Author Topic: Has anyone ever got caught groceries dumpster diving?  (Read 3207 times)

Coiny

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Has anyone ever got caught groceries dumpster diving?
« on: July 28, 2016, 08:27:41 AM »
Hi everyone, it's my first post here! Today is my first time dumpster diving. Has anyone ever got caught doing this, and what happened after?

I've been wanting to try this for years, but it seemed impossible because the only grocery stores in walking distance have giant metal boxes, too high to climb into.

Finally I realized there's a store close to my home, on a very busy street, that has black garbage bags.

Even with the police near by, somehow I found courage to grab some bags, making three trips home, but on the forth trip, an employee caught me feeling those bags.

He asked what I was doing. I mumbled an apology, and he said sternly, "this is not OK".

I shop there regularly and they know my face. I feel super embarrassed, awful and sad.

I'm frugal by necessity, not by choice (income: 10000-ish a year, self-employed) I'm not sure what to do or think now!
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 09:31:43 AM by Coiny »

sis

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Re: Has anyone ever got caught groceries dumpster diving?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2016, 08:48:40 AM »
At this income level could you qualify for SNAP?  Visit food banks? 

I just looked it up, and if you are in the United States you should be able to qualify for SNAP: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligibility
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 08:50:20 AM by sis »

Gimesalot

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Re: Has anyone ever got caught groceries dumpster diving?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2016, 09:11:59 AM »
In most cities and states, garbage is not considered private property and therefore, it isn't considered stealing if you take it.  HOWEVER, you can be charged for trespassing if you are on private property.  If I were you, I would seek out other assistance first, such as food bank or food stamps, and then supplement with this food if necessary. Try showing up a little later and everyone might be gone.

Just as a side note, any time you do something that goes against "normal" wisdom or attitudes, you will always get pushback and criticism, so just blow it off and keep going.   

Coiny

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Re: Has anyone ever got caught groceries dumpster diving?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2016, 09:29:31 AM »
Hi Sis, Thank you so much for your suggestion, I'm in Canada, hopefully my income may go up if I get my business to grow. I've just recently quit my job to be self employed.

Hi Gimesalot, Thank you so much! The garbage is just leaning against the side of the building, right at the edge of the sidewalk, but since he caught me and told me not to do it, does it makes me a trespasser? Too bad it's a 24 hour store. Not sure if I qualify for assistance, as my income is unpredictable as a freelancer, but if things get too bad I'll look into it.

Gimesalot

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Re: Has anyone ever got caught groceries dumpster diving?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2016, 09:40:54 AM »
Here is what I found about Canadian laws and dumpster diving on wikipedia:
"In Ontario, Canada, the Trespass to Property Act - legislation dating back to the British North America Act of 1867[28] - grants property owners and security guards the power to ban anyone from their premises, for any reason, permanently. This is done by issuing a notice to the intruder, who will only be breaking the law upon return.[29] Similar laws exist in Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan.[30][31] A recent case in Canada, which involved a police officer who retrieved a discarded weapon from a trash receptacle as evidence, created some controversy. The judge ruled the policeman's actions as legal although there was no warrant present, which led some to speculate the event as validation for any Canadian citizen to raid garbage disposals.[28]"

Just google dumpster diving illegal+[your city's name] to find out. 

On an semi-related side note, who the F*&k are these people that get mad about dumpster diving for food?  It just seems like a completely irrational response to me.

Coiny

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Re: Has anyone ever got caught groceries dumpster diving?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2016, 10:04:55 AM »
Gamesalot,:)  thank you for taking the time to research and post the Wikipedia info! I appreciate it!

It's possible that the staff was mad that I was reducing their business by not shopping inside, or assume I was messing up their garbage.

I wonder if I could get into a metal bin in a major grocery store, but it's higher than my head.

MVal

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Re: Has anyone ever got caught groceries dumpster diving?
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2016, 10:09:14 AM »
I've been dumpster diving for just a month or so with another local Mustachian and so far we've not had any troubles. The key thing is to go LATE at night, long after they are closed. We've mostly only gone to Aldis in the area because they don't use a compactor. Take a friend so one of you can climb inside (wear nasty shoes or put plastic bags on them and wear plastic gloves) and the other can load the crap in the car. Our other friends who have done this for about a year said occasionally they've gotten busted, but they don't give up. They usually just explain they're trying to recycle wasted food and then leave as quickly as possible, but go back a few days later. Don't give up!

Just leave the dumpster area nicer than you found it, as if you make a mess, it is considered littering and that is illegal, but taking the abandoned crap is not, at least not where we are.

Coiny

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Re: Has anyone ever got caught groceries dumpster diving?
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2016, 06:13:32 PM »
Hi MVal, Good for you, so excited to meet a fellow diver. It's to nice not to be judged here. Thanks for all the great tips. Did you friends get caught by employees and still go back? I hope you all continue to enjoy and get lots of stuff.

MVal

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Re: Has anyone ever got caught groceries dumpster diving?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2016, 08:35:48 AM »
Hi MVal, Good for you, so excited to meet a fellow diver. It's to nice not to be judged here. Thanks for all the great tips. Did you friends get caught by employees and still go back? I hope you all continue to enjoy and get lots of stuff.

Well, I think they were caught by employees, but there was never any mention of calling the cops by anyone, they were just asked to leave. I think one time it might have been a security guard. But I think if you have that response that you are trying to reduce waste and save the planet, they won't think you're shady and at worst will think you're a hippy weirdo. One time I know they had an encounter with a competing diver who was nice enough, but seemed to be trying to warn them about getting caught...maybe he was just trying to deter them from horning in on his territory.

They just keep going back. They say they've gotten braver each time and hardly have a grocery bill anymore.


teen persuasion

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Re: Has anyone ever got caught groceries dumpster diving?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2016, 10:08:11 AM »
Business owners don't look kindly on dumpster diving.  Years ago a fellow employee was fired for taking an item from the dumpster after hours.  Managers explained that since the employee was responsible for putting trash into the dumpster, it would be easy for him to stash something in the dumpster while working and retrieve it later.  They also told him that if he'd asked for permission to take the about-to-be-tossed item they would have granted it.

What about other ways to find free food/meals?  Any community events where food is provided?  A small church across the street from my employer has frequent community fellowship dinners, open to everyone for free.  Public meetings/programs often have refreshments.  Firehalls/etc. might host an open house with hotdogs or whatever. College campuses generally have tons of events with food.  Church coffee & donut socials.  My library sometimes provides pizza for certain group programs, and the Friends group have offered lunch to entice people to consider joining.  Volunteering just a bit could get you a meal that day, and perhaps leftovers to take home.

MVal

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Re: Has anyone ever got caught groceries dumpster diving?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2016, 01:13:14 PM »
Business owners don't look kindly on dumpster diving.  Years ago a fellow employee was fired for taking an item from the dumpster after hours.  Managers explained that since the employee was responsible for putting trash into the dumpster, it would be easy for him to stash something in the dumpster while working and retrieve it later.  They also told him that if he'd asked for permission to take the about-to-be-tossed item they would have granted it.

What about other ways to find free food/meals?  Any community events where food is provided?  A small church across the street from my employer has frequent community fellowship dinners, open to everyone for free.  Public meetings/programs often have refreshments.  Firehalls/etc. might host an open house with hotdogs or whatever. College campuses generally have tons of events with food.  Church coffee & donut socials.  My library sometimes provides pizza for certain group programs, and the Friends group have offered lunch to entice people to consider joining.  Volunteering just a bit could get you a meal that day, and perhaps leftovers to take home.

Well sure, that's why you do it after dark! ;) I can understand the reasons behind why a business wouldn't want people picking through their dumpsters, but the larger crime to me is the fact that 40% of food in the US is wasted--I mean, you would not believe what I'm seeing in these dumpsters...hundreds of pounds of perfectly good, sealed food that isn't even expired! I know the rules of commerce aren't always engineered around waste prevention, just profit protection, and I get businesses have to be focused on efficiency and not fretting over every wasted watermelon. But if the business has discarded an item, it should be public domain, just like when you put your trash on the curb. How am I any different than a wayward raccoon or possum climbing into that dumpster to make use of a resource no one wants?

This dumpster thing is a new deal to me, but before this I made use of all other great methods of scoring free chow you mentioned. My work place frequently has vendors bringing us food and I'm usually the only one making use of the leftovers, so that's given me countless free meals over the years. Being frugal can be so creative and really makes you think outside the box!

SimpleGuy

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Re: Has anyone ever got caught groceries dumpster diving?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2016, 06:33:00 PM »
I don't have experience with dumpster diving but here's a good post about it with lots of sources at the end: http://robgreenfield.tv/dumpsterdiving/