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. 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.