Author Topic: Dumpster Diving for Groceries  (Read 60902 times)

Davnasty

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #150 on: September 18, 2019, 02:24:24 PM »
I have been dumpstering for almost a decade now, primarily for groceries and can add my two cents. It is a super fun 'hobby' for those of us privileged enough to do it by choice. It is similar to going to yard sales. Often you find nothing good, but when you do, it's like finding treasure in a trashpile... or I guess it IS finding treasure in a trash pile. It often shows up in abundance beyond the useful. Five crates of bananas can be hard on the digestive system.

Can relate to the banana find, in fact I think it was exactly 5 cases we came across. I only took 1 and still had no idea what to do with 40+ lbs of bananas. A chest freezer would pair well with dumpster diving.

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My recommendation is to get used to feeding your friends, family and neighbors, freeze or preserve what you can and get some animals that can be fed the rest (chickens, pigs etc...). When actually dumpstering, be courteous and responsible, the biggest concerns of grocery stores are likely 1)liability from someone eating spoiled food (sidenote: I have eaten thousands of lbs of food from the garbage and never been made sick by it. Just avoid the stuff that's overly spoiled and wash your produce) 2)someone making a mess 3)liability from someone being hurt while climbing in a dumpster 4)confusion about what your doing, I often have people tell me that I can not dump stuff in their garbage. When I explain that I'm looking for food to feed my animals, they either ask me not to or offer more bounty for my trunk.

"Food for my animals" is probably the easiest explanation and least likely to make someone think you're crazy. Luckily I haven't had to use it as I've never been questioned or even seen (by employees, customers have definitely given some confused looks) as far as I know. I only dive at one location and the employees are probably too busy to notice.

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Last comment, get it while you can. Dumpstering is being killed by trash compactors. I work for a company that designs supermarkets and these puppies are being added where-ever possible. Make hay while the sun shines everyone and have fun!

What is the driving reason for using compactors?

It's a shame that compactors make it more difficult to save the food but maybe the improved efficiency of hauling compacted trash is an environmental win?

meatgrinder

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #151 on: September 24, 2019, 01:36:35 PM »
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economista

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #152 on: September 24, 2019, 03:03:34 PM »
I just found this thread and I am a bit torn on the idea. Growing up my mom would dumpster dive a lot. The local bookstore would throw out their clearance books that didnít sell, but they would tear off the covers first. So I had a lot of books without covers on them. That was mainly where she did it, but also at the local college after move-out started. SO MUCH just thrown away instead of taken home at the end of the semester. It would always embarrass me though if she would talk about it around my friends.

I was thinking about the idea of DDing for food and I think the ethical ramifications depend on where you live. I live in a city with a very large homeless population  and pretty much any time of the day and night you can see homeless people going through dumpsters and even peopleís trash cans outside their homes. If I found a dumpster behind a grocery store that had good food in it, I would feel really bad taking that food for myself when there are so many homeless people around who canít buy their own food. That being said, Iíve never looked to see if the dumpsters are locked or not - given the way the business community tends to treat the homeless around here, I would assume they are all locked/compacted anyway to discourage homeless from hanging around the store.

iris lily

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #153 on: September 26, 2019, 09:59:55 AM »
I just found this thread and I am a bit torn on the idea. Growing up my mom would dumpster dive a lot. The local bookstore would throw out their clearance books that didnít sell, but they would tear off the covers first. So I had a lot of books without covers on them. That was mainly where she did it, but also at the local college after move-out started. SO MUCH just thrown away instead of taken home at the end of the semester. It would always embarrass me though if she would talk about it around my friends.

I was thinking about the idea of DDing for food and I think the ethical ramifications depend on where you live. I live in a city with a very large homeless population  and pretty much any time of the day and night you can see homeless people going through dumpsters and even peopleís trash cans outside their homes. If I found a dumpster behind a grocery store that had good food in it, I would feel really bad taking that food for myself when there are so many homeless peopleIíve never looked to see if the dumpsters are locked or not - given the way the business community tends to treat the homeless around here, I would assume they are all locked/compacted anyway to discourage homeless from hanging around the store.

Why are dumpsters locked, any idea? Of course, you admitted you dont know if they ARE locked.

You do know that ďthe business communityĒ treats the homeless badly. Examples?

You wouldnt dive for food to take it out of the mouths of homeless people.

This post seems like a lot of virtue signaling.

Signed,
Irisó, longtime dumpster diver in an urban downtown area. Have never seen homeless dive let alone for food. Have seen and picked up perfectly good food distributed to homeless in food giveaway programs, food that the homeless then strew about the area and create unsightly trashed places.

Frankly, many who dive here drive around in old trucks picking up metal and useful stuff. They are entrepreneurs. Pickers are an important  part of the recycling stream.


mm1970

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #154 on: September 26, 2019, 04:48:43 PM »
I just found this thread and I am a bit torn on the idea. Growing up my mom would dumpster dive a lot. The local bookstore would throw out their clearance books that didnít sell, but they would tear off the covers first. So I had a lot of books without covers on them. That was mainly where she did it, but also at the local college after move-out started. SO MUCH just thrown away instead of taken home at the end of the semester. It would always embarrass me though if she would talk about it around my friends.

I was thinking about the idea of DDing for food and I think the ethical ramifications depend on where you live. I live in a city with a very large homeless population  and pretty much any time of the day and night you can see homeless people going through dumpsters and even peopleís trash cans outside their homes. If I found a dumpster behind a grocery store that had good food in it, I would feel really bad taking that food for myself when there are so many homeless peopleIíve never looked to see if the dumpsters are locked or not - given the way the business community tends to treat the homeless around here, I would assume they are all locked/compacted anyway to discourage homeless from hanging around the store.

Why are dumpsters locked, any idea? Of course, you admitted you dont know if they ARE locked.

You do know that ďthe business communityĒ treats the homeless badly. Examples?

You wouldnt dive for food to take it out of the mouths of homeless people.

This post seems like a lot of virtue signaling.

Signed,
Irisó, longtime dumpster diver in an urban downtown area. Have never seen homeless dive let alone for food. Have seen and picked up perfectly good food distributed to homeless in food giveaway programs, food that the homeless then strew about the area and create unsightly trashed places.

Frankly, many who dive here drive around in old trucks picking up metal and useful stuff. They are entrepreneurs. Pickers are an important  part of the recycling stream.
I cannot speak for economista - I'm sure it's very location dependent.

"Business community" being hostile to homeless folks can include using security guards to drive them away, calling the police on them, posting signs at the parking lots to discourage people from donating.  I see all of these things in my town.  (To be honest, we have a lot of services for the homeless here, so it's a blessing and a curse).

I have rarely seen homeless people HERE looking for food in dumpsters, but the majority of our local grocery stores currently donate their extra food/ almost expired food/ etc. to the homeless shelter and other local charities.  (Some of them used to sell it at a deep discount - I enjoyed those deep discounts!  They don't anymore.)

I would have no problem "taking food from a possible homeless person" from a dumpster (at work after parties or work lunches, everyone knows I'll take leftovers!) because of my own personal experiences and observations.  I can't speak for anyone else's - rather than assuming it's virtue signaling, you could actually assume that her opinion is based on her own observations and experiences.

economista

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #155 on: September 26, 2019, 06:02:03 PM »
@iris lily - I wasnít intending to attack anyone, I was just pointing out what Iíve seen and the thoughts that this discussion sparked in my head. I was simply pointing out a different point of view, which I hadnít seen mentioned yet. In regards to businesses being anti-homeless, there are a lot of things they do to try and discourage homeless people from loitering near them, some of which were pointed out by mm1970. They also install benches that are on a slope so its uncomfortable to sit on them for long and flat surfaces have spikes installed so you canít sit at all. There has also been a concerted effort in my area to pass legislation that makes it illegal to be homeless. I have a few friends who work with the local homeless population and some of the stories they tell are heartbreaking.

I have also seen lots of homeless people digging through dumpsters. There are a few alleys I use on my regular routes to avoid stoplights and any time of the day I see homeless people going through the trash cans and dumpsters that are in those alleys. I was actually surprised the other night - now that it is getting dark earlier I drove through when it was already dark out and there were at least 10 of them in one alley where I usually see one or two during the day. This particular alley is behind a mix of residential homes and businesses, one of which is a carry-out but not a grocery store.

That being said - I have no idea if the dumpsters behind grocery stores in my area are locked. To be honest, a lot of them probably are because we occasionally have bears in the area.

iris lily

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #156 on: September 26, 2019, 07:24:02 PM »

...

"Business community" being hostile to homeless folks can include using security guards to drive them away, calling the police on them, posting signs at the parking lots to discourage people from donating.  I see all of these things in my town.  (To be honest, we have a lot of services for the homeless here, so it's a blessing and a curse).

...

I have rarely seen homeless people HERE looking for food in dumpsters, but the majority of our local grocery stores currently donate their extra food/ almost expired food/ etc. to the homeless shelter and other local charities.  (Some of them used to sell it at a deep discount - I enjoyed those deep discounts!  They don't anymore...

Do you think ďthe business community ďis right to not want members of the homeless community hanging out in front of their doors? Do you think that affects their customers?

I sure do.


Roadrunner53

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #157 on: September 27, 2019, 05:14:26 AM »
Earlier I mentioned that I worked for a food research company. We were always ordering samples of food to try new recipes and sometimes the samples were in 50 lb. boxes. We needed industrial ingredients that would be used in a factory so once we determined we wanted to try something on a bigger scale than the kitchen mixer, we would get these ingredients for batches made in industrial machines. Sometimes our work was just a one time thing and we had these ingredients on hand that eventually would get tossed due to expiration. We had several 50 lb. boxes of peanut butter. We offered it to a local soup kitchen and they refused it. The boxes were unopened and would have been good for several months. I have no idea why they wouldn't accept it. Back then, people didn't really seemed concerned about peanut allergies and most soup kitchens cater to adults. So, I took the peanut butter home and fed it to the squirrels and birds. They were very happy!

Companies lock their dumpsters for many reasons and one being liable if someone dumpster dives and eats something that makes them sick and they get sued. I also have raccoons that have been invading my garbage lately and they are dragging crap out of the cans making a huge mess, so we now have a bungee cord on the can.

We have a local grocery store here where homeless linger around. I think they live close to the store in an encampment. They come to the grocery store and use the bathrooms as their personal bathroom washing their bodies. A bit of a turn off for shoppers needing to use the bathrooms. The store used to have a bench outside at one of the remote entrances where the homeless would congregate. Shoppers felt uncomfortable so they took that bench away.

I don't know what the answer is for the homeless. But washing their bodies in a grocery store bathroom isn't acceptable to subject the shoppers to or the grocery store that is trying to cater to customers. Towns should have a place where homeless people can shower and wash their clothes.

economista

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #158 on: September 27, 2019, 07:38:28 AM »
I wonít derail this thread any further with discussions about the homeless because I personally donít have a really solidified point of view. On one hand I donít feel safe around the homeless, I personally donít ever give them money directly, and I agree that they shouldnít be allowed to loiter around businesses. But on the other hand I know that a lot of them are in dire need of mental health care, I donate to organizations that help them, and I understand that they have a basic human dignity and a right to live how they see fit simply be being human beings on Godís earth. This is one topic that still battles within my brain.

In my city it has been highly publicized that there are more than enough beds and services for the entire homeless population, but most of them simply wonít agree to the rules to participate (mostly no drugs). I get especially annoyed when I see pregnant women or mothers standing on the corner with their children holding signs that say ďhomeless and no food.Ē We have plenty of social services to help them  and they are either lying or are choosing not to partake in the services available. So this is all hard.

I just wanted to explain my wishy-washy feelings about all of this so no one thinks I am a hard liner on one side or the other. I have spent years of my life extensively studying children in poverty and social mobility, but the homeless population and homelessness in general is something that I just havenít studied enough to feel really strongly about.

Lichen

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #159 on: September 27, 2019, 08:26:04 AM »
If you are concerned about food waste and the hunger issues for the homeless and at risk, but don't want to dumpster dive yourself, please see if there is a "food not bombs" group in your area. Each area group runs things a bit differently, but often food destined for the dumpster is used to create the big community meals.


mm1970

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #160 on: September 27, 2019, 01:46:03 PM »
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Do you think ďthe business community ďis right to not want members of the homeless community hanging out in front of their doors? Do you think that affects their customers?

I sure do.
Absolutely, which is why I mentioned "blessing and a curse".  (Having a lot of support/ facilities/ programs for the homeless in my area - in addition to great weather and expensive housing - means we have more homeless.)  We get people here from all over the state and country, because if you are going to sleep outside, why not in great weather?  Also, having access to food, nights at the shelter during cold and rain, and sympathetic people giving you $$ at freeway exits, is a bonus.  A lot of the panhandlers aren't actually homeless, but I digress.

I'm not a fan of being accosted (verbally or however else) by the homeless when I am shopping at stores.  I will avoid particular stores for this reason.  OTOH, I don't necessarily want the homeless to just "go away" as many do.  We need actual solutions.  People need a place to sleep, eat, poop, shower, do laundry.

mm1970

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #161 on: September 27, 2019, 01:53:25 PM »
I wonít derail this thread any further with discussions about the homeless because I personally donít have a really solidified point of view. On one hand I donít feel safe around the homeless, I personally donít ever give them money directly, and I agree that they shouldnít be allowed to loiter around businesses. But on the other hand I know that a lot of them are in dire need of mental health care, I donate to organizations that help them, and I understand that they have a basic human dignity and a right to live how they see fit simply be being human beings on Godís earth. This is one topic that still battles within my brain.

In my city it has been highly publicized that there are more than enough beds and services for the entire homeless population, but most of them simply wonít agree to the rules to participate (mostly no drugs). I get especially annoyed when I see pregnant women or mothers standing on the corner with their children holding signs that say ďhomeless and no food.Ē We have plenty of social services to help them  and they are either lying or are choosing not to partake in the services available. So this is all hard.

I just wanted to explain my wishy-washy feelings about all of this so no one thinks I am a hard liner on one side or the other. I have spent years of my life extensively studying children in poverty and social mobility, but the homeless population and homelessness in general is something that I just havenít studied enough to feel really strongly about.

Totally agree.  I think I said something similar on a thread about someone whose parent or brother kept asking for money.  The reason why this happens is that government entities, and many if not most charities - can provide a LOT of help to people who need it.  But the help comes with strings or rules that they don't like.  I had the occasion to discuss it with a friend this summer in Copenhagen.

There were some (maybe one or two) people that looked homeless (sleeping on benches) while I was running around The Lakes in Copenhagen.  My friend pointed out that it is true - they do have homeless - a lot fewer than we do.  Part of it is because they have far more services and housing options.  She said often, when you see someone who is homeless - it's because they don't like the "rules".  As in - the government will offer someone a flat or a room to live in, but it is in neighborhood "X", and they don't want to live in that area.  They want to live in "Y" because it's familiar/ more fun/ grew up there/ friends there/ whatever.  So the person is choosing to sleep outdoors.

It's a tricky bit - I am tired of the tent cities, the parking garages that smell like pee, the homeless who defecate on the streets.  But they need to go somewhere!  On the flip side, one of my "hobbies", per se, is to follow folks who are hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, which is basically 5-6 straight months of being homeless/ living outdoors/ sleeping in a tent...

iris lily

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #162 on: September 27, 2019, 04:16:47 PM »
I wonít derail this thread any further with discussions about the homeless because I personally donít have a really solidified point of view. On one hand I donít feel safe around the homeless, I personally donít ever give them money directly, and I agree that they shouldnít be allowed to loiter around businesses. But on the other hand I know that a lot of them are in dire need of mental health care, I donate to organizations that help them, and I understand that they have a basic human dignity and a right to live how they see fit simply be being human beings on Godís earth. This is one topic that still battles within my brain.

In my city it has been highly publicized that there are more than enough beds and services for the entire homeless population, but most of them simply wonít agree to the rules to participate (mostly no drugs). I get especially annoyed when I see pregnant women or mothers standing on the corner with their children holding signs that say ďhomeless and no food.Ē We have plenty of social services to help them  and they are either lying or are choosing not to partake in the services available. So this is all hard.

I just wanted to explain my wishy-washy feelings about all of this so no one thinks I am a hard liner on one side or the other. I have spent years of my life extensively studying children in poverty and social mobility, but the homeless population and homelessness in general is something that I just havenít studied enough to feel really strongly about.

I think that is all reasonable. I guess we should all appear ďwishy-washyĒ  about many human problems because there are no easy solutions, there is no one-size-fits-all to fix it. And some things  just arenít fixable.

FunkyChopstick

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #163 on: October 06, 2019, 09:59:21 PM »
You are my hero. The farthest I have gotten is casing a few stores. Driving around them, checking types of dumpsters- some are extremely secure, but I haven't actually done it.

Hubs refused to be an accomplice. My mom is a free spirit with a light dusting of mental illness so she is on board. I have balked solo driving bc 1. I am chubby and feel someone  is necessary incase I'm stuck 2. A lookout just seems less shady.

I want to dive in trader Joe's or whole foods so bad. So, so bad I can taste it. But I won't pay retail for it.
I realize most people draw the line here, probably most way before this point. But I am all in. Plus cold dumpster diving doesn't interfere with refrigeration or freezing.

Dicey

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #164 on: October 07, 2019, 12:26:16 AM »
You are my hero. The farthest I have gotten is casing a few stores. Driving around them, checking types of dumpsters- some are extremely secure, but I haven't actually done it.

Hubs refused to be an accomplice. My mom is a free spirit with a light dusting of mental illness so she is on board. I have balked solo driving bc 1. I am chubby and feel someone  is necessary incase I'm stuck 2. A lookout just seems less shady.

I want to dive in trader Joe's or whole foods so bad. So, so bad I can taste it. But I won't pay retail for it.
I realize most people draw the line here, probably most way before this point. But I am all in. Plus cold dumpster diving doesn't interfere with refrigeration or freezing.
If you lived closer, I'd totally go dumpster diving with you.

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #165 on: October 07, 2019, 09:25:20 AM »
I did dumpster diving back when I was a college student. It made it so I didnít have to choose between eating and paying tuition. I had a lot of friends who were in a similar boat and we would all be generous with our hauls, so we got a pretty good variety. Winter was good because things would stay frozen so food safety wasnít much of a concern. But most grocery stores had trash compactors even then, and that was nearly 20 years ago. We frequented the dumpster of a bakery and we had two packaged food producing factories near us that were good for checking their dumpsters, as if a label was misprinted then the entire run would be thrown away. We would also check the dumpsters of retail stores like Target and get stuff that got returned but wasnít able to be resold. I once found 50 CDs in on of those dumpsters and sold them to a used CD store and turned it into close to $100. That paid for half a month of rent.

Later, when my wife was in grad school and we stayed in married student housing on campus at her much more affluent university, and the dumpsters outside of those buildings were a treasure trove. We got lots of our furniture from those, and we once found a brand new pair of fancy waterproof hiking boots still in the box.

FunkyChopstick

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #166 on: October 07, 2019, 09:13:00 PM »
You are my hero. The farthest I have gotten is casing a few stores. Driving around them, checking types of dumpsters- some are extremely secure, but I haven't actually done it.

Hubs refused to be an accomplice. My mom is a free spirit with a light dusting of mental illness so she is on board. I have balked solo driving bc 1. I am chubby and feel someone  is necessary incase I'm stuck 2. A lookout just seems less shady.

I want to dive in trader Joe's or whole foods so bad. So, so bad I can taste it. But I won't pay retail for it.
I realize most people draw the line here, probably most way before this point. But I am all in. Plus cold dumpster diving doesn't interfere with refrigeration or freezing.
If you lived closer, I'd totally go dumpster diving with you.

We will meet in the middle and make a deal lol. But any Philly peeps that want to troll the allies and raid the refuse of the city- let me know!

AdventureGirl!

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #167 on: October 30, 2019, 08:58:39 AM »
I think Dumpster Diving is awesome!

Yes it is illegal and you should be stealth about it. But we are so wasteful in this world that I think you are doing more good than harm.

In Minnesota they have started to be really strict and lock up dumpsters and have closed compartment dumpsters now so it is really hard to find places to dive these days.

Score while you can!

insufFIcientfunds

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #168 on: October 30, 2019, 11:22:04 AM »
Shit, I bought some cheese inside a grocery store and got home and realized it had mold. Meanwhile, people are getting perfectly good cheese outside the store, with no mold? Free? I feel dumb now!

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #169 on: November 20, 2019, 07:39:54 PM »
Dumpster diving is not illegal everywhere. In my state it is only illegal if you are breaking into a locked dumpster.

So glad I found this thread- it seems like the MMM forum isn't very active in its dumpster diving awesomeness.

This week my SO got a full case of olive oil that just needed washed off (one bottle must have broken and they tossed the entire case). We often get our staples from dumpsters- bread, milk, even coffee. I've joked that I'm going to make an ironic fancy-looking coffee table book one day with artsy pictures of his dumpster finds.

Davnasty

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #170 on: November 20, 2019, 08:22:13 PM »
Dumpster diving is not illegal everywhere. In my state it is only illegal if you are breaking into a locked dumpster.

So glad I found this thread- it seems like the MMM forum isn't very active in its dumpster diving awesomeness.

This week my SO got a full case of olive oil that just needed washed off (one bottle must have broken and they tossed the entire case). We often get our staples from dumpsters- bread, milk, even coffee. I've joked that I'm going to make an ironic fancy-looking coffee table book one day with artsy pictures of his dumpster finds.

Either not many people on the forum do it or not many will admit to it :) I found 16lbs of onions and a bag of apples this weekend. French onion soup or stir fry with extra onions every night this week.

I don't look very often and I only take what's sitting on top. I don't dive very far unless I see something good like a case of beer. Same situation, one bottle breaks and they toss the case.

I used to do more digging but sometimes I brought too much home. It was a lot of work to process/can it all before it went bad. A chest freezer would have helped.

Car Jack

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #171 on: November 21, 2019, 06:56:15 AM »
IMO, the best dumpsters are behind Guitar Center and Game Stop.  I've never found a guitar, but have found dented mixers, guitar hard cases that had an external skin ripped away.  My son's found various electronic games that are easily sold at the local vintage gamer store.

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #172 on: November 23, 2019, 08:38:07 PM »
DDing is a bridge too far for me, my spouse would almost certainly veto it. The waste is a shame.

Iím hoping that some grocery store chains will do what Aldi on the UK did/does. They sell a box full of day old produce for one pound. It was a surprise as to what you would get, but perfectly serviceable.

happyuk

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #173 on: November 27, 2019, 11:45:49 PM »
In the UK there's a number of supermarkets and outlets that have a customer app specifically for selling food very cheaply that will otherwise go to waste.  One example is Morrison's with their app called 'Too Good To Go'. My other half uses these apps quite regularly and I'm always impressed with the amount, cheapness and quality

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #174 on: November 30, 2019, 04:21:59 PM »
In the UK there's a number of supermarkets and outlets that have a customer app specifically for selling food very cheaply that will otherwise go to waste.  One example is Morrison's with their app called 'Too Good To Go'. My other half uses these apps quite regularly and I'm always impressed with the amount, cheapness and quality

Back in the day, stores in the US sold day old veg and other foods at a steep discount. You still see it with meats and nonperishables. Now itís a rarity for fruit, veg, bread, and dairy. I think itís a cost/benefit thing. Probably cheaper to toss it than to reprice and repackage it and there is no grassroots pressure to avoid the waste.

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #175 on: December 02, 2019, 04:24:20 PM »
In the UK there's a number of supermarkets and outlets that have a customer app specifically for selling food very cheaply that will otherwise go to waste.  One example is Morrison's with their app called 'Too Good To Go'. My other half uses these apps quite regularly and I'm always impressed with the amount, cheapness and quality

Back in the day, stores in the US sold day old veg and other foods at a steep discount. You still see it with meats and nonperishables. Now itís a rarity for fruit, veg, bread, and dairy. I think itís a cost/benefit thing. Probably cheaper to toss it than to reprice and repackage it and there is no grassroots pressure to avoid the waste.

Lots of grocery chains now donate food that is nearing expiry dates to local food banks.  I used to volunteer at a large food bank in Seattle and that was how they sourced virtually all of their food.