Born Poor; Die Poor. That’s Capitalism
Until you’ve lived in poverty, you can only imagine
Dumpster Diving and Reality
I’m sleeping on a sidewalk in an ally and the noises I hear are from the traffic just a few feet away from me. The pedestrians walking on the sidewalks on their way to the cafes before they go to work are again, just a few feet from me also. I check inside my backpack to see if I have anything leftover for breakfast. I have a half of a bagel left from last night’s daily dumpster dive.
Last night’s dumpster dive was pretty successful. I scoped out a Burger King around the corner from where I’ve been sleeping at for the last two or three days. I’ve been waiting for the employee to leave the gate to the dumpster enclosure unlocked and finally he did. A few croissants from breakfast and two Whoppers still wrapped and still in the box was my score last night. I bought a can of Coke with my change and ate both Whoppers in one sitting.
My main meals came from dumpster diving. I’d scope out mostly McDonalds or Burger Kings and occasionally a Popeyes Chicken. Whenever the staff would leave for the night I survey the dumpster enclosure to see if the staff member was in a hurry and left the door to the enclosure unlocked. This was common at night because from my experience, nobody wants to be in a greasy restaurant late at night and was in a hurry to leave.
I’d been on the streets for around six month’s before I decided I needed to try something new. Up to this point I had cut my meals down to one meal a day plus whatever I came across that day: a half eaten Snickers bar, a discarded half can of Coke, or food left on a tray in a restaurant. When I used the toilets in McDonalds or any restaurant on my way out I’d scan the dining room for half eaten food left on tables.
Pan handling wasn’t a technique I thought I was good at mainly because I knew people who were really successful. My routine needed to be refreshed so I added pan handling to my routine. I was okay, I think one out of every five people I approached gave me their loose change. Most people would just look away as I approached them and some had sympathy for me but no change. I’d usually hear, “You don’t look homeless.”