Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Drive By's

Today, I want to share the most efficient technique I have in my arsenal. Believe it or not, it only requires patience , persistence and a a little far sightedness. Ha!

Before I go any furhter, this can also be done scaled down or up. Down to Bicycle or walking or up to cube van. On foot you could bring a bundle buggy. On a bike, a basket or trailer would up the stakes. A cube van...................???????...........you must have free storage somehow. I have seen many approachs. I prefer a regular car or van and choice pickings that work with my future plans as a musician. Don't let greed ruin it (or kill you with overhead!).

If you are fortunate to have a vehicle or can get someone to drive or share one, the most effective way to accumulate free stuff on a mass level is to pass (drive by) where there is no garbage bin at giant commercial/industrial "estates" or "parks". Yes that is right; "hit them where they're not".

You must, however;choose to drive by a building that you have deducted or feel should have a bin or compactor, but does not. All on the possibility it may take years for a huge find. An ideal place would be a very large company that manufactures and has large square footage. Or one that only rolls out a small bin for pick up during the day and only when a garbage truck is there. Be observant of everday routine. Either way, any large operation that bottle necks it's refuse (or shall we say, creates an unnatural blockage or constipation), will eventually clear itself. That comes in the form of large clean ups, write downs or periodic purges where 20 0r 40 yard bins are used. At this time, the volume could be so high as to require the quite a large storage solution. This might come in the form of a self storage unit, friends garages , under tarps , out buildings in rural areas or an immediate consignment relationship where you can dump the stuff and get someone to store it as they are selling it (the best).

How can this work. I fit as many of these in as I can, on my run/trap line. I just blend them into my regular pattern of looking and expect nothing and wait. These drive by designated spots require only a quick but disciplined visual inspection, possibly only the need to turn your head one way or the other. Day in and day out. You will have to dedicate yourself to never forgetting to check that empty space at the building where you think a dumpster should be. Sooner or later you will look up and behold; a behemoth of a bin with anything from desks, chairs , stationary, tools, manufactured products, pallet damaged inventory, bags of ground coffee, company promotional items, the contents of employees desks who have been terminated and many more cool things.

Now think about it. All you may have done between the dumpsters you were checking anyway was to peer one direction or the other daily for 260 days a year. After, say, 5 years times 5 seconds per day you will have spent 108 minutes to find lord knows what. All by working with mathematical odds and never lifting a finger. You may consider that you invested nothing except your attention, as you were "driving by anyway". Beware of distraction - loud radios, your favorite mixed tape or radio talk shows that get your goat. You might slip up and forget to look. The math makes this work only when you linearly do it day after day (if you are sick and it is possible - get someone else to look or ask atmosphere people what they saw yesterday). Now ask yourself, if you build your own little run - how many of these can you fit in. Think about it.

Another consideration is short tern drive by's. They are large buildings that are up for rent with large commercial real estate signs on them. When they move or go bankrupt or whatever; there will be a bin or bins of some sort. This is usually a much more known commodity to liquidators or ex employees, local kids, etc. and is going to be sifted by others. Be prepared for diplomacy or worse (I will cover this in another Post). Have you ever heard of "reconcile your fellow dumpster divers or try to prevent being annihilated"? Yes , there have been turf wars for garbage. Always best to walk away if possible. Human nature will always provide another garbage bin somewhere else.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

OOhhh.......It's too cold to go out.

Tonight I think the time is right to cover weather. In one week, I have went through a snow storm, sustained rain, a muddy thaw and then a freeze up with high winds and dangerous black ice overnight - from the thaw. Ice is especially bad on steel bin walls where a fall could be lethal or there may be no one to help for hours or days if you are seriously injured. You have to be your own safety rep. or you will destroy the most precious tool you have.

When you are outside you need to be monitoring the weather channel, news , etc.. All the time. Don't laugh. There is a two fold reason.

You obviously need to know when bad weather is rolling in so that (if possible) you avoid the obvious pitfalls by getting out before the storm or just after. Often it is just a waste of time to be there when it is miserable and will really slow you down (especially traffic slowdowns - not just getting soaked, blown over or stuck in snow). But, you need to be there!! On a continuous roll, returning to the bin again and again, if you miss one day, it could be the day something was there. You will never know. But you need to know on a daily basis.

If you can't make the effort in bad weather, why even try to be efficient when you have just cut your odds of getting value for your effort. It is the consistency that builds a mild form of security in this field of operation.

The second reason is that better and more stuff is usually thrown out when the weather is bad. I know this from first hand experience. I believe that many people could not be bothered, at this time, to damage items when they toss them out. When they are faced with exposing themselves to bad weather, most of the employees that do the garbage are not going to freeze or soak themselves as readily for minimum wage or low pay. They are usually the employees on the lower end of the pay scale (I am sure marketing managers do not put out the trash). In other words, they open the back door, feel -20 degrees and the wind whipping down their neck; then throw the stuff out as fast as they can and slam the door shut. Also, if you are in a climate like the one I hunt in (cold snowy winters), you have the added benefit during a snow storm of having a soft landing for the stuff about 3-5 months of the year. Perhaps people make no effort to destroy anything, as they believe "no one" is crazy enough to be there in that weather to get this garbage! The bottom line is that you need to prepare yourself for increased activity by getting out early and making space, not just wearing good warm weather proof clothing. The math is on your side. Bad weather=more garbage finds=more of whatever you want; be it money, supplies, items to tinker with or donate to your favorite causes, etc., etc..

Count on getting more stuff during bad weather. Be ready and clothed appropriately. Nobody has to be anymore uncomfortable than their planning will allow. Turn on the radio or TV weather channel and make mental notes daily; then reap the benefits.