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Scavengers are not hurting anyone, and you are greedy and arrogant.

December 11, 2009

I was watching TV last night when a preview for the 11 o’clock news came on.  The top story?  “How to keep people out of your trash”

Intrigued, I decided to watch the story and found that it was even more ridiculous than I had originally expected.

Apparently, many Southern California residents are “bugged” by the fact that homeless people as well as those living well below the poverty line are going through their garbage and essentially recycling for them.

I’m sorry, it just really bugs me, and thats my trash.

You’re actually getting upset that people are  taking what you don’t want in order to better their lives?  These are human beings, and as far as I can tell they’re not hurting anyone.

USC is the largest employer in LA, and I’d say the dumpsters around USC are probably the second largest.  I run into these so-called “scavengers” every day and I have never once had a single unpleasant encounter with them (other than the smell, perhaps).

Here’s the longest conversation I’ve had with a “scavenger.”

Scavenger:  How are you today, miss?

Me: I’m good.

Scavenger: Are you studying hard?

Me: Of course.

Scavenger: Do you believe in God?

Me: I do.

Scavenger: Oh thank the Lord!  You’re an angel!  I’ll see you in heaven!

Man, don’t you hate it when people say you’re going to heaven.  Ugh, that really BUGS me. (….)

Not only do these scavengers not bug me in the least, but they are actually doing a service to us.  Many people don’t recycle, so they’re here to do it for us.

Plus, if you watched the video, you heard the man say that he often finds cell phones, computers and laptops in the garbage.  Oh, you mean the toxic e-waste that is harmful to the atmosphere, especially if not disposed of properly (as I’m assuming many of these people are not doing)?  Perfect.

But I’m worried they’re going to steal my identity!

Really, suburban Asian woman?  You think the homeless black man is going to steal your identity?  Even if that were a rational fear, why not consider the novel idea of shredding sensitive documents.  Anyone who just throws that sort of information in the trash deserves to suffer through the pains of identity theft.  (I probably wouldn’t want to steal that kind of person’s identity, though, because I generally try to avoid having the the rep of being an imbecile.)

Anyway, I understand that it’s a law, but that law is ridiculous.  People wonder why other countries see Americans as greedy and arrogant?  Perhaps it’s because we have laws in place to prevent poor people from trying to turn rich people’s waste into food for themselves and that the big story in the news isn’t “what can we do about the homeless population” but rather how can we keep them out of our trash.

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