That is the challenge and the payoff and the thrill: the never knowing, then the waiting, then the finding out. Can you handle uncertainty?
This is the magic, the apotheosis, of the random. In a paved world, modern scavengers reclaim discovery. Adventure. Self-reliance. Self-sufficiency.
The modern scavenger reclaims the quest.
Some scavenge for fun. Some scavenge to save. Money. The world. Their souls. While consumers around us drown in debt, we liberate ourselves with every cent we save while liberating would-be trash. We know the difference between brand-new, full-price products and their dented, scavenged counterparts is —
Some scavenge to recycle. Repurpose. Reduce. Reuse.
Some scavenge to revolt.
Some scavenge to survive.
Some scavenge for the sake of spontaneity. That is another primal ecstasy that consumer culture has quashed. Consumer culture wants consumers to imagine themselves free and democratic, decisive and bold. Consumer culture teaches that choosing the color of your phone is creativity. Up to a point, it is. A tiny calculated creativity comprising elements designed and sold by corporations. Control disguised as creativity. A short-leashed independence based on your ability and willingness to buy. But what is missing from this picture?
It's funny: Consumers think they're free.
Why is AlterNet so insistent that I start going through trash bins? This is seriously the third of fourth "you should really start dumpster diving" article I've seen on there recently.
I'm not saying you shouldn't do anything to try to conserve resources and be less of a wasteful American consumer.
But if we're going to solve the considerable environmental, economic and social problems we're facing as regards excess consumption and waste, we need PRACTICAL solutions. Not encouraging more Americans to forage for scraps in the trash. I'm betting most of them are like me, and prefer to spend their weekends NOT exhausted and running from security guards whilst coated in refuse. Thanks all the same.