American Garbage Pickers

About two years ago I noticed a number of local businesses closing up shop; after the banking crisis set in.

Since then most of those businesses have remained closed – a few new outfits tried, but failed, even those that moved to the more high traffic areas didn’t survive.

Interesting to note, none of the bars have closed.

This particular side of town is pretty posh – very nice, well built, old homes surrounding a university and a very large new hospital.

A few weeks ago Goodwill moved into the neighborhood – clearly unheard of for this part of town  – and I was told it has become one of the busiest stores in the area.

I went in the other day to have a look see and what I saw was a lot of junk.

Now I know thrifts store generally have a lot of junk, the bigger they are the more junk they have, but this was used, Chinese-made junk –  it was the junk of junk, and to my surprise the prices were quite high for second-hand goods: clothes in very sad shape, items you’d expect to pay no more than 25 cents to a dollar at most in a thrift store or at a garage sale, cost $5.00! Kitchen products that were broken were selling for more than their original price; and this is all USED stuff. Products that were new; but someone opened the box, were selling for the prices on the box, not even the sale price which is probably how it was originally purchased.

It’s been a while since I shopped. Gave this up a few years ago when I realized I didn’t need most of what I bought and noticed the quality of the products in the box stores was declining.

Now, I want to take into consideration that this is a well-to-do area, therefore the management probably feels people will pay more for the donated items, but there is a Wal-Mart and a Dollar type store not too far away, so I don’t know what management is thinking, much less filling a store with a lot of rubbish, stuff I would be too embarrassed to donate.

Yet, the place was packed and people were picking through the garbage.

There’s plenty that can be said about all this; quality vs. quantity, addiction to shopping; even when you’re broke, the illusion of a bargain.

I mentioned the store’s opening to a neighbor – he’s a bit of a anarchist; doesn’t drive, rides a bike everywhere, an artist, you know the type, and he said, “I hope it prospers and puts the big stores out of business.”

A fine sentiment and I understand his reasoning, but at what cost?

China has flooded the US market with so much poor-quality junk –  products that do not last and will no doubt become a landfill burden in the not-too-distant future after the American People can no longer duct tape them to hold their shape.  What then will the American Consumer do when they can no longer afford to replace even the junk of junk?


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