What is a trash-out?
October 5, 2008 6:00 PM   Subscribe

What is a "trash-out?" When you see this, you feel like this. And some music to go along. After Monday, bunker or hunker ?
posted by wallstreet1929 (37 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Not your fault, but I do not understand why someone would take a very nice hi-rez Flash video, and upload it to YouTube.

Original is here
posted by smackfu at 6:20 PM on October 5, 2008

Right smackfu, good one. I should research better.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 6:23 PM on October 5, 2008

This is absolutely disgusting.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:26 PM on October 5, 2008

all hail the invisible hand of the free market
posted by troy at 6:34 PM on October 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think it's time for a new national anthem.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:38 PM on October 5, 2008

Holy shit. That's crazy.
posted by The Straightener at 6:41 PM on October 5, 2008

Look at this wasteful shit.

Greedy people foolish enough to think mortgage brokers have the customer's best interests in mind buy houses way beyond their means. They get kicked out of their exurban shitholes and they're too lazy or disorganized to even take all their shit with them or even stick it on the curb with a 'free' sign and a post on Freecycle. For keeping up appearances, the trashout guy is forbidden from doing the same, and to make the most money, he won't slow down enough to donate it to charity, though at least he lets the workers take stuff home. End result: a ton of stuff smashed and in the landfill while resources are used to make new stuff for people to buy.

Also to keep up appearances, got to paint those lawns to hide reality. Perception management: the cancer that is killing America.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:41 PM on October 5, 2008 [9 favorites]

I think it's time for a new national anthem. (GY!BE - The Dead Flag Blues)

Good call. New national mottos:

America: we are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine and the machine is bleeding to death.


America: I open up my wallet and it's full of blood.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:50 PM on October 5, 2008 [3 favorites]

Mod note: replaced the fpp link with a better one per smackfu's suggestion
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:52 PM on October 5, 2008

jessamyn, thanks!
posted by wallstreet1929 at 6:54 PM on October 5, 2008

Let me just vouch for the fact that it is totally brutal trying to arrange charitable donations of this scale on short notice. When I was a case manager for homeless families we tried to make arrangements to take estates from adult children whose parents passed away and it was such a logistical nightmare. A nonprofit doesn't have the financial resources necessary to get a massive moving van and a moving crew on short notice to take a house full of stuff. And put it where? We tried keeping a storage unit on hand for short notice donations like this but the whole thing was totally cost prohibitive, and this is with yours truly doing all the lifting with a couple of my clients' corner hustler boyfriends. It was a total nightmare.

There's a new model emerging where there are donation hub agencies that keep warehouses for pallet sized donation shipments of overstock from retailers, and affiliated agencies can come in and load up from the warehouse any time. That would work, but these agencies are brand new and clearly none of them operate in Inland Empire.

I just want to weep when I see them throwing away computers like that, I was working as a classroom behavioral health worker in a busted ass old public school in Philly just last week that had a grand total of 6 computers for 1500 kids.
posted by The Straightener at 6:54 PM on October 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

That is heartbreaking.
posted by nola at 7:03 PM on October 5, 2008

I could swear this is a double as I watched that video just the other day, but maybe it was linked from elsewhere. Anyway, it is crazy indeed. I have heard of companies that will clean out the houses of deceases people for next to nothing because they sell off all the contents of the house. It seem strange that the company couldn't just rent a bigger van and truck the stuff to a warehouse. There has to be some market for all that furniture & stuff.
posted by GuyZero at 7:09 PM on October 5, 2008

Hey, is that a Packard in the closet?
posted by hellojed at 7:31 PM on October 5, 2008

Do conservatives still believe that regulating credit default swaps is communism?
posted by gallois at 8:01 PM on October 5, 2008

God, the waste. You'd think that the trash out guy could partner with another business that would re-sell the goods from these homes, but I guess there are only so many customers for used Foreman grills and fake ivy.

God, it would be ironic for the Chinese to sell us consumer goods, pocket the money from that, and they pay almost nothing to get boatloads of those goods, lightly used, back to re-sell in their own country.
posted by maxwelton at 8:08 PM on October 5, 2008

GuyZero: its probably just the banks being lazy. Alot of the foreclosed homes probably ARE just full of garbage and trash, and the banks dont want to bother checking them, so they just hire this guy for all them. Banks were terrrible at appraising the value of homes before, they probably wouldnt have improved.
posted by Iax at 8:09 PM on October 5, 2008

Do conservatives still believe that regulating credit default swaps is communism?

Probably. It follows that this is all a Red Chinese plot.
posted by philip-random at 8:10 PM on October 5, 2008

I cannot imagine trying to explain that type of situation to my child. Wasteful. Tragic.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by zerobyproxy at 8:13 PM on October 5, 2008

I always thought "trash out" was when a resentful homeowner trashes the place before leaving after being foreclosed on. I read this article on calculated risk a while ago. But who knows this metafilter post is now the 4th result for "trash out"

posted by delmoi at 8:25 PM on October 5, 2008

I saw things similar to this in college. At the end of the year we would go to the dorms and there would be huge dumpsters. Parents would come to pick up the students and there wouldn't be enough room for all their crap. The dumpsters were mostly filled with things that could have used a good home. Futons, lamps, TVs, radios, computers, porn!, etc... The school eventually put in drop boxes for charities at the end of the year, but it only put a small dent in things. If you had an apartment nearby, you could do quite well for yourself.

It's just amazing to me to think that the folks in the video couldn't put together a yard sale beforehand to even give the stuff away or make a couple of hundred bucks from selling the furniture etc.. before getting the heck out of dodge. Depression, as said in the video is probably part of it. Hanging on till it's too late. The poor planning that got them into it in the first place is a large part I'm sure as well.

The amount of consumerism is evident in that video, all the toys, all the plastic crap, the huge house.

No mixed use in the area I'm sure, so those houses are going end up vacant (forever?) since there are no jobs that don't require a huge commute.

posted by bottlebrushtree at 8:53 PM on October 5, 2008

You know, if those houses stay vacant for long, they themselves will end up in the landfill. Amazing.
posted by maxwelton at 9:19 PM on October 5, 2008

My sister owns a house in that area (Corona).

They paid $300K in Oct 2003 now it's zillowing for $250K. Brutal.
posted by troy at 9:23 PM on October 5, 2008

I was curious to see the area and while I didn't check the whole thing in case they mentioned a specific location and I forgot, based on realtor phone numbers here is a Google maps of the general area.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:32 PM on October 5, 2008

I saw things similar to this in college

That's a good point. I recall the sidewalks being filled with couches when the semester came to the end. Although you'd have to be brave to use a college couch again.
posted by smackfu at 9:38 PM on October 5, 2008

I am surprised there isn't even any profit in him running a flea market on the side, or partnering with one. Wouldn't the New Poor really need one right about now? Wouldn't the commercial space for one be cheap and desperate making costs minimal? Heck, he could put a few more people to work.

This doesn't totally surprise me -- as a landlord I see this all the time when folks move out. In fact it may explain something in that all this "stuff" (pace George Carlin) is something tenants may grow used to leaving behind on a regular basis, even when they suddenly find themselves having expensively rented an entire house for a couple of years.

But the "stuff" was also easy-come as they didn't work hard to buy it -- if they had it a few years, the house was possibly working harder than they were, and they turned it into stuff using a HELOC. Hence the term "house as ATM". If you didn't really work for it, it's not hard to reach the conclusion that you can leave it behind.

Hey! That's where Lisa Ling ended up. Huh.
posted by dhartung at 9:44 PM on October 5, 2008

I am surprised there isn't even any profit in him running a flea market on the side, or partnering with one.

I imagine if he started to make money off the stuff, the banks would want their cut.
posted by smackfu at 9:55 PM on October 5, 2008

I agree with every comment in this post: the waste is galling.

Living in San Francisco, there was no such thing as waste - an unwanted article could be put out on the curb and be gone in 30 minutes (a long time, I know, but I was in the outer Richmond). Since the wife and I moved up to the Sonoma State neighborhood, it takes putting the unwanted article on the street AND posting to the "free" section on Craigslist, but still, the problem takes care of itself. For the hard-sell specialty items, like faucets, I've turned to Habitat for Humanity - they'll take raw materials and used-but-dated fixtures and give you a receipt toward a tax writeoff.

I think we need an educational campaign to help get these waste items out of the dumps and back into circulation. There's got to be some silver lining for the displaced homeowner who donates his remaining unremovable items, hasn't there?
posted by Graygorey at 10:39 PM on October 5, 2008

Graygorey, I think the problem is that the sheer volume of the things, combined with many many people's aversion to buying or receiving anything used, means a flea market isn't going to make diddly on it. I always look on CL first for stuff, but many people wouldn't dream of it.

Imagine you see 100 Walmart-quality torchiere lights at a flea market. What are you going to pay for one of them? $5? How much did it cost to store it, price it, sell it, etc? I think something has to be at least half what it is new (with exceptions, perhaps, for big ticket things like cars) to attract attention, and so many things are dirt cheap new at big box stores that the used price would have to be "free" to find it a new home.

I was frankly a bit surprised to see so much stuff in that house. My experience in visiting big homes purchased by people who could barely or not-even afford them is to find a palatial home with nothing in it except a folding table and a couple of futons.
posted by maxwelton at 11:06 PM on October 5, 2008

Greedy people foolish enough to think mortgage brokers have the customer's best interests in mind buy houses way beyond their means.

But the "stuff" was also easy-come as they didn't work hard to buy it.

And these assumptions come from where, backed by what?

I think a lot of people who hopped on the sub-prime mortgage bandwagon were people simply trying to live the American Dream. It is entirely possible that they were entirely able to afford the repayments until the fixed-rate ended, or until one or both partners lost jobs, or a parent died or a child had bankruptcy inducing medical costs. Every story is different and you cannot know every story.

Similarly, I am prepared to believe that not everything shown was purchased with credit, or that the owners didn't work hard to buy it.

Yeah, there are a lot of people who took foolish risks and got burned, but there are also a lot of people out there who got screwed by life and a convergence of circumstances that were not all of their making. Compassion doesn't come with an interest rate. It really is free.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:07 PM on October 5, 2008

Horrifying. Still, one can't help but wonder if the business owner puts a little more effort into it if there's not a profit to be had. I can tell you, if I was one of his employees, I'd have a buddy of mine with a pickup truck come by each property I was at to scoop any computer/tv/electronics that would just be binned and Craigslist it all, splitting it 50/50 with the buddy. Make hay while the sun shines and all that...
posted by barc0001 at 11:42 PM on October 5, 2008

This is shocking. It's always sobering to see how statistics and abstract numbers end up affecting people on the ground. She said something along the lines of 'people get burned, but don't learn. This will happen again, ten or so years down the track'. At my age (23, student) I'm saying to myself 'what fools! I'll never do that!' but at the same time can't help wondering if the next time it wont come along in some different form and I'll wander down that path just as easily as these people.
posted by twirlypen at 11:53 PM on October 5, 2008

twirlypen, this is a generational thing.

I was your age in 1990 right when the Boston condo and LA RE markets had a rather severe drawdown. That was educational to me to some great extent and kept me cautious about entering the market in 2000-2002.

But by 2005 everyone knew somebody who had made a killing in the RE market. Hell, ALL my peers have done quite well in the market, with house payments less than the rent I'm paying for a dinky 1B apartment in the Bay Area.

Everyone on this gravy train -- from the Realtors® to mortgage salespeople to loan underwriters to financial engineers to sell-side investment brokers to the VPs and CEOs and the stockholders themselves were making a total killing on the RE rocket shot 2003-2006.

That's the beauty -- and horror -- of unregulated free markets.
posted by troy at 1:12 AM on October 6, 2008

We've had three bubbles all in a row - E-Commerce, real estate and commodities. Well, not in a row, as the Commodities bubble was concurrent with the real estate bubble, and is popping at about the same time. If you're in a particularly grim mood, the stock market as a whole is also a bubble, now in post-pop freefall. I'm hoping instead that it's just another bear market, and the free fall will flatten out soon.

Each and every time a new bubble appeared, the paid, professional experts were telling the curious layperson to get involved, to invest neck-deep. Voices of sanity were contrarians, and completely drowned out. For every (spam-larded, mailing-list obligated) Motley Fool, there was a (free with Basic Cable) Jim Kramer talking very excitedly with CEOs, and TLC, ostensibly an educational channel, pushing shows like "Flip My House."

People would listen to voices of sanity, but those voices were all drowned out... or worse, made to seem foolish and unwise. A family member told another family member in 2005 that if they didn't buy a house RIGHT NOW, they'd never be able to afford one in the future. (The person buying the house was a successful professional in a stable field.)

So, while some of us were able to identify the bubble, we're cynics, eccentrics and contrarians. The smart people, being smart people, were going with what looked like a solid trend endorsed by experts in the field. Being smart isn't enough to save you from the level of market manipulation we've seen in the past 10 years.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:43 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

My Dad, as a relatively new second-career real estate agent, has been coordinating a lot of these trash-outs for work. I've been through a couple of the houses before the dump guys come, and I can attest that the great majority of the stuff left behind is broken and worthless. What isn't worthless is generally taken by someone-- I've got a number of useful new doodads, and my Dad has a revolving list of things I could make use of to be on the lookout for.

I'm sure there are some trash-outs that involve hauling a lot of nearly-new stuff to the landfill, but from what I've seen, I doubt it's very many. Mostly foreclosures are left behind by people who had to move on limited means and simply picked through their own stuff and took what was worth taking. If you've ever sold your house, think of this trash-out refuse as the stuff you gave away to neighbors or sold for pennies at the big yard sale, just to get rid of it, so you didn't have to pay movers to take it.

As for the mechanics of it -- what I'm told is that the broker could not possibly care less whether the dumpster guys keep anything or not. They get a price to empty the house. If the dumpster co can make any more on the back-end, it's no concern of theirs. So it's not really an issue of nobody being allowed to resell this stuff, as it is an issue of most of the stuff being without any value. If I have spend 12 extra hours sorting and cleaning up this junk in order to resell it for another $100, why bother?

From my side, there was something almost unbearably sad about an abandoned foreclosure house littered with broken furniture and boxes and boxes of cheap, garish and fundamentally disposable children's toys. There is not something wrong with our economy, per se. There is something deeply wrong with our society, and it is currently expressing itself as an economic failure. Don't waste your empathy on the broken and worthless junk that's being hauled out of these houses. The tragedy is that it's only a pale shadow of the broken and worthless lives that were being endured inside them.
posted by rusty at 7:45 AM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

if those houses stay vacant for long, they themselves will end up in the landfill.

The house on the left will be used to store all my broken computers, and the one on the right is where I'll stable my horses.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:50 AM on October 6, 2008

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