“We, the authors of this book, redefine scavenging as any way of legally acquiring stuff that does not involve paying full price.” [pg viii]
It’s definitely a manifesto, written in staccato, almost poetic sentences that read like a rallying speech. It makes you feel good to be a scavenger – proud and empowered about your unusual state. It makes you want to fly your freak flag. Early on, they liken standard consumers to screaming, pouting soiled brats [pg 9] and non-consumer scavengers to “capitalism’s naughty children, little rebels . . .” [pg 8] and tries to open your eyes to the fact that:
“Marketers have so mesmerized consumers that consumers see brand logos as their own logos, their new flags. Today the brand is the new nation, the new army, the new clan, the new religion, the new tribe. Consumers by the billions line up behind logo, vanish into logos, pour their income into brands.” [pg 12, emphasis original]
As the book moves along it addresses the misconceptions standard consumers have about scavengers (that they’re poor or desperate or penny pinching and that used merchandise is second-rate, dirty, or suspect) and the reasons scavengers scavenge (to save money or the environment, to survive, for the mystery and the thrill of the hunt, because we prefer an item with a past). It covers the history and economics of scavenging (Pointing out a little-known fact that reinforces why reusing is preferable to recycling: “If recycling is done inefficiently, then it can be a net loss in regard to energy consumption, compared to modern mining costs.” [pg 94, emphasis original]), while stressing that scavenging will always be a fringe, subculture activity because it feeds off of mainstream society’s cast-offs. If we were all scavengers the economy would break down.