Growing up trading trash


Chi from Chobits thrown out with trash

This is a response to: Silent swap meets and IT nostalgia.

I’d never before Ruben’s post today considered that the kerbside/curbside cleanups, or ‘Bulky Waste Collections’, that were a fairly large part of my childhood to be unique to Australia.

Well, you know the motto right?

One man's trash is another man's treasure

As Ruben mentions, often IT equipment is discarded, and those CRTs are only among the many discarded sofas and dining room chairs out there, along with mattresses and broken doors of all things. On such collection days, my father and I used to drive around the streets looking for things to collect. Sometimes they were computers or CRTs, sometimes they were speakers and sometimes they were tables or chairs.

Most of the computers from my childhood that I can remember were ones that my dad loaded into the car from one such occasion, or showed me proudly from the bottom of the stairs from another of such trips only to be admonished by my mother. He would strip out parts from them if they were mostly dead, or test to see if they were mostly functional and repair them. A couple of years later, these computers would be out on the street outside our house again, to be picked up by someone else a few hours later.

The fools.

Ahem, anyway. So if my family see anything, the motto is either to grab it immediately or give it up for lost. You can look out for it coming back, but don’t expect it to be there, because of these experiences. Leave a CRT TV out on the street and an hour later, someone’s cut the plug to it and rendered it (more?) worthless than it was.

My dad’s nice enough to usually leave a note on the item he’s throwing out explaining what problems it has though, but often most people don’t leaving you wondering in some cases why it was thrown out anyway. In some cases there’s nothing wrong, like in the case of Ruben’s new-old LCD screen, and sometimes it can be assumed that it was replaced with a newer model in the case of his new tower, which we found out was missing a certain crucial inside part.

Still, I love that out of all this supposed junk, people driving past can still find a few items of treasure to pick up. Nothing’s wasted, nothing’s lost. Most of the time.