Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Great Lamp Found While Dumpster Diving

Here's the story about really cool lamp that I found in a dumpster, when I was walking to and from the grocery store one day.

I often go up to the grocery store one way and come back home another way, so's I can check a variety of dumpsters along the way. I walked through the ball field across the street from me and then through the small, local park that borders the village main street type shopping center where the grocery store is. I checked some shopping center dumpsters on my way into the store, and then I came back out and walked through the alleys in the shopping center, and then walked down the alley on the other side of my apartment complex and checked the dumpsters all along the way there. It was mid week and mid day.

Best d-dives on that route are on Sundays. The weekends are when apartments of older folks, who have gone to nursing homes or to the Great Beyond, are cleaned out by their heirs, and also younger people who work all week move on weekends, or garages along the apartment complex alley are cleaned out and stuff gets chucked. Mid day mid week meant that the apartment maintenance crew was around and on duty somewhere in the complex; a few of them were hangin' out by their garage/workshop on that alley, and I walked by them while casually, discreetly d-divin.

So I'm just a scootin’ along down the alley and casually peekin’ over into the dumpsters. All of a sudden I see this cool looking lamp. I did not even stop moving along cause here comes two maintenance guys on a golf cart tooling up the alley towards their workshop. I was surrounded by ‘um; and that's too many witnesses for one of them not to be expected to tell me not to d-dive if they all see me. I swooped up the lamp, held it close to me body so's the ones back up the alley couldn't see it, grinned at the guys on the cart, they slowed down for a second and glanced at the lamp, gave each other who gives a frig looks and kept going, and I happily begun walking faster.

If the whole crew out there in the alley had all seen me grab that lamp then the highest ranking one would have been forced to do their job by telling me not to take stuff out of dumpsters, that I only have a right to put stuff in—I am a resident. The rental office is right up there near the workshop, so if they had all seen me take that lamp then somebody woulda’ hadda’ said something to me as their big boss may've been around there.

As I walked on down the alley with my lamp held in front of me, the first thing I think is that the switch must be bad, but I can replace it. When I got home, I discovered that it works fine.

The lamp is a good looking chrome, swing arm number that fits nicely by my computer and is real cool cause it has a dimmer switch that is great for adjusting the light just right while working here.

Two or three months later, I'm watching an antiques appraisal show on TV, and they did a segment on upcoming values in collectable lamps. They showed one from the 1950s, one from the 1960s, and one from the 1970s, and by jeeeeze mine is the 1960s one. It appraised at $250, and it is going up in value every year. The appraiser said the name of the famous 1960s era designer who had created the lamp, but I could not understand what he said.

I love this lamp, it fits my tastes fine. In fact, it is friggin aye perfect for where it is.


nhcardhunter said...

This is real interesting stuff, David. I noticed that you used to live in Maine. I'm also a Maine resident and my girlfriend is from Millenocket. While I haven't done any dumpster diving, I have come across some interesting items at a local car wash that always seem to be discarded (all good). It's funny how people just throw good stuff away, including lots of money, lol!



ursusdave said...

I guess you musta found me through the Magic City News in Millinocket. I follow the news about battles up there to get that town revitalized, we are going through the same type situation here in the Baltimore suburbs. It is amazing that those car wash owners and workers let that stuff get by them, but it is like that everywhere. I have to start checking out trash barrels and dumpsters at car washes. Good tip!! Thanks.
And if ya ever get up ta Patten, tell 'um I said hello.

nhcardhunter said...

Hi David, actually, I was reading some of the dumpster diving blogs and came across yours. When we first started out on our hunts we'd look just for money (coins and bills). Then, I got the idea to start collecting the bottles and cans as they were everywhere. We get 5 cents for water, soda, juice, and beer products. We get 15 cents for the wine and liquor bottles (what a windfall that's been).

However, when going through some of the barrels one evening, I found some perfectly good stuff that was being discarded. Since then, I take it all and you would not believe the stuff I've found in them. Everything from money to jewelry to clothes to housewares and everything in between. It's mind boggling, really. We've also found 4 wallets to date and we've only been doing this about 2 years! It's like a treasure hunt everyday and you never know when you're going to find something useful, or better yet, really valuable.



ursusdave said...

Man o' day, yur the first dumpstah dive-ahs I know of up theyah in Maine. We have d-divers in my suburban Baltimore neighborhood who collect aluminum cans cause that's all we can get money for, but it is sold for the weight and only gets less than a penny a can. If Maryland had return deposit laws than this place would be some kinda cleaner, and I'd do real well each month taking stuff to the redemption center--for those that don't know, that's where they pay the 5 or 15 cents for the bottles and cans in states with deposit laws, not where you go to repent for your sins.

It's good that you already know how to save all that stuff from going to the landfill and help yourselves survive. As I always say, doing so is work and you earned every nickel of what you get, plus it looks like you find a lot to make your home nicer and more comfortable to live in. It is definitely, literally, an exciting treasure hunt.

But I gotta say that I hope if you find any wallets that were obviously chucked out by mistake that you contact the owners or maybe the cops, but if that would bring any heat on you then drop them in a mailbox. Dropping wallets or pocket books in a mailbox used to be what I was taught decades ago as a kid, I hope it is still the right thing to do. And hey, listen, ya never know, you may take a wallet back to it's owner, say where you found it, and they might give you some cash reward or say something like oh well I have some good stuff stored in my garage that I'm getting ready to take to a dumpster, you're welcome to go through it first.

I have stories about my times in Northern Maine published on Magic City News (look under D.R. Crews or the features column) and other stories and some great photos on my Northern Maine Adventures blog that is linked to this one; they are ancient history stories to you two, but they ain't gonna be what you'd expect--one don't give a clue to what the others are about.

There's a local antique shop what does mostly Internet business now but the guy who runs it and his dad started that business from dumpster diving goodies, so ya never know where this can lead for two young people. Keep reading them d-divin blogs and check out the dumpster divers' forums, you may find a tip or info that helps you out a lot. But you are pretty well pros already. Ayup! (just hadda throw that one in)

ursusdave said...

Well by jeeeeze ahm a dumb son of an oar (Northern Maine lingo type curse words) sometimes. I just reread your comments, Jim, and it looks like you are only hittin trash barrels at car washes, but it can all be considered dumpster diving I suppose, and now that you got a start go for the
big-green-magical-treasure-chests too.