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People Break Down What Our Society Values Highly That Is Actually Garbage
Stephen Radford/Unsplash

Society is a pretty imperfect place.

It holds a structure that everyone can operate loosely within, but thanks to a combination of peer and family pressure, invented standards of production and a whole bunch of other things, you can really get shaken loose from the structure and/or come to resent it.

And then there's the question of what isn't working anymore in our society and truly just needs to get the heck out? Humans have been around for a hell of a long time, and we have evolved in so many ways.

But in others, you start to truly wonder if we have all learned nothing.

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People Describe The Most Valuable Item They've Ever Found In The Garbage
Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

They say one man's trash is another man's treasure - and sometimes that saying is pretty literal.

Lots of people build entire businesses picking up cool stuff on bulk-pickup trash day, and upcycling it into something even better that people are willing to pay for.

Sometimes, you might even end up with something pristine and usable right away.

Reddit user JampackedAlborn1976 asked:

What is the most valuable item that you have seen somebody throw away or have found in the garbage?

And for real ... some of these people scored BIG TIME. Like big time. Like really big.

Like Refrigerator Big

just ask leslie jones GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy

"Our current refrigerator is a double-door one with exterior ice and water dispensers. We got it for free, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. It's just a few years old."

"How we got it? My dad (civil engineer) was doing some work on someone's apartment when they said they had bought a new modern French door refrigerator and that they were just going to discard their current refrigerator."

"My dad simply asked if he could have it.. and they said yes." - SauloJr

Immigrants In Action

Dog Brazil GIFGiphy

"I immigrated to the US from Brazil when I was 12. And every Saturday, my mom, stepdad, sister and I would go out at night to upper middle class neighborhoods the day before trash pickup to rummage through the garbage they were putting out."

"We found perfectly good TVs, VCRs, microwaves, couches, lazy boys, tables, books and comics, etc."

"I couldn't believe these Americans were throwing out like that. We furnished our entire house with that stuff. The entire Brazilian immigrant community in my town did it. We were flabbergasted." - PhillipLlerenas

With A Note

Television Bunny GIFGiphy

"My wife yelled at me that someone put a big TV outside with a note on it. Walked across the street and it was a brand new Samsung 37 inch HDTV."

"They were actually renovating the apartment building and got an upgraded TV. Even had the remote taped to it with batteries, I guess I have really nice neighbors here in NYC." - MadLintElf

Life Hack!

studying busy philipps GIF by Drunk HistoryGiphy

"If you want high end stuff out of the garbage for free, follow these steps:"

"Pick a city with a large university in it. If it's a school well known for its law programs, or medical, or engineering, all the better."

"Search for luxury apartment complexes that market themselves towards students. Look for things like included shuttle service, pools, fitness centers, etc. The more expensive and swanky the better."

"Figure out when finals week is at the end of Spring semester."

"Dumpster dive at those luxury apartment complexes during that week and the following weekend."

"Very wealthy international students will arrive in the US, fully outfit an apartment with nice furniture, big TVs, audio systems, gaming consoles, you name it, and when the semester ends they just junk it all because they aren't going to fly it back to wherever, and it's too much effort to spend the time selling when they do not care about the money."

"It's a smaller scale phenomenon a little like all the luxury cars abandoned at the airport in Dubai." - whattothewhonow

Literal Gold Treasure

valley of the boom david kim stanley GIF by National Geographic ChannelGiphy

"I found a gold coin at goodwill for 5 bucks. It was in a case with someone's name and company name."

"It was their gift from the company for retiring. I assume the family threw it out when he died not knowing it was solid gold. It was in a in a thick solid plastic case that had to be cracked opened."

"It literally said 1 oz fine gold on it. I figured 5 bucks was worth the risk it not being real."

"It was a South African KRUGERRAND 1 oz coin. Everyone was just too busy to read it lol."

"Bought it and took it too a pawn shop and sold it for a couple grand." - streetmitch

The Best Day Of My Life

Will Smith Wow GIF by 1LIVEGiphy

"When I was a kid, I grew up right outside the Los Angeles area in the suburbs. My stepdad was a garbage truck driver for the city of Beverly Hills."

"I swear in the late 80s and early 90s we'd have so much basically brand new stuff (still in boxes) brought home on a regular basis."

"I'll never forget one day in particular. My stepdad came home and was like 'get ready, come to the car, I'll need your help.' So I go down there and in back seat of his car he had a few large black garbage bags."

"We haul them up to our apartment and he's like 'go ahead, open them.' Inside was what I could only describe as an 80s kids trove of treasures."

"One bag contained just about every Ghostbusters and GI joe toy you can imagine, they were played with but had every little accessory, there was a bunch the playsets and everything."

"In the other bag was pretty much every LEGO of the early 80s sets, still in their original boxes. I was a big LEGO nerd but was totally thrown off by the old school space ones because they looked nothing like the 90s space sets. I think they even said "NASA" the minifig's chests."

"That was like a random day in July, it felt like Christmas. I was 9 years old and it was basically like the best day of my life up to that point." - Zombgief

Who Throws Away Money?

spongebob squarepants money GIFGiphy

"A jar full of quarters."

"Annual spring cleaning projects happen in a lot of towns where anyone can put almost anything on the curb and it's taken away for free. It's to stop open dumping or stuff being dumped in ditches."

"Sometimes people deal with estates from winter by just dumping all their grandfather's stuff on the curb for the cleanup to get the house empty immediately. Most often they don't even bother to look at what they are throwing away."

"In 2012 on north road in Akwesasne I found an estate pile that I shuttled back and forth with my bike trailer getting lots of older tools like a scythe, hammers, saws, screwdrivers and wrenches, a 22 rifle with 100 round of ammo, a bunch of ar15 magazines, cast iron cookware, oil lamps, a hand crank food mill with all kinds of accessories, a black raven axe head (worth $100 easily since they are a collectable), and a quart size mason jar full of change mostly quarters."

"That was spring and the sheriffs office did a gun buyback in the fall where I took the mags and got $20 each for them (30 round mags suddenly illegal under the safe act of fall 2012. The buyback was a local political move). I still got the 22 and picked off a lot of woodchuck with it in my gardens." - Bogtrotterso1980

Filing Fever

Files Workload GIFGiphy

"I own a small company which is located directly in front of a state funded program facility. The state decided to have this office shred all of their files as they were going to switch to electronic data (exclusively)."

"We found two of these old rotary filing cabinets outside of their office. They're worth almost $3k each!"

"They just placed them there and we saw them and asked what they planned on doing with them. They said, 'Hmmm.....either donate them or trash them.' The state told them simply to get rid of them."

"We jumped at this and took the two into our already tiny office because there was no way in hell that we were going to let these gems go. (We do use paper files, unfortunately)."

"They wanted to give us two smaller ones but seriously, our office is very small. I made some phone calls and they were picked up immediately by other office workers/friends." - GlitzBlitz

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This Sucks - In A Good Way!

mrs doubtfire vacuum GIFGiphy

"In the 1990s my moms work had a really nice high end Hoover that stopped working. They threw it out."

"My mom took it home because my dad tinkers and repairs things easily. Turns out since it was a bagged vacuum all the dummies had to do is REPLACE THE BAG."

"Like it never occurred to them to do the most easy and basic step. My parents were excited to have a really upgraded vacuum. Maybe like $500ish." - schweddyboobs

Tiffany's Trash

Audrey Hepburn Movie GIF by The Good FilmsGiphy

"My dad found an old stained glass window laying out by someone's trash. He thought it would look cool hanging in our cabin, so he stopped and grabbed it."

"It sat in our garage for a few years before he looked at it more closely and found "Tiffany and Co." branding on it. He got in touch with some stained glass window dude who figured it was worth about $40k fully restored, so my dad sold it to him for somewhere around $30k." - throwaway_stopdrink

Sitting In It Right Now

Like A Boss Rap GIF by MorphinGiphy

"About 9 years ago, at a previous job, they were renovating some office space, and were going to throw away a room full of broken down cubical panels, old chairs, etc."

"In the middle of all of it, like a diamond in the rough, was an $800 (at the time) Herman Miller Aeron chair. It was in perfect condition, clean, nothing wrong with it whatsoever, it was just getting replaced."

"I verified with multiple people on the project that it was bound for the dump, so that no one would think I was stealing. I'm sitting in it as I type this right now." - kickfacemouth

The Drug Kingpin

al pacino drugs GIFGiphy

"I purchased a farm and it had about 20 broken down cars on it - some junk, some nice classics as well."

"I started dismantling them to restore them and in car hidden inside the door panels was weed and 50k in cash. The drugs had water damage and were obviously very old."

"I contacted police and they arrived real fast! After a nervous conversation they had a team there looking for finger prints or other evidence, I don't know."

"They came back and told me the story of the original owner, who was an old drug kingpin with ties to a lot of groups. They kept the money for a while then I got it handed back to me in new notes since those were flagged numbers on the money."

"It helped with the restoration projects and made some good money from selling them. I also got to keep the car which I restored and will keep for many years." - Kenworth117

Grandpa's Gold Turtle

Feeling Old Season 8 GIF by The SimpsonsGiphy

"24 karat solid gold turtle given to my grandpa by the wealthy owner of a chain of Chinese restaurants."

"It was palm sized and probably weighed the better part of a pound. My understanding is it's a traditional way to wish someone prosperity. Grandpa treated the restaurant owner as if she were his daughter and her son as one of his grandchildren."

"This meant the world to her as both of her parents passed when she was younger and the boy's father wasn't in the picture for whatever reason."

"Grandpa was a hoarder. Once a year a family member would take him on vacation for a week while the rest of the family rented a dumpster and cleaned out grandpa's house."

"Whoever found the turtle thought it was a cheap trinket or a child's art project and threw it away."

"It was like 3 months later, Grandpa calls my dad in a dead panic because he couldn't find the gold turtle. Once we figured out what happened grandpa didn't speak to any of his children for over a month."

"Grandpa has been gone for over a decade and we still don't know which sibling threw it out. I suspect the siblings will take that secret to their graves." - throwawayspank1017

Traveling On Wendy's Tab

"About 20 years ago Wendys had a promo with Airtrain Airlines... If you collect so many of these cut out squares from cups u can redeem for a free round trip flight. There was no limit."

"I spent several times jumping in the dumpster and must have gotten 15 free round trip flights for me.. my kids and family and friends...Granted a crappy airlines... but it allowed my Fla kids to see Colorado snow and ski for the first time." - godfather6545

Only The Super Rich

Money Fancy GIF by Adult SwimGiphy

"I live in a mountain town in western US. I build and remodel houses for a living."

"Basically, only the super rich can buy and build houses around here. Just last week I started on a project where the new owner is tearing down the existing house and we're going to build a new in its place."

"They want to get rid of everything. All appliances, furniture, fixtures, etc."

"Got myself a new dryer (looked like it was maybe used a couple times). 5 star gas stove and hood vent, stand up deep freezer, new washer, a stackable washer/dryer, claw feet cast iron tubs (2 in perfect condition), dishwashers, microwaves, just to make a few. Freakin crazy." - smushedsloshie

Have you had any awesomely trashtastic treasures? Let us know!

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