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2nd hand donating not the issue; rather, bringing home/ improper disposal

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  1. The Reluctant Entomologist

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Oct 14 2010 17:04:02
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    Okay, while I realize that even NEW clothing stores here in NYC seem to be getting infested, I'm going to, as always, take a radical (but correct! Hey, I'm an Aquarius; what can I say? We are nuts but always right!!!) stance and say that until things get much better,

    BAN DISTRIBUTION (sale, barter, whatever) OF 2ND-HAND STUFF!

    Hear me out: I used to be the thrift store queen, but I cut that crap out YEARS AGO, when I first heard of bbs. I didn't have to get them to know that this was a recipe for disaster. BTW, there are people close to me who benefit from the "vintage" economy and in a bad bb city & talk about "being careful" and "inspecting," etc., as though that's even easy for a professional. I can't seem to get them to understand how much money they will LOSE over this if they bring these things home, not to mention to what extent their lives will be utterly ruined, even though they know what I personally went through. I've been meaning to forward that article from the main page about garage sales, etc. to try to drive the message home to them.

    It truly does hurt my heart to a) not recycle everything possible, b) have to wear crappy made-in-China clothes if I'm to spend anywhere near comparable prices when I really have never had money to throw around and c) let all that cool stuff go to waste! (okay, just an elaboration on a and b). BUT...

    You can bet your you-know-what that there are perfectly well-intentioned people out there donating their stuff (or understandably self-concerned people selling it to places like Bedbug's Closet -- er, I mean, Beacon's closet. Whatever; they can bite me) w/o realizing they have bbs. Stuff that has been hanging, "clean," in their closets -- or folded, "clean" in their drawers.

    Without going into really horror-movie gory detail, let me just assure you that by the time I found the evidence, these suckers had been feasting on me for some time. You wouldn't have wanted stuff that I'D donated!

    While it's true you can get infested from new stuff these days, I say. what surer way to infest yourself than by bringing home a bunch of crap that was recently piled up a few feet from someone's bed (or stuff that's all smooshed up against other stuff that recently was?! Why not take out the middle man? Do not pass "go," do not spend $100 on a new, infested pair of sneakers...go directly to the bugs, or, better yet, bring them right on home with you.

    Oh, but you can run it through the Packtite first!

    Um, okay, sure. If you can get it home safely. How are you going to do that?

    I'm thinking of a place in the E. Village where I basically used to buy ALL of my clothes (and getting very, very sad, BTW). Every time I went there, I would 1) put my bag down on their carpeted floor next to the clothes racks to go through everything, 2) lug an armload into the dressing room and try it all on, 3) walk out of there with 2 shopping bags full of awesome stuff, having only spent $70 TOTAL (omg, I'm going to start crying, but at least I still wear all that stuff 5 yrs later; memories, memories...), and 4) come home and put that stuff in my dirty laundry hamper. (HAMPER? WTF is a hamper? My laundry goes in plastic bags now! HAMPER????)

    So...I'm all for thrift store shopping, don't get me wrong...

    ... so long as you shop naked. And bring nothing with you but 4 large contractor bags.

    I've read some crap about 2nd-hand places taking "precautions" by "spraying regularly." Puh-LEEEEZE!!!! Yeah, like all of us here know it's that simple. We all know that all you gotta do to keep from having bbs is just leave your piles of laundry out and hire someone to just come in and spray once a month. Sure! Wouldn't that be nice????

    As for truly DONATED stuff (like, donated for people who will get it for free b/c they have no clothing and quite possibly not even a home) I wonder...I recently finished reading poet Nick Flynn's memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City where he mentions that the homeless shelter where he'd worked in Boston had a "hot room" to try to give the people there some relief if there was a good chance that some of the stuff (not just stuff that can be put in a dryer, I assume) that they'd brought in could have torturous bugs in it. This sounds like a good idea, though expensive, of course, and a lot of people out on the street won't get a spot even in a shelter, unfortunately, even if all shelters did this.

    Anyway, I actually think the real ethical question is NOT about DONATING stuff (if it's been through the equivalent of the "hot room" and kept sealed) but, rather,

    1) improper disposal. (Yes, I agree that it's not necessarily the douchebag neighbors who drag their mattresses through your hallway you're so much concerned with, but I really don't think anyone who lives in a 1st floor apartment would be so quick to put untreated, unsealed, possible infested stuff out on the curb w/o first sealing it up in contractor bags so it doesn't look attractive to passersby and so there's no escape hatch come nightfall. I sure as hell don't appreciate it when I see unsealed stuff that has "hello, yummy neighbor!" written across it, in blood!)

    2) Bringing 2nd-hand stuff home. That, I think, is the biggest ethical violation of all here. In this day and age? Seriously? To me, bringing 2nd hand stuff home is a way of saying,

    a) I'm not the one who will have to pay for bb treatment (and just haven't realized yet what kind of hell I'm going to possibly have to go through bc of this "bargain" I just brought home, literally paying in blood and tears, etc.) and
    b) a great big "F U" to anyone else in your building too.

    Not that I have strong opinions about this topic or anything!

  2. nycyn

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Oct 14 2010 17:54:28
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    Things may get worse before they get better then it might be years before they are wiped out. Where will we be able to find you then? Sitting nude in a white plastic patio chair in the center of your empty apartment surrounded by post pack-tited cans of Ensure?

  3. toledo

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Oct 14 2010 17:54:45
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    This whole thing makes me sad. Our church raises at least $15,000 on two large rummage sales each year. We also have a furniture ministry. I just pulled one of the furniture guys aside and told him my story. He's out there buying up things at garage sales and then donating them to the poor. He doesn't even know what a bed bug looks like. I almost feel like I better go over to the warehouse and examine furniture for several hours. Even so, I feel like it's a losing proposition. Even if educated, it seems like such a tough problem to beat.

  4. nycyn

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Oct 14 2010 17:59:18
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    toledo - 3 minutes ago  » 
    This whole thing makes me sad. Our church raises at least $15,000 on two large rummage sales each year. We also have a furniture ministry. I just pulled one of the furniture guys aside and told him my story. He's out there buying up things at garage sales and then donating them to the poor. He doesn't even know what a bed bug looks like. I almost feel like I better go over to the warehouse and examine furniture for several hours. Even so, I feel like it's a losing proposition. Even if educated, it seems like such a tough problem to beat.

    Awwww. Feelings aren't facts.

  5. The Reluctant Entomologist

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Oct 14 2010 18:11:53
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    It IS sad (Reluctant E says, snorting a line of DE while sitting naked on her plastic furniture and downing her 2nd bottle of wine ).

    Is there any way all the stuff could be heated up first and kept sealed? I guess the problem is that with furniture that gets complicated and expensive.

    BTW, I completely agree w/you, NYCYN, that feelings aren't facts (and I liked the title of your post about this, btw!:) )

    But I also maintain (& I started on this rant posts and posts ago) that, equally, education ain't $ -- and it ain't the A-bomb we need to kill these MoFos without having to literally tear our lives apart and stuff them into plastic bags over and over again. And neither inspecting nor educating are the gigantic microscope you'd practically need in order to know for sure you're not bringing home a 6-legged Trojan horse with an extended family on the way...

  6. SearchandDestroy

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Oct 14 2010 21:19:04
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    Sad yes....but Reluctant E, you're cracking me up again. I can see you sitting there snorting and drinking on plastic! ha ha Oh man, this bug makes ya crazy. I have to say I'm okay with living with less furniture and I'm quite happy with metal these days, I'm also okay with snorting and drinking.

    But yeah, it's going to take a LOT to get people where they need to be on this. Even with the education (and I do believe more needs to be out there..so many are simply UNAWARE), people aren't going to stop living (except when they GET bbs..then life in it's blissfully unaware fashion does stop)...most are struggling just to go to work, raise kids, and LIVE..who has time for the search and destroy method that is needed for these PITBB (pain in the butt bugs). Really? Who has the time and energy for this. Not many.

    What in the world are we gonna do? Oh well, back to festering away (on my metal chairs).
    But I'm still laughing at the 6 legged trojan horse with extended family comment!

  7. trash-aint-treasure

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Dec 12 2011 4:42:56
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    The Reluctant Entomologist - 1 year ago  » 
    It IS sad (Reluctant E says, snorting a line of DE while sitting naked on her plastic furniture and downing her 2nd bottle of wine ).

    Lol I know what you mean. If only elevated blood alcohol levels poisoned those lil bastards


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