I’m a big fan of Brian Haddad’s “Piece of Garbage Madness,” an annual celebration of America’s worst offerings. Sludge rolls out his POG bracket every March to coincide with the NCAA tournament.

Last year’s winner was ex-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who triumphed over President Donald Trump in the Final Four before defeating Chip Kelly to become the biggest piece of garbage on this side of the Mississippi, or the other side, too, if you count his visits to Dallas to slink around in Jerry Jones’ luxury box.

Haddad’s bracket has a Philly slant but includes national themes also. For instance, there’s a phenomenal 8/9 matchup this year between social justice warriors and Skip Bayless. In my bracket, I had SJWs advancing to the Elite 8, where they would ultimately be eliminated by the Soda Tax. It’s the strongest field we’ve seen in years. There might even be parity.

Inspired by the concept, I decided to do a Philly-only spinoff, but out of respect to the originator, I didn’t include any of the local items that made it into Brian’s bracket. And since I didn’t get around to this last week, I decided to just do a Sweet 16 of Philadelphia’s most atrocious things, though we could certainly think of 64 entries, or even 68.

Here’s what I came up with:


Looks like a stacked bracket.

A bit of background on this year’s competitors:

#1 Seeds

Shouldn’t require much explanation here. I think we’ve all been victimized by the bloated and corrupt Philadelphia Parking Authority, a vile abomination of a government agency that I’ve designated the #1 overall seed.

Other entries are the wonderfully efficient SEPTA, the 3.8907% Philadelphia city wage tax, and the Schuylkill “Expressway,” a four-lane death trap of a highway built between a cliff face and a river.

#2 Seeds

I think Comcast “customer service” is a dark horse to make a Final Four run, and when I say “customer service,” I mean you sit on the phone for 45 minutes without actually talking to a human being.

But don’t count out the inflatable rat, a big blow up doll that union bosses roll out when their members won’t get their lazy asses back to work:

Philly Mag race baiting speaks for itself. I think we all know what they’re trying to do in 2018.

And a #2 seed that could very well have been a #1 seed is the parking spot saver, that selfish South Philly resident who will shovel out a space, throw down an orange cone or folding chair, and then get pissed off if someone else tries to park there.

Never mind the fact that it’s illegal per Philadelphia law, it’s just kind of douchey in general. Today or tomorrow, whenever the latest bomb cyclone finally goes away, I’ll probably go shovel my neighbor’s section of the sidewalk, then do the corner so people can cross the street. Nothing says “Brotherly Love” like able-bodied residents shoveling out only a spot for themselves, then acting like an asshole when someone tries to park their car there. Or, God forbid, an elderly neighbor could actually use 10 minutes of your time to clear their stairs or walkway.

#3 Seeds

In my opinion, we’ve got a really strong offering here.

Let’s start with “cash only restaurants with a $3 ATM charge.”

This is a Fishtown epidemic. Every spot in this part of Philly has an ATM in the back, but it’s one of those shitty Triton machines or whatever where you have to pay a ridiculous service charge. You either have to hit up Wawa before you come or pay $2.50 or even three whole dollars just for the ability to patronize the restaurant. And when you’re a Fishtown hipster, $3 goes a long way towards your next thrift store or vape lounge purchase.

I understand the issue with processing fees, but some of these places aren’t little mom and pop shops, there are a lot of long-standing businesses that do quite well for themselves and pass the cost to their customers by refusing to take credit cards. It’s an outrage.

“Trash everywhere” speaks for itself, as does the bridge toll. Nothing like paying $5 to LEAVE New Jersey.

And we’ve been around the block with sports radio callers. Whether it’s Levi or Bernie from Broomall or Mike from the Northeast or whatever, it usually goes something like this:

Host: Joe from Mayfair you’re up.

Joe: Hello?

Host: You’re up.

Joe: Can you hear me?

Host: Yea.

Joe: This is Joe from Mayfair.

Host: We’ve got you Joe.

Joe: Okay. Just wanted to say I’m a big fan of the show.

Host: Thanks Joe, what’s your point.

Joe: Yea, I wanna talk about Nick Foles.

Host: Go ahead Joe.

#4 Seeds

Ever see the police direct traffic at the stadium complex? Didn’t think so.

Ever visit the Aramingo Avenue Wawa? Don’t.

Ever sit on I-95 anywhere between Cottman Avenue and the Navy Yard? Probably.

As for the panhandling, I’m sympathetic to the folks who need help, but we’ve got to get them off the street and keep them out of dangerous areas, like the exit ramps coming off the highways. We’re just asking for someone to get hit by a car. It’s actually happened a bunch of times in the past ten or so years, but thankfully no deaths. We’ve got to “do a better job” with this, as Andy Reid once said.

Beyond that, we’ve got people walking up and down the street trying to sell bottles of water and crusty punks at 2nd and South who harass you when you try to go into the Wawa or just walk down the street. I guess the former isn’t “panhandling,” but we’ll just include solicitation and harassment in this category.

Other than all of the things I listed above, Philadelphia is a great place to live.