What My World's Like

Dumpster Diving

Feb
04


I assure you that this is not what I did or ever will do.

Time waits for no one…every moment counts. Make it matter, right?

Yeah, I know. I need to keep all of this in mind. The blog entry you’re about to read was supposed to be written several weeks ago, but it was late…then, I was getting up early…and it happened all over again.

No more excuses.

So…dumpster diving. Considering the response I’ve received when I tell people this story, I might want to start with a definition of dumpster diving. A more accurate designation for the concept is called “urban foraging,” a tactic commonly used by freegans and homeless everywhere.

According to Freegan.info, “this technique involves rummaging through the garbage of retailers, residences, offices, and other facilities for useful goods. Despite our society’s sterotypes about garbage, the goods recovered by freegans are safe, useable, clean, and in perfect or near-perfect condition, a symptom of a throwaway culture that encourages us to constantly replace our older goods with newer ones, and where retailers plan high-volume product disposal as part of their economic model.”

One Friday evening, me and my companion VISTAs were enjoying frozen treats at Amy’s Ice Cream when Tina suggested we find a Panera and try dumpster diving. I was all in. Paul was hesitant, but more than willing to observe. We drove around in a circle for ten minutes before we finally found the Panera and started sleuthing around to find their dumpsters. We found a few different sets of dumpsters that, naturally, smelled atrocious and effectively killed the idea of eating, should we actually find anything.

Ready to give up, I suggested we ask where the dumpsters are, already expecting the answer to be no. We decided that Tina, being white, would ask…even if she couldn’t keep a straight face. While we were clean and well-groomed, I’m black, Paul’s Filipino, and we didn’t want to be negatively stereotyped.

We approach the set of front doors, now being wiped down by an employee since it’s past 10 and they’re closed. We motion for her to open the door. She tells us they’re closed. We persist, so she comes to the door. Tina, in her best efforts to be serious, blankly asks, “Yes, we’re wondering where your dumpsters are.” The lady doesn’t speak English very well, so Tina starts speaking in Spanish.

“This is even better!” I tell Paul.
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