Welcome to the ’80s, son.

Oh, how I love Berkeley. The weather, the food, and the unreasonable habit the residents have of putting their stuff on the curb with a handwritten “free” sign.

For miles around, Berkeley inhabitants clean out their homes and garages and, instead of selling things on craigslist, formally freecycling them, throwing them away, or giving them to charity, my neighbors just put everything on the curb.

I’ve found brand new shoes for the boys. Furniture. Half eaten jars of salsa. (I didn’t say everything they put out is desirable. I’m just illustrating the “they put out *everything*” argument with a swear-to-god true story.) A fully functioning television. A sweater covered in green paint.

Butter made a find of the century last week, though.

High capacity diskette, baby!

“In *my* day, they were 5 1/4. And were terrified of magnets. And we *liked* it!”

So their education is complete. Peanut’s class got to listen to records on a turntable and Butter liberated his first floppy disk.

Good times, Twenty-First Century. Good times.

11 thoughts on “Welcome to the ’80s, son.

  1. When we moved 7 years ago, we did the same thing. Put out couches and cribs and carseats with the FREE sign. Our neighbors were appalled–you can sell that stuff on Craigslist, you know? But frankly, moving sucks and we just didn’t fucking care. Viva the sidewalk freemarket!

  2. That happens in parts of New Zealand in certain months of the year. Mostly spring I think, it’s the most amazing thing to see people trolling the streets looking for stuff!

  3. Our house backs onto an alley way in a mixed residential/business area. Love the local vibe, but the junk dumping is a little ridiculous. Mattresses and box springs, broken baby gates, shopping carts with no wheels. But: we did find a Rody horse toy in perfect condition. I cleaned it with rubbing alcohol, b/c the alley skeeves me out.

    • @Karyn and Heather there’s definitely something to the “occasional find on your pleasant walk” factor that makes it not creepy. Dumping is totally gross. Owning your trash and putting it right out in front in case someone likes it is both weird and totally charming.

  4. We did leave things out occasionally in front of our house in San Leandro and funnily one of my best customers was a neighbor. Oh how his wife hated me. But now that we’ve moved to the snootier burbs, we can’t even leave our bins out past dark on trash day.

    Also, my brother is a professional dumpster diver, his big finds: a Coca cola vending machine and an above ground pool. Scary.

    • @Mad Woman I’m glad the habit is pushing past the tunnel. ;-) The people who dumpster dive professionally have my total awe. It’s gross how much our culture throws out, but it’s also totally beyond my gag factor to get into actual trash.

    • Ah, subWOW, I should have saved this font disk for them. Butter dismantled it and has crammed many small pieces of paper into the little magnetic cubby.

      Also…seriously? No way. Oh, education budget, what have the cuts done to thee?

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