It’s been pretty slim pickings the past few weeks. It’s hard not to get discouraged, especially given the experience I had with the police recently. At first I was mostly annoyed by it. However, being punished for trash picking also reminds me that scavengers are pariahs to a sizable portion of society.
Feeling like an outcast kind of sucks, and it’s gotten to my head a bit. I’ve become more concerned about the opinions of other people, and more afraid that people might see me picking and tell me to buzz off or call the police. Not to mention that after being treated like a criminal, I have to wonder if the police actually suspect I am a criminal.
If I had found anything good in the past few weeks I probably wouldn’t be thinking as much about it. But I’ve barely found anything at all, which leads to thoughts about whether this is a reliable line of work, especially after accounting for the fact that I’ll have issues with police and neighbourhood security types as long as I do it. It makes me wonder if I should find a “real job.” It’d be nice if going back to school was an option, but that’s a no go because as a dumb kid I decided to spend my student loan money on two more or less useless degrees, and only realized I had no idea what I actually wanted to do with my life after it was almost over.
However, it’s also true that trash picking might be more important now than it has ever been. I don’t want to get too political here, but Donald Trump was just elected President, and the guy doesn’t seem to believe at all in climate change. In fact he has said that it’s all a Chinese conspiracy. I’ve personally saved (literally!) tonnes of great stuff from going to landfill, and I know for a fact that this blog has encouraged people to try their hand at scavenging. The more people trash pick, the more we can mitigate the effects of a Donald Trump presidency and our wasteful, throwaway society.
So, unless some great opportunity presents itself it’s probably best that I keep on keeping on and learn not to be affected by the haters hate. I’m still confident that there’s enough garbage out there to keep me going financially. However, I’m also going to put some thought into re-branding, or maybe changing the way I pick. I’ll let you know if I make any changes.
In the meantime, I’d appreciate it if you could tell me in the comments why you think trash picking is cool! I presume you do, since you read this blog. But it might help me remember that not everyone thinks that scavengers are low-life deviants. I’d also enjoy reading some of your trash picking stories, including best finds, best & worst encounters with other people, and so on.
Today I’ll share with you some of my finds from the past few weeks, and some stuff from earlier than I never got around to mentioning. At the top of the page was my best find from last week – a non-functioning Xbox 360 with lots of accessories. The 360 doesn’t power on, and none of the basic stuff I did to try to fix it worked. Still, I’m sure someone can fix it, or maybe just use it for parts. I put the whole lot on Kijiji for 50$, which is a good deal considering how much comes with it.
This alarm clock was part of the great week I had about a month ago. It was found under some cassettes in a garbage can while taking a walk in the Mile End. The clock is an old Westclox “Big Ben” that was made in Peterborough Ontario sometime in the 20s or 30s. It works great and is quite attractive, though the ticking is way too loud for me to personally enjoy. I have it listed on eBay for 85$ + shipping.
One of the cassettes was this Feldenkrais lesson from 1980. It’s kind of funny because one of my best friends, and sometimes lender of car is a Feldenkrais practitioner. It’s not valuable or anything, but my friend certainly appreciated it!
I returned to the spot that earned me a “finders fee” and found a bunch of ripped up trash bags. Someone else had gotten there before me and did a crappy job at not making a mess. I presume they found some good stuff as well. Regardless, I dug around to see if there was anything they missed and found a small sterling silver dish, a Mexican silver bangle, a few miscellaneous pins, and an alpaca hair comb. The dish is the best find of the bunch – it weighs about 60 grams, making it worth about 30$ in scrap.
If you have any ideas as to what this is let me know! It’s about six inches long, looks like a bouquet, comes in a nice box, and is totally unmarked. The base tests positive for silver, and the black bits at the end smell like some kind of incense. I posted it on the “what is this thing” subreddit and the best guess was that is was an atypical aspergillum (or the thing use to sprinkle holy water). I’m not particularly confident in that though, so let me know if you have any better guesses.
Let’s finish off with this collection of eight seemingly brand new pairs of jeans I found in a bag near Square St-Louis. Some even had their original tags. They’re all different sizes, so I suspect that maybe their previous owner managed a clothing store. Most were made by a relatively new local brand (I won’t say which one, because it might hurt their business if someone Googles their name and finds out that someone threw out a bunch of their jeans) and a few others were Levi’s. These should sell for 5-10$ each at future yard sale.
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