The brief story of my failed university book collection box experiment.
Textbook season has drawn to a close, so I’ll tell the story about one creative sourcing idea that didn’t exactly work, but could in the future.
I’ve been dumpster diving since high school. One of the most spectacular experiences for any dumpster diver is the dorms at any major university during the end of the semester. Discarded books are always in abundance, though I never took more than a few until I started selling on Amazon in 2007.
I won’t say where I was living, but one year a friend (and Amazon seller) and I weren’t going to be in town for the big weekend after the semester ended, when most trash was discarded. We knew among that trash would be possibly thousands of books, and regretted that we wouldn’t be there for it. So we came up with a cool plan.
We went to the U-Haul store, where I paid for the only box I’ve ever purchased in my life. Normally I would have dumpstered a box as well, but we need something that looked very new. It was a box that sat vertical about 3 feet high. We cut a slot in the top and posted a sign on top that read “Place Books Here.” We put the box beside what we determined would be the busiest dumpster that weekend, and left.
The idea of course was that any student hauling their old books to the dumpster would see the box and comply with the signs request to put books in it. Did this happen? We don’t really know. When we came back 4 days later, the box was gone.
I think most experiments aren’t really failed ones as long as you carry them out, and we get credit for trying. I don’t know what the fate of that box was, but there is no reason this couldn’t be done again very successfully. Had I to do it again, I would place dozens of boxes around campus, weigh the boxes down, and check on them every day.
That’s the story.
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