I’m cleaning out the basement, so I can start the new year with less clutter. Today I had another encounter with a junkman in the alley.
This time I had an old print dryer to discard, along with other metal crap, and I posted the stuff on the “free” section of Columbus Craigslist. It took about 30 minutes for the first replies to come in.
I met the guy in the alley, he was driving an old beat up van that was emitting a small cloud of steam from some leak in the system. He had a sad story that he told as he was looking at my old truck covered in a tarp, he said he used to own a garage and did restoration on old vehicles. The set of tools needed to do that sort of restoration work is considerable, so he must have been in much better financial shape in years past. He said he lost his job, the garage, all the tools. It didn’t sound like he had much left except the old van and a phone that allowed him to check the CL listings for scrap.
His wife was with him, and she noticed I had a bag of old toys set out. She was very grateful when I said she could take them too, she said this Christmas would be lean for her kids, so anything, even old toys from the alley, would be appreciated.
I know what you are thinking – those people are giving you a sad story in the hopes of getting some charity. They probably make a good living, tax free!
If they were pulling a fake sob story, they were doing a convincing job of it. Everything I saw told me they were desperately poor people who really needed every cent they could get from scrapping in alleys.
Grandview doesn’t allow junkmen to roam the alleys in the city, they can face a hefty fine if they are caught. If you post a message offering stuff and people come to pick it up, it would not be illegal.
My suggestion to anyone who will be throwing out good sized metal junk is to take the time to make a post on Craigslist in the “free” section. You don’t have to meet the scary poor people when they come to pick the stuff up, you can just tell them to get it from the alley by themselves. The metal will be recycled, instead of clogging up the lanfill, so it is the environmentally correct thing to do. And, quite possibly, the people who pick the stuff up will be really poor people who will be able to scrape another day’s worth of food and rent out of the stuff you will be tossing away.