We used to have a Goodwill Store in my neighborhood that had two dumpsters where I did extremely well when divin’ them. There was one or two Goodwill donation loading dock workers who knew me and looked out for me to give me donated stuff, but there was male store manager there who was a real S.O.B. about us dumpster divers. When the S.O.B. came out back to where the store’s dumpsters were and angrily told me to leave, I quietly did so right away. But another regular d-diver—an older local guy with a nice retirement check coming in every month—gave the manager a lot of back talk. That mouthy retired guy told me about this several times, and he thought that he had every right to dive them dumpsters, “ I ain’t hurtin’ anybody,” he’d say.
I explained to him that we were indeed trespassing as soon as we stuck a hand inside of a dumpster, and if we were not all cool about this then the steady flow of good stuff to the dumpsters might stop (at one point in time later that flow did diminish considerably), and I told the old retired dude that it was my policy to simply leave and come back later whenever that manager was even seen around the corner there on the loading dock. The old dude and I both shopped in the store, and we had a general idea of when that manager was working in there. I used to ask the friendly dockworkers if the S.O.B. was in there. The retired guy was lucky that the cops never got called on him when the mad manager had threatened to do so. Or maybe it was just that the cops never got there in time to catch the old dude.
The S.O.B. caught me standing at the side of the dock one afternoon waiting for a donated computer that a friendly, fair minded dockworker had gone to find for me; I just made up some lame excuse for being there and walked away, cause I wasn’t gonna’ burn the dockworker who had gone to get me that old computer.
I don’t feel bad about asking the dockworker for a free computer from Goodwill, because I was and still am a low income disabled veteran. There isn’t any non-bureaucratic reason that an old donated computer shouldn’t be passed on to me. And for years I have donated good stuff to Goodwill that I got while d-diving else ware or helping someone clean out a deceased relative’s home. Check out all my work on the Internet that is linked to this blog, I’m no lazy bum.
Most people believe that there are disabled persons being trained by Goodwill to fix all those donated electronics like computers, this is not true. That local store had a real bad reputation for selling worthless computers, non-working TVs and other electronics, but they only gave store credit for returns. The workers at that Goodwill never checked most electronics to see if they even turned on. I saw some heated arguments between disgruntled customers who had purchased worthless electronics in there and Goodwill store personnel. It was explained very loudly that the customer has the responsibility to plug it in and check it out before they buy. You can agree with that policy, but most folks think that any electronics put out for sale in a Goodwill Store have been checked out by employees first to see if the items actually work or not.
There were too many divers hitting that Goodwill dumpsters at times; some where regular d-divers, tried and true Recycle Rangers, who hit lotsa’ dumpsters all over town, but most other divers were only out there for that one continuously lucrative spot.
One time, as I drove up to the GW dumpsters, I saw the mouthy retired guy and his wife leaving in their car while 3 other men were standing around looking over what they had just pulled out of the dumpsters. That standing around dived dumpsters is bad because you got to get what you can and move on to avoid confrontation with employees or police. And I knew for a fact that the neighbors who live in the homes around the store did not like seeing people divin’ them thar dumpsters. Anyway, even though the two big-green-magical-treasure-chests had just been hit hard by 5 other d-divers, and the best stuff taken (I had assumed), I hit them dang dumpster loads too. Man o' day! I came up with two of the neatest little finds ever==a nicely framed and painted, 1950s era Japanese tile with a really cool, comical figure of a Japanese character happily strutting by on it and a little antique, pre 1940 maybe, celluloid plastic San Pan boat with little passengers on it. They are worth at least $35 each in a local antique store. These two items are on display with other decorative Asian items in my home.
The Goodwill store had a lot of well-publicized trouble with jackasses dumping junk by their dumpsters and on their donation loading dock. Because of that blatant ignorance on the part of John Q and Jane P Public, the store had to move to a more secure location with protective fencing around the back of the building where the dumpsters and donation loading dock are. It cost them too much to pay to haul that large amount of junk away every damn week. And I mean junk, not anything that anyone could figure would be fixable and reusable.
Sometimes, when I went there on a d-dive, I used to help out at the old store by dragging any junk that was spread out around the dumpsters over against the wall where it was slightly out of sight. There were scattered pieces of wrecked furniture, rolls of old rusted fencing, bags of grass cuttings and other yard waste, etc.. Why the hell not pitch in when I can, I’m a concerned local citizen.
One day, as I was slowly driving up to the dumpsters, a uniformed inspector from the Baltimore County Fire Department, who happened to be an old high school buddy of mine, pulled in at the dumpsters from the opposite direction, in his official fire department car. Right away, I knew what he was there for. He was there to see what the problems were with awful messes that the neighbors had been complaining about to his department, other gov’ment agencies, politicians, and the local media. So, I got on out of my little old pickup truck and put in some good words in defense of the GW donation dockworkers who had seen the Fireman from where they were working on the loading dock and had come out back to talk to him. I let my old buddy know that the Goodwill workers were not to blame for the messes at all, it was some jackass, home owning, taxpayers living in the county for most of their lives who were to blame.
There were several well-written articles and letters to the editor in our local weekly newspaper about the frequent dumping, and then it was reported that the reason the Goodwill Store had to move was they could not make a profit while paying expensive heavy junk removal costs.
Witnessing all that ignorant dumping on a world-renowned charity agency’s second hand goods outlet was one of the rudest experiences of my American life.