From Fyodor007: Hello Kitty has really changed since I was a kid...
From an RHUer:
I dunno why, but this actually pisses me off...employers treat us like crap and accuse us of theft, and if we took disposed goods from our stores, it's still theft...but he does it, and there's a fucking article about him."
Matt Malone doesn’t mind being called a professional dumpster diver. He tells me this a little after 2 am on the morning of July 7 as we cruise the trash receptacles behind the stores of a shopping center just off the Capital of Texas Highway in Austin. Given the image that conjures, though, it’s worth pointing out that Malone has a pretty good day job, earning a six-figure salary as a security specialist for Slait Consulting. He is also founder of Assero Security, a startup that he says has recently been offered seed money by not one but two separate investors. Nevertheless, the 37-year-old Malone does spend a good many of his off-hours digging through the trash. And the fact is, he earns a sizable amount of money from this activity—more per hour than he makes at his Slait job.
Malone stops his Chevy Avalanche next to the dumpster in back of an Office Depot. Within seconds, he’s out of the truck and sticking his magnetized flashlight to the inside of the dumpster’s wall. He heaves himself up onto the metal rim to lean inside and begins digging through a top layer of cardboard and packing materials. Half a minute later I hear what I will learn is Malone’s version of eureka: “Hell yes! Hell yes!” He comes out with a box containing a complete Uniden Wireless Video Surveillance System—two cameras and a wireless monitor—which normally retails for $419. A quick inspection reveals that it’s all in perfect condition, although someone has clearly opened and repacked it. “A return,” he says, then plunges back into the dumpster.
Ten minutes later, when he’s again behind the wheel of the Avalanche, Malone continues to tell me about the material benefits of dumpster diving. If he were to dedicate himself to the activity as a full-time job, he says, finding various discarded treasures, refurbishing and selling them off, he’s confident he could pull in at least $250,000 a year—there is that much stuff simply tossed into dumpsters in the Austin area. He lists a few recent “recoveries”: vacuums, power tools, furniture, carpeting, industrial machines, assorted electronics. Much of it needs a little love, he says, but a lot of it, like this Uniden system, is in perfect condition.
But, he quickly adds, his foraging isn’t just about dollars. It’s also about the knowledge he acquires and the people he shares it with. He prefers to be known as a “for-profit archaeologist.” After all, archaeologists have always studied garbage. The esteemed William Rathje, who established the Garbage Project at the University of Arizona, observed shortly before his 2012 death that refuse, more than anything else human beings produce, “gives us insight into the long-term values of a civilization.”
As for Malone, the main insight he’s obtained from digging through our civilization’s trash is that most people don’t place a lot of value in value anymore.
To read the rest of Matt's trash to treasure story click on over to WIRED.
From Huff Po:
WASHINGTON -- In a move that could alter the minimum wage debate and improve the image of the world's largest retailer, Walmart announced it will raise the baseline wage of its current store employees to $10 per hour, bringing pay hikes to an estimated 500,000 workers.
The company said in an announcement on Thursday that it would raise its wage floor to $9 in April, followed by a second boost to $10 by next February.
The decision follows similar moves by other major retailers such as Gap and IKEA, but the sheer size of Walmart sets the company apart. The Arkansas-based retailer is the largest private-sector employer in the U.S., with an estimated 1.4 million employees, and it is largely seen as a trend-setter in the retail industry.
On a quarterly earnings call aligned with the announcement, Doug McMillon, the company's CEO, said raising wages would be good for both employees and customers.
"Overall, these are strategic investments in our people to reignite the sense of ownership they have in our stores," McMillon said. "As a result, we firmly believe that our customers will benefit from a better store experience, which can drive higher sales and returns for our shareholders over time."
According to a Walmart spokesman, the new wage floors will apply to current employees. New hires next year will be earning at least $9, but will be bumped up to at least $10 per hour after roughly six months of training.
Walmart has long been saddled with a reputation as a low-wage employer, and its battles with labor unions -- in particular the United Food and Commercial Workers union -- stretch back decades. In recent years, labor groups have organized high-profile worker strikes to coincide with the company's Black Friday shopping events, pillorying the retailer over its pay practices.
The across-the-board pay hikes should help rehabilitate that image. They will probably also help Walmart improve customer service in its stores. Over the past two years, bare shelves in Walmart supercenters have become a common sight. A report from a research firm last year traced the troubles in part to a lack of investment in the company's labor.
The pay hikes could also help lawmakers in Congress pushing to raise the federal minimum wage, which has remained at $7.25 per hour since 2009. Democrats have proposed hiking the wage floor to $10.10 per hour and tying it to an inflation index, but Republicans in both chambers have blocked the measure from moving forward.
The proposal is extremely popular among Americans in general, polling with broad approval that crosses party lines. The decision by Walmart could make Republicans look even more out-of-touch.
With Congress gridlocked, many states have moved ahead with raises to their own minimum wages, with a slate of ballot measures passing in the November elections. For the first time ever, a majority of states now have a higher minimum wage than the federal level.