Home & Yard Blvd. Section
“The junk marines are here!” This was the hue and cry of one client when 1-800-GOT-JUNK arrived at the scene of a particularly dire urban jettison.
“We are a full-service junk-removal company,” Anthony Stamson, owner of the Southwest Metro franchise, explains. “Some people rent a dumpster, and haul stuff out of their houses and into the dumpster. Well, we take that concept one step further: We come out with two guys in a truck, and we’ll actually do all the work. If you’ve got crap down in the basement, we’ll haul that old couch up. We’ll go up in the attic. We’ll go wherever in the house you have it, so you don’t have to lug everything out yourself.”
This lugging well might represent multiple facets of capitalism’s dark side.
“We’re a consumer society,” Stamson observes, “and everything you buy nowadays has a life span. No one buys furniture that’ll last a hundred years anymore. The other thing is, we live in bigger and bigger houses than our parents did. We have more and more space, so we’re not forced to make that decision: ‘Should I keep this, or should I throw it away?’ We tend to put it aside until we say, ‘OK, now we need to make this decision:’ And that’s where 1-800-GOT-JUNK comes in—the point where they have too much stuff.”
Throwing away garbage these days can sometimes feel more like throwing a boomerang.
“From a legal, regulatory, and personal standpoint, it’s not as easy to get rid of stuff anymore,” Stamson notes. “In the old days, you could take anything you want to the garbage can, and you could pile it at the end of the driveway, and the guy would take it. Nowadays, electronics have to be recycled—they can’t go into the trash anymore. Appliances have to go to a special recycler. About 60 percent of what 1-800-GOT-JUNK picks up, we recycle. Actually, I don’t think anything I pick up goes to the landfill.”
So, who employs the service?
“A little bit of everybody,” Stamson shares. “When I got into the business, I kind of expected it to be high-end customers, but it’s really not. The bulk of the business is the busy family where both [spouses] are working, with a couple of kids to chase around. They just don’t have time to mess with [junk disposal]. We also get a lot of business from older people who physically can’t do it themselves. The people who live in condos Downtown have gotten to be a big one, too, because they’re just not set up to do that kind of thing. [Our customer base] is really a gamut—it’s really all over the board.”
According to Stamson’s experience, people who want to perform a preemptive strike on clutter need to consider seriously their biggest purchases before committing, because such purchases eventually will be piffle.
Interestingly, disposing of this flotsam is a kind of abstract home renovation.
After all, Stamson says, “The cheapest way to add space to your house is to get rid of the junk.”