself into the ground (and with council’s blessing) for over 30 years and all at the expense of the taxpayer.
The worst part of it all is that the district and local officials keep the very people who are financially contributing to the schools in the dark over where the money is going and what the district should be spending the money on.
Case in point: Nurses, counselors and other support staff have been laid off, but the district continues to hire administrators and pay them top salaries of over $130, 000 per year.
Taxpayers have no say in how the money is spent, who gets hired and they have no idea how the district is run.
This is why residents complain. They complain because they’re expected to pay higher taxes without having a say in what is going on or even to be able to know what is going on.
Once again it’s about time and the value of appreciating SEPTA’s paying customers.
People in Philly do not really complain about the cleanliness of the vehicles, the drivers or even the rude customers that clog up the front aisle with their Cadillac strollers or as they stand there texting oblivious to someone trying to get on. No.
They complain about buses or trains being on time. They complain about how SEPTA reduces the number of buses that fare paying customers depend on once the school year is over and students who get their passes for free or discounted are no longer dependent on the buses.
They complain about buses such as the 28 not operating according to schedule on the weekends because SEPTA doesn’t have anyone to drive the bus. Despite having over 5,000 drivers they can’t seem to find someone to work that route on the weekends.
Recently, Philadelphians have even more to complain about.
Residents are calling it The Pope Apocalypse.
SEPTA has decided to make everyone who depends on public transportation stressed out with constant announcements of limiting or expanding the train stops within the city due to the visit of the Pope.
Buses that originate downtown but travel into areas such as West, Southwest, Northeast, and South Philly as well as the suburbs will be greatly delayed due to all the sections in the city that are going to be blocked off.
They may not even run at all.
Although the transit authority gave great detail about the trains, they have been silent about how messed up the buses are going to be.
But, hey, if you want to commemorate this annoying event you can still purchase a papal pass through Craigslist for about $200.
Or, you can do what thousands of Philadelphians will be doing: lock your doors, close your blinds and wait for the insanity to pass.
6. Snow removal.
This common complaint isn’t really a matter of what snow is being removed, but where it’s being removed because in this city not every neighborhood is equal.
As it was previously stated in this article, the city’s trash trucks double as snow removal trucks.
There are 327 trash trucks in the city that have to cover 142.6 square miles. The city has a lot of really small streets that could be considered big alley-ways. Plus people don’t always read the signs and will park on snow emergency routes making it difficult for the trucks to get through.
That being said, that’s not what people complain about.
The most unrealistic claim is that the trucks bury residents’ cars in snow especially after said resident has shoveled out their car. Yes, the people want their streets plowed, but they don’t want the snow to block in their cars. They actually expect for the plows to come to a halt and then maneuver around any car that has been shoveled.
The realistic complaint is that not all streets are plowed and salted in a timely manner. Some aren’t plowed and salted at all.
These streets aren’t necessarily located in neighborhoods, but many of the major streets such as Market, Broad and Frankford Avenue are left untouched or semi-touched.
Amazingly enough areas where city officials live at always seem to get plowed.
After people complain about the streets not being plowed they will immediately complain about their trash not being picked up.
Well, because if they’re not going to get the street plowed they might as well get their trash picked up.
Makes perfect sense, in a twisted Philadelphia way.
Trash trucks: http://6abc.com/news/streets-department-looking-to-end-phillys-trash-pic…
Square miles: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/42/42101.html
So who doesn’t complain about their taxes going up besides the rich?
In Philadelphia, however, there’s really good reasons why they complain: because city officials are always raising some kind of tax and fool everyone to believe that this tax is temporary.
There’s no such thing as temporary in this city.
They complain because despite the constant raising of taxes, nothing ever seems to get better in this city.
They complain because wealthy developers and business owners get tax breaks while they receive none.
They complain that area universities and colleges don’t have to pay taxes, but seem to be able to make even more money off the back of taxpaying residents by raising tuition prices, purchasing properties and becoming landlords.
They complain because there is absolutely nothing in this city that isn’t taxed (except food, textbooks, most clothing, and legal drugs) and it’s just not luxury items such as car rentals or sporting events.
They complain because the city officials want to take every dollar they earn and make sure that the working middle class becomes the new working poor.
Non-taxable items: https://revenue-pa.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/203/~/how-do-i-k…
8. City Council.
In Philadelphia members of City Council are elected officials that write, debate and pass laws that effect everyone who lives, works or does business within the city.
There are 17 members that have been elected to City Council. Out of those 17, there are four who have been there for 20-25 years and 6 who have been there for 10-20 years.
If you’re looking for a career where you can stay for a lifetime, get rich and do very little – Philadelphia’s City Council may be the place for you.
And this is the basis for all the complaints.
The Democratic Party has been a noose around the neck of this city since 1891. Nothing moves without the party’s approval and this goes for anyone running for office.
Council members work limited hours and most of the bills are passed right before they go on their 3 month vacation.
People who work in the public education system don’t even get three months off.
As much as people complain nothing seems to change because too often the council person runs unopposed or their opponent is someone totally ridiculous.
So then their stuck.
So what are the majority of the complaints?
1. City Council is just looking to line their own pockets.
2. They constantly are raising taxes, but their budget is never slashed and staff is never laid-off.
3. Council members are often inaccessible to the very taxpayers who put them in office.
4. Taxpayers have no idea what council actually spends their money on.
5. While taxpayers struggle to pay their own bills council members get free cars, cell phones and reimbursements for trips. They also get the one thing that no Philadelphian gets ever: free parking downtown.
City Council definition: http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/legislative%20branch
Members of City Council: http://phlcouncil.com/about-city-council/
9. The neighbors.
There are about 164 individual neighborhoods that make up this city and within these neighborhoods over half of them have row houses.
It’s miracle that everyone gets along as well as they do because many blocks don’t leave for a lot of wiggle room and the homes themselves can be narrow with limited space.
Often neighbors feel like they’re living on top of one another.
Despite knowing all of that it doesn’t give neighbors a pass when they’re being complained about.
So here are the top 5 reasons why neighbors will complain about you –a lot.
1. Section 8 housing: Landlords who want to make money off of renting a home will often enroll in the Section 8 program in which the federal government will pay a percentage of the rent based on the renter’s income.
The renters that move in and their landlord often do not provide the necessary upkeep on the property and too often Philadelphians feel that these renters are a blight on their community due to the way they live such as distribution of drugs, violence and disruptive behavior.
2. Parking spots: Parking spots are a precious commodity in neighborhoods as most houses don’t have garages or driveways.
In areas of the city you have families where everyone has their own car and they take up almost every parking space on the block.
Some neighbors will even get handicapped parking placards who aren’t handicapped just so they can park in front of their house.
During snow days people will put chairs in their parking spot even though it is illegal. They do this because the neighbors who are too lazy to shovel out their space will park in a spot that their neighbor has slaved away for hours to clear.
3. Dogs: People in Philly continually push their neighbors’ buttons by keeping their dogs outside and let them constantly bark all hours of the night and day.
Some residents will just let their dogs out to spread their own excrement all over the sidewalks.
4. DIY projects: Neighbors who will begin working on their DIY project (which always takes place outside and requires the use of electric saws, drills and hammers) at seven in the morning on the weekend.
5. Kids: Every neighborhood has at least one family who don’t discipline their precious little angels and let their kids run rampant all throughout the block making as much noise or trouble as possible.
Section 8 : http://www.pha.phila.gov/housing/housing-choice-voucher.aspx
10. The mayor.
Everyone loves to complain about their mayor especially here in Philly.
Perhaps it’s because the mayor is usually a former member of City Council and who was the topic of complaints when they were a member of council.
It doesn’t matter who the current mayor is, people will complain.
For Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter it seems that too often he can’t win, but that’s usually because many of the people see that he doesn’t do anything right.
It could be just because as the mayor, Nutter is an easy target because he’s a politician.
Whatever the case, people complain a lot about him for various reasons.
Mayor Nutter has raised taxes four times; he introduced taxing liquor, soda and cigarettes and don’t forget about his inability to communicate with the unions. He seems to find more creative ways to take money away from hard working people.
What really irritated the people of Philadelphia is Nutter’s penchant for traveling to other states and even countries to promote the city’s tourist industry instead of staying home to address the ongoing issues that affect taxpayers.
The largest complaint is what a mess Mayor Nutter has made of the Pope’s visit and how he has engaged in several impromptu speeches to give tidbits of information; that he has placed the residents’ needs second to those who are coming to the city to spend money.
Many feel that Nutter is more interested in promoting himself for whatever position he will hold in 2016 than he is being mayor in 2015.