Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dumpster Drama

I should start by mentioning that this area just got named one of the best places for raising a family by the delusional folks at Forbes .  I would love to know where they got their stats from, as that place does not really match up with the experience of living here.  The alternative being that the rest of the country is way more screwed up than I ever gave it credit for being.

Now, on to the dumpster drama, which speaks to the economy here in a totally different light than Forbes.

A huge dumpster was dropped off in the parking lot outside of my workplace the other day.  An office upstairs was going to be cleaning out and remodeling over the weekend.  Apparently "over the weekend" meant starting today, because why would we want Friday the 13th to go by without anything weird happening?

I don't know if I missed a memo or what, but judging by the actions of our patrons there must have been some sort of organized treasure hunt announced, and it was taking place in that dumpster.   People could not seem to help themselves -- the allure of the dumpster was that strong.

I work the late shift on Friday, but apparently earlier in the morning a patron had pulled out a chair and a lamp and had set himself up a living room.  Nothing like making your home in the parking lot.

When I arrived at noon there were several people circling it like vultures.  One woman, who will be known as Flower Pants from this point on, was hanging over the edge of the dumpster looking for prizes.  She had a van stuffed full of crap pulled up next to the dumpster, and had already hauled out at totally 1970s office desk and chair, as well as a mini-fridge.  Apparently putting it near her van staked her claim on it.

Another patron, whom I had consider to be totally sane and normal until this point , had found a roll of purple wrapping paper and was using it as some sort of magic wand to stir the dumpster contents around.

We had patrons come in to work and tell us that the People of the Dumpster were fighting with each other over the contents.  Another patron reported that a man had cut his hand open on the dumpster.  I can't be positive that it was the same guy, but I did have a man come in asking if we had a first aid kit because he needed some bandages.

When I left on my break, about 4 hours later, Flower Pants was still there.  At that point she was joined by a white chick and her scary looking boyfriend.  I overhead part of their conversation, and the white chick seemed to think she was supposed to pay someone for the stuff they were taking.

I came back from break, and Flower Pants was still there.  I don't know what she thought she was going to find that she hadn't found in the previous 4 hours of searching, but whatever.

A coworker left to go buy his dinner, and returned to tell me that one of our younger patrons had joined in the  dumpster diving fiesta.  He eventually got the boy to get out of the dumpster by threatening to call his parents.

Later in the evening we heard a lot of loud, banging sounds that sounded like they were coming from the storage area behind our workroom.  I really thought we were going to have a dumpster riot on our hands.  The noise was so loud that I was sure they had broken into the storage room and had progressed to looting.  There are 2 storage areas off of our work room, and the doors are rarely opened or used.  We slowly made our way through to see what was happening, only to discover that a mean looking guy with a neck tattoo had somehow managed to open the end of the dumpster closest to the building.

Flower Pants and a couple of kids were still there when we closed for the night.  She had been there at least 8 hours.  She told us the "Italian guy" who had opened the dumpster had said he would be back.  I have no idea who she is talking about.   There was a piece of furniture -- either an over-sized chair or a loveseat -- that appeared to be levitating in the dumpster.  It was too big to be sitting on the edge, but it was definitely up in the air somehow.  Stuff was spilling out of the dumpster all over the ground.  I'm sure it will look lovely by the morning.

I never went to get a close look of what was in the dumpster.  Either the office that was remodeling had the most bizarre assortment of furnishings, or other people had been sneaking stuff into the dumpster as well.  In the brief amount of time I spent outside today, I saw people remove from that dumpster:

--a chair
--a 1970s desk
--a lamp
--some sort of peacock, sparkly wall art
--wrapping paper
--a mini-fridge
--a piece of dirty beige carpeting
--cardboard boxes
--another chair

*UPDATE*: The little boy found stuffed animals and a huge stack of party hats.

Unless dumpster diving has become some sort of new sport and I have missed its announcement, I'm going to take the massive amount of activity surrounding the dumpster as a sign that people are not doing well here.  The economy cannot be that great when swarms of people are shopping in dumpsters.

So I take issue with the people at Forbes magazine.  Life can't be too peachy when kids are helping their mom pull things out of dumpsters. 

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