Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Hound dog, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    My neighborhood is pretty ok. Not upper middle class or anything, but not bad either. We do have a "poorer" area about a block from me, one that commonly houses addicts. Not all of them are by any means, just a large percent.

    It's not uncommon for me to have neighbors stop occasionally and ask for something I have out in the trash. And I have the couple that stops by to see if I have any recyclable metals they can use. No issue with either. It's in my trash for a reason and if you want it great, if you want to go through the trouble of recycling great.

    What I'm hmmm about is this is a MUCH more common thing than it ever has been, and they're stopping for stuff that is clearly trash and worthy of the dump. For instance, I tossed out Molly's old recliner. (yes, my dog had her own recliner lol ) Now it was 2nd hand and sort of broken when easy child bought it for me several years back. It had worn fabric when I put it out for the trash and it reeked of dog. Yet I had a guy stop by everyday for a week (even after it got soaked in the rain) trying to decide if he wanted it. He'd stand there for 20 mins or so trying it out and such. Either he took it or the trash guy did, dunno. I woke up one morning and it was gone.

    With all this cleaning I have some rather unusual items in my trash. I've made my metal recyclers very happy.....I don't begrudge them, they're desperate for the money and are neither alcoholics nor drug users just low IQs and down on their luck thanks to our high unemployment rate and no real factories in the area hiring. I have people stopping often to ask if they can have this or that. (we're very polite about our dumpster diving around here lol )

    So I've got this one older dude stopping by often on his way to pick up the liquor of his choice. Nice man, polite, just has a problem. The recyclers removed and took the steel mechanism of the pull out hide away couch that is outside. They set the mattress aside when they did it, neatly I might add. Well this man keeps asking for the mattress. I told him he could have it. Actually I've told him at least 4-6 times now that he can have it, even though it's been rained on and the cats have been sleeping on it. I wouldn't sleep on it, but if he's desperate enough for something somewhat soft to sleep on, more power to him.

    The other night he knocked on the door again to ask about the mattress. (Travis had put the trash out) I think he was nervous we were going to add it to the trash. Travis kept staring at him like a deer in the headlights until I recognized his voice and came to the door. I told Travis I'd already said he could have it. He explained he still wanted it, but he's waiting on his friend with a truck to help him get it home. Then he ask about a few other items.....and I told him anything in my trash area is up for grabs and he's welcome to it. Less I have to get rid of and Travis has to haul to the curb.

    Makes me sad to see people, many of whom I know from around the neighborhood (not friends but you see them walking everyday and say hi you sort of "know" them) watching trash like it's a potential goldmine. I have nothing against "dumpster diving or trash picking" I've done more than my fair share over the years and still will if someone is tossing something good I'd like to have. But this is on a whole different larger scale than I've seen before......and instead of a "oh cool that would be neat to have" attitude it's a oh my god I have something to sit on, sleep on, eat off of ect attitude. I guess a level of desperation that wasn't there before. I'm seeing it with our local freecycle as well.

    More people are walking these days and not for their health, all ages, often entire families walking together. We have people standing on street corners holding signs asking for work or could someone spare a dollar to help put toward a house payment or rent...... Now we're a small town, you don't normally see such things in a small town.

    We have someone on our towns fb group page for "classifieds" who is doing her own food / gifts for the holidays to help supplement county shelter efforts ect. We have one of the food store chains that brings in a food pantry truck because our food pantry is always empty.

    Ya know, I'm pretty darn poor. And now my assets are frozen. But I'm going to be cleaning my pantry and checking expiration dates and anything I don't think Travis and I can eat fast enough I'm going to give to either the food pantry or this lady who is also collecting. I know many people think.....well, they can get food stamps......but honestly if you're getting unemployment it's not hard to NOT qualify for food stamps or to qualify for so little that it's not a help. Which is why I started on couponing in the first place. And the bad part about no food stamps is they're trying to make what little money they have coming in to stretch for rent/house payments, utilities, ect. And our utilities just jumped up again. omg

    It's not just our small town, it is the whole area. :sigh:

    Not trying to be depressing. But I was wondering what other people are seeing in their areas since we're fairly well scattered around the country. I know it's probably easier to see the effects in a smaller more rural area.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Lisa...I dont see that here because most people dont put out furniture here. They take it straight to the dump or give it to a charity. Or sell it. Now when I lived up in Greensboro NC, that was a dumpster diver, street pickers dream. They had a day every week when people could put out furniture they wanted to get rid of and everyone knew what day that was. You would see lots of lower income folks trying to beat the trash I got quite a bit of furniture that way back then. Nice stuff too in the upper income areas but its long gone now. Got a really nice recliner that vibrated and the only thing wrong with it was someone had burned a hole in the seat. We took it home with us because we really wanted a recliner. We didnt think it would work but wow, it did! We just stuck a pillow in the hole and threw a blanket over the recliner and loved that chair. Sadly we left it behind in the trash when we moved...lmao.
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    The kids have asked me to help them can chicken and deer this winter. And easy child 1 will be deer hunting more for meat this year than sport.

    The folks who sold "farm fresh eggs" for the past few years have had an increase in business because their "farm fresh" prices are right in line with the grocery store prices now.

    Bartering...I am trading hunting land and sewing services for PT. When I go to the Amish, I pick up items at the bulk store for the PTs. And I've seen a lot more bartering with other folks, too.

    And borrowing things. Five years ago, folks who had a baby shower would go buy a cheap punch bowl from the party place for $10. Now, they are scouring the neighborhood to borrow one someone already owns.

    And not making trips to town, or making "community" trips. Had a neighnor who needed a salt block for his stock but didn't need to go to town for anything else, so called and asked if we had one he could "borrow" til he went to town. We had one we hadn't put out yet, so he took it and will buy us one when he goes to town to replace it. And our group of "horse people" do it. We all use horse shoers in the same area about 40 miles north of here, so when someone goes up, they call (or email) and check if anyone needs an appointment or a horse to go up. Same for trips to the bigger city - you call the neighbors and see if they need anything, or if they happen to be going.

    I don't live in town, but these are things I have noticed.
  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Oh, and repairing and driving older cars instead of buying new....
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    As in... its getting really hard to find good, older cars with low mileage... people are either hanging on to them, handing off to people they know, OR its gone within hours of being posted.

    Used to be... there were lots available, and you could do your research. Now, blink and its GONE.

    Who was asking about a career change? Go into autobody... when times are good, people who can't afford new cars want theirs to look good; when times are bad, nobody's buying new, so there's more requests for repairs and repaints...
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Nichole spotted the old cars with low mileage issue when she was considering selling the jeep. Good for selling the jeep, she had more offers than she could imagine, not good for trying to find something to replace it with. So she's hung on to the jeep.

    I do watch the walkers in town. If it's someone I know and they're headed in the direction I'm going, I've decided I will stop and give them a ride. Winter is coming.

    And I didn't think much of it until you mentioned it Shari but I do see more people shopping in groups, so they may be riding into town together for shopping trips and sharing the cost of the trip. And I know a LOT of people using this hunting season for an actual food supply this season instead of mainly for sport. We have a lot of people selling their "clutter" or valuables on our towns fb classified too as well as their skills.

    I know many people in this area had their unemployment benefits run out in sept. That had to hurt in a huge way.
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Well, of course!

    You remember "Cash for Clunkers" - right? Every one of those older cars was crushed in an attempt to 'spur' automotive sales...

    Great program if you could afford a new car.

    Terrible for those who look to buy used.
  8. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Where we're located, we don't see as much, but it's still there.

    I've taken to giving more to Goodwill than I have in the past - they do help local people out. And I'm seriously considering cleaning out the cabinets, and taking any non-perishables to the food bank. (My problem is, I don't know where one is. But I will find out, I'm good at stuff like that.)

    Years ago, I got my sofa, end table, dining table and chairs from stuff set out by the curb by someone. I sure couldn't afford them at the time. Now, you rarely see anything like this.

    We've had pickers go through our garbage. Good luck to them; most of it's actual garbage. husband keeps metal to recycle. We've also had the same pickers dump a bunch of stuff in our yard... Again, actual garbage. I was TICKED. (I heard them drive into the yard, I was in bed, by the time I got husband we only got part of the license plate # - but - the truck belonged to a tree service. Bet someone got their rear end chewed!)

    Mostly, though, our neighborhood is a little isolated (2 streets, busy streets on 2 sides, freeway behind on the 3rd (kind of triangular). The people next door are "Section 8", the ones across the street quite well off (and snotty too)... It's not conducive to pickers.
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    speaking of Goodwill, I shop there a lot, and there's a lot less good stuff to choose from there. It takes a lot more trips to find things. Particularly clothes for Wee. I used to be able to buy him nearly new tshirts, etc, there, and now what's there is often pretty worn.

    Our local dollar store is where I've bought his pants most of the time, and the selection there is drained quicker, as well.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Goodwill here has had so much trouble with being heaped on with "junk" that they have closed out the furniture section completely. They just couldn't get enough "half-decent" stuff to sell, and it costs too much to deal with the unsaleable stuff.

    Boys stuff at 7... is a different problem. Ya see... most boys at 7, take the knees out on their pants with surprising regularity. Had major problems getting pants until about age 12... and then, due to growth spurts, additional major problems until he got big enough to be into mens sizing. (now I actually have to measure the inseams to tell if its DS's or husband's pants!!!)
  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Shari... what size does Wee wear?

    I have a friend with multiple kids... We give them Jett's outgrown clothes... They might have something I can send to you!

    Elastic, right?
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    After learning about goodwill from Star, I dont much want to donate to them anymore. I guess its a good thing we dont have one in my town so that isnt a real issue for me.

    She told me that most of the better stuff that they get in from donations is actually shipped overseas (clothing) and the junk is put out for local people. That makes me mad. That is not what most people intend when they donate to goodwill. They are wanting to help their neighbors.
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hmm, around here I've seen the stuff I donated at different Goodwills in the area. It's always fun to see something you like and realize... OH.
  14. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Things were really rough here for quite a while. This is such a small town and the one automotive parts factory where half the town worked closed down and sent all those good jobs to Mexico. For a while there, our unemployment rate was one of the highest in the whole country! We have a little weekly county paper that lists all the cases that were held in General Sessions court the previous week and a very good economic indicator is how many people they have charged with writing bad checks! The worse things get, the more bad check cases there are! Things are looking up now though. With some government help, our downtown area has been spiffed up and several new businesses have opened. And a new company is re-opening the factory that was closed down and will provide several hundred new jobs.

    This is such a small place with very few resources. They did have the Angel Food Ministries but not any more and there are no food banks that I know of. What help is available is usually through the churches who have opened centers to distribute donated clothing and shoes to those that need them.
  15. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    yup - Thursday is "picker" night. We've taken to separating stuff so they don't have to go through all of ours.

    The only time we were pretty strong about what they were taking was when we put the aluminum windows from the sun room out (we completely redid it). We didn't want someone breaking the glass and only taking the aluminum. We put out one window and watched for someone to stop. When they did, we told them we had another 15 windows out back, and they were welcome to them all, but they had to take them as is, with the glass in them. We even helped load the truck.

    Since we have curb side recycling, it's illegal to go through the recycling bins for cans, etc. But anything else is fair game. It often seems to me that the guys driving the trucks would spend more on gas than what they are picking up.
  16. keista

    keista New Member

    Metal recyclers have always been popular around here. We have "easy" bulky rubbish pick up - just put it out and every 10 days or so they come and collect, so it's a 'dumpster diver's' dream! Last year or two? WOW! Seems like things disappear within a half hour of getting put out.

    The other horrible sad thing that is linked to the economic downturn is and increase in murders in the last two years. Not street murders, but within families. Usually over - money, even just a few bucks. :sigh:
  17. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    When I'm at school, I see the obvious hand-me-down clothes (you know, the ones that are way too big), more kids eating hot lunch, more sweatshirts and hoodies instead of coats and jackets (or none at all)...fortunately, we don't have the snow and bitter cold of other areas, but it's chilly enough for a sweatshirt in the mornings already.
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The upside to THIS trend is that it easier for some of our kids who have sensory and other problems... K1 has always worn "too big" (like, he actually now fits into a shirt he started wearing in grade 2 or 3....) - its just way easier for dressing quickly. NOW... he doesn't stand out like a sore thumb... between fashion and necessity, its far more common.
  19. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    So far our Goodwill is really good about using the stuff donated locally. I think they'd have a riot on their hands if they didn't.........especially given the town it's located in. I was drooling over some particularly gorgeous prints in the most lovely frames that even had the fancy easels for displaying them. I'm assuming they were prints but they might have been the actual paintings. I was afraid to get to close for fear I would snatch them up and I've no place to put them. We get nice furniture too, but that depends on when they get it in.

    And their business is booming to say the least. In dayton I rarely stood in line at Goodwill. At ours you can expect to stand in line at least 15 mins or more any time you go in and that is with 2 registers open.

    I just discovered Save a Lot takes coupons. (I'm in heaven) I don't like lots of their stuff but others are great and they often have name brands pretty darn cheap......add a coupon in and oh yeah! We're supposed to be getting a sack n save too and they take coupons. Never been to one......dunno how good that would be.

    And our Dollar Tree is hiring. I'm surprised they haven't been flooded with people looking for work. I'm not griping. I plan to turn in my application and hope they'll hire me for weekends. lol