Rich people, don't read this

Dateline: Tue 08 Mar 2011

Because we don't want you to stop throwing out your perfectly good stuff, planting it at curbside on trash pickup day, presumably to burn in the dump on Harding Street. 

As it stands, the system now is a sound arrangement: affluent Northsiders put out perfectly respectable furniture, lamps, metal shelving, concrete pig planters, hardware/tool cabinets, etc., on trash day.

Along come people like me, and many others. We scour the streets, pick the stuff up and, oftten resell or use it in our own homes.

I'd call it the New Economy, except it's gone on for a blue moon. "One person's trash..."

Years ago, at the Indianapolis Star, then fashion writer Betsy Harris mentioined that Manhattan in New York City was teaming with pickers -- people who systemeticaly patrol the richie streets on trash day and pick up the good stuff, then sell it off to the antique dealer for whom they work.

I knew that was my kind of job.

My friend Greg, who works at Midland Arts and Antiques Mall-- orange hair, often in a pony tail unless he's going short -- has a wonderful cement pig planter he dug out of a dumpster.  That's another trick. I asked him once, after I'd started at Midland, where dealers in Indianapolis found good stuff -- "dumpster diving, patrolling alleys, sales," he said.

This ties in, at a deeper level, with having respect for our resources and for the simple usefulness of things.  During the Depression, and beyond that era, through the war, it was common to see a big spoon-like device covered with wire hanging in bathrooms. The "spoon" was used for scraps of soap -- each little sliver was saved and ultimately they were all molded into a new bar. And let's not forget orders of nuns who saved string, aluminum foil, rubber bands. Or those who pick up pennies off the street, that forgotten and disrespected coin.

I know it's Lent, and tradition dictates, for some Christians, the giving up of something. I hope those wealthy Christians keep surrending their stuff to the streets, because their generosity is appreciated.



hendy [Member] said:

Sustainability has as a component, not making new stuff, and repurposing old stuff. I took 11 loads of stuff to Goodwill and St VdP when I shed my belongings and moved to Bloomington (where the damn garage is still full).

No shame in either case to put stuff at the curb, or troll for the same. It's not a case of rich/poor. It's a case of need/don't-need.

You might find the philosophy of St Vincent de Paul interesting. It throws judgmentalism out the window in favor of the reality of people in need. My late father was a strong participant and was a strong counterbalance to his Type A personality.

2011-03-09 08:37:05

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I swear this blog is better than most therapy.

Curb-swapping is an honored hobby. Dumpster diving carries a slightly-more pesky hammer: it can be dangerous--germs, and dumpsters often have ragged metla edges.

Fat Tuesday is done. I'm giving up sweets for Lent. I will not give up curbside shopping. I love my God, but not that much.

Good Lord don't we LOVE to collect "things" ? I learned a lot when I visited Sister Theresa's order in India. Their spartan lifestyle and simple diet, was frugal and healthy: average age at the time was 87. They're silent one day a week.

Not sure that would work for you, Ruthie. Heh-heh.

SVDP gave up judgment. A worthy and admirable endeavor. Damned difficult, but a good goal nonetheless.

2011-03-09 10:25:29

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

I just wish those rich people would put money (along with their antiques and collectibles) on the curb.

A concrete pig won't pay my electric bill.

2011-03-09 12:18:07

Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

Hey, Whitebeard:
pick up that pig, sell it on eBay and use the $ to pay your electric bill!

2011-03-09 12:59:23

indykjsharp [unverified] said:

This post reminds me of the IPS teacher who dumpster dives in Carmel to stock her classroom... Star story several months ago.

I'm glad people on this blog care about things. That's why I come here. So many people don't give a damn about anything. Thousands of people dead and nuclear meltdown either imminent or already happening in Japan. I can't get sleepy. The world is so f'd up.

2011-03-12 22:44:07

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