March 30th, 2009
04:01 PM ET

Taking in the trash

An adventure in the thrifty, nifty world of die-hard scavenging, where you won't believe what you can find if you just know where to look.

Katharine Mieszkowski

Kristan Lawson's legs are dangling out of the mouth of a Dumpster, as if he's being eaten alive. Inside, the scavenger is grabbing loaf after loaf of freshly baked bread. This isn't just any bread; it's rarefied artisanal bread, the kind of baguettes and ciabattas that are displayed as impulse purchases in their own tempting wooden stand near the checkout at posh grocery stores, because shoppers just can't resist them, despite the eye-popping prices.

The price is free at this Dumpster behind a bakery in an East Bay neighborhood. Lawson, 48, hands the spoils off to Anneli Rufus, 49, his wife of almost 20 years. He opens his backpack to reveal another empty bag, which he takes out and stuffs with about 15 loaves of bread, which they will freeze and eat for weeks to come.


Filed under: Economy
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Jim

    In the early 1980's that was how I had to survive in Fresno
    I'd allways find enough change where I could at least get a McDonalds .39 cent burger. I'm in survival mode right now

    March 30, 2009 at 8:59 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    Sounds like a good way to get some interesting things and have an adventure at the same time..I just don't know though if I could ever bring myself to eat any food, no matter how well wrapped, that was in a dumpster – even if it was fancy, expensive bread.

    March 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm |