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No. of Recommendations: 8
My goodness! What a bunch of bleeding-heart-liberal-tree-hugging-do-gooders you are! What about GREED? Huh?

There are lots of reason to Dumpster dive that have nothing to do with saving the earth</> or helping others. Repeat after RW: “This isn't about you; it's about me! Memememememememe!” Got it? Good. So without further ado, here are (drumroll, please) my top 10 selfish reasons for Dumpster diving.

1. You get to try stuff that you wouldn't ordinarily think to buy, and some of it is good! For example, I once got, from a bakery Dumpster, a container of heavenly confections called “Nanaimo bars.” I had never heard of them before, and certainly would not have bought them, but they turned out to be scrumptious. Another time I picked up a magazine rack for my treadmill—-again, not the sort of gadget I would normally purchase, but it has proven amazingly useful. I have also discovered new brands of cleaning products, such as Febreeze, that I wouldn't have tried if I'd had to shell out the cash for them. In short, Dumpster diving brings diversity to your diet, your wardrobe, your home décor, your leisure activities—your life!

2. Since you cannot possibly use all of the things you find, you will have to give some of them away. Now, the previous posters have mentioned this, but they have not emphasized the selfish implications of it. Being generous with your Dumpster spoils does not cost you a cent, and it can greatly enhance your standing with people you might want to impress but could not otherwise afford to shower with gifts. Your child's teacher, for example, will greatly appreciate any art supplies and useful scraps that you find. The teacher might even give your kid more attention as a result, which will lead to his or her future social and academic success. Likewise, giving your dog treats from the Dumpster will make her more loyal to you. And then there is the guy who gave 144 Dumpster-dived roses to his sweetheart. Can diving buy you love? Maybe not, but it is better to have dived and lost. . . .

3. Dumpster diving makes a great topic of conversation—a sure ice-breaker. I often list it when I have to describe my “hobbies and interests.” When I teach, I always ask people on the first day of class to reveal something unusual or surprising about themselves; I invariably go first with Dumpster diving. It works like a charm to get people talking.

4. You meet all kinds of interesting people while diving. Now, if you are a squeamish suburban soccer mom, you may not find all of them interesting. But a few weeks ago I spent a good 20 minutes talking to “Bo,” a twenty-something can scrounger and migrant worker who travels from one town to the next via the railways. And I am not talking about the Amtrak “Starlight Express” here. He was very open in telling me about his life, which was the most fascinating story I'd heard in a long while. Of course, not all people view diving as recreation; some depend on it for survival. But in general, as you can see from this board, divers are a distinguished bunch of folks—the few and the proud.

5. Diving, as a leisure activity, saves you a lot of money over other things you could spend your mornings, afternoons, or evenings doing. Why spend money inside the movie theater, when you could be out back diving popcorn and posters? Why cruise the mall and tempt yourself to spend, when you could be cruising the trash receptacles instead? And with the money you save, you can buy things you really need, like an SUV to haul away all the things you collect from Dumpsters. Just how many twinkies can you fit into a Suburban anyway, Pd?

6. Dumpster diving is a great family outing. Kids love the feeling of doing something that is vaguely taboo and involves the risk of being “caught” (although I do not recommend allowing them to get carried away, e.g. by wearing pantyhose over their heads or outfitting themselves in camouflage gear). Kids also make great lookouts. And when they grow up a little, they can do all the climbing in and out, and the heavy lifting, for you. Remember, the family that dives together. . . . .

7. If you use the time-tested strategy of speaking a foreign language to avoid being held accountable by store employees, security guards, and passersby, Dumpster diving can be a great opportunity to practice your French, or Spanish, or German, or Serbo-Croatian, or Cantonese, or Ndebele.

8. Dumpster diving, especially in residential dumpsters, provides you with astonishing insights into how other people live. If you have even the slightest interest in Anthropology, or a penchant for watching shows about other cultures on the Discovery channel, you will be entranced by the stories that garbage can tell.

9. Are you an adrenaline junkie? Then Dumpster diving is definitely for you. The anticipation, the thrill of the hunt, the faint aura of danger, the jubilation that follows in the footsteps of a really good find. . . . all of these, and more, make diving an exciting and potentially addictive pastime.

10. Dumpster diving enhances your self-esteem. When I dive, I feel strong. I glory in my total disregard for convention. I confirm to myself that I am not like the dull-witted, glassy-eyed multitudes who are that very moment inside the store, filling their shopping carts with all the junk that the television has told them they should want.


11. I will add an 11th reason just to prove that I am a nonconformist with regard to the reigning orthodoxy that governs list-making: when I find something good in a Dumpster, it means that somebody else--somebody not as smart or bold or resourceful as I am--missed out on it. And that's a lovely feeling. The Germans actually have a name for it--Schadenfreude, which means "malicious glee at someone else's misfortune." How's that for selfishness?

RW
"Greed is good! Greed is right! Greed works! Greed will save the USA!"--Michael Douglas in Wall Street

p.s. anyone who knows anything about my personal philosophy knows exactly where my my tongue is, in relation to my cheek, as I sing this paeon to greed. So flaming me will not be necessary, thank you. Have a nice day, everyone!
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