What is wrong with people?

Each day I loose a little bit more faith in humanity's ability to survive. Apart from the fact that somewhere on the planet someone is blowing someone else up over money, land, energy or religious fanaticism; it's the simple local things that make me shake my head the most.

Today I was driving through my neighbourhood when I spotted something interesting in a pile of "rubbish" left on the verge for council cleanup. Almost resisting the wife's disembodied voice in the back of my head telling me to keep driving, I pull over and spot what caught my attention...a set of body-building weights. In fact it's almost identical to a set I already own; a ezy-curl bar with 2x6kg and 2x5kg weights and locking nuts. It's all a little bit rusty, but weights are weights right? I figure I could get at least $30 on ebay for the set, so I start lifting other stuff off them so I can put them in the back of the car.

Thats when I lift up what looks like a small suitcase. It catches my attention because its way heavier than what it should be. I release the funny latch on it and lift the lid to find a pristine condition Jamome model 611 electric sewing machine with foot pedal, instruction manual and about 20 rolls of cotton, pins, needles, scissors and other assorted sewing stuff.

In the foot of the machine is a test strip of cloth with multiple stitches sewn into it, and the needle and bobbin are still threaded.

I took it home, but I've only just now had the chance to open the case and have a good look at it. First things first...check the bobbin and shuttle. It looks like there are about 4 threads coming from the shuttle...something wrong there. The needle thread looks ok so I open the instruction manual and read up on how to release and thread the shuttle. A few attempts later and I successfully have two threads waiting lined up at the back of the needle waiting to sew.

I plug in the pedal and power cable and the light from the machine suddenly startles me. I didn't expect that to work without having to press a switch. In fact I really didn't expect the bulb to work at all.

I place the test strip of cloth under the foot and lower it. Gingerly, I nervously press the pedal by hand and get that characteristic sewing machine growl in return. I press a bit harder and the needle comes to life, dancing a simple straight stitch down the cloth. I gun the pedal a bit harder and I'm at the end of the cloth before I know it. I turn it around and start again, this time pressing the pedal to the floor, giving it full power. The needle is a blur as I race to the end of the cloth and come to a dead stop. I hit the reverse button and back up a few stitches, stop, raise the foot, cut the thread, inspect the cloth, and I have a perfect double line of straight stitching front and back.

So what has a sewing machine and a few body-building weights got to do with humanity's ability to survive the future? I'm glad you asked.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of this stuff, so why's it being thrown out? The weights might be a bit rusty but that doesn't effect their function in any way. A bit of paint would even fix that.

The sewing machine may be a bit old, but from what I can tell it is in perfect functional condition. The shuttle just wasn't threaded right.

So the people who owned them may not have needed them anymore, though I can't fathom why. The simple answer to that is sell them. They certainly aren't rubbish, and even rich people don't just throw good things out without seeing if they can't get something in return for them first. That's why they are rich.

Get a few bucks by having a garage sale or selling them on ebay. It's what I'm going to do with the weights, and only because I already have a set the same.

The sewing machine though is an absolute polished gemstone. It was made back in the days when things were built to last generations, but even then it doesn't look like it has seen much use. So what if it doesn't have an LCD display, USB input or wireless pedal? And why throw out the cotton and all the other stuff?

The clues are there and I think I've pieced them together.

This isn't a situation where the family has just bought a shinny new sewing machine and thrown their old one out. They don't sew. At all. Ever. If they did they wouldn't have thrown out all the cotton and other useful stuff. Which means when their clothes get tattered, as clothes these days do way too quickly, they don't fix them. They throw them out and buy new ones. Holes in your socks? Throw them out. Holes in the knees of your jeans? Throw them out. Need to sew on a button that's come off your shirt? Don't bother wearing it any more until its unfashionable then throw that out too.

These people are the definition of the disposable society. A society that expects oil to be cheap and last forever. A society that has no thought for the landfill required to dispose of all their useful, unwanted items. A society that has an attention span so limited that it can't read a set of instructions and thread a bobbin and shuttle on a sewing machine correctly.

And the scary thing is these people are the norm. They are the majority. They are the supreme rulers of the planet right now simply because they are the biggest consumers with all the latest gadgets and designer clothes.

I guess I shouldn't be too harsh though. They are probably single handedly keeping the economy ticking along at the moment.

Can you tell I'm angry? Angry and happy at the same time. Happy that I was lucky enough to spot this stuff before a big storm come through and ruined the sewing machine forever. It's mine now. I'll use it to repair stuff that breaks, and when it breaks I'll repair it too so I can keep using it. Then I'll teach my children how to use it, and when I break and turn back into stardust, one of them will get to keep it.

This is how life is meant to be, but its how the majority of life isn't.




  • calliecatcalliecat south burnett QLD
    I would've been over the moon finding the cottons, never mind the rest
  • Yes, they could've sold it on E-bay. But if that might've seem too difficult, there is also Freecycle. Though some people may just be way too lazy to get out of their way to do the right thing. It is much easier to simply chuck it out. Out off sight, out off mind!
  • What a find RW! My mum has a sewing machine very similar which she has had since high school. She has it serviced every so often (10 years or so!) when it's getting a bit tired, but other than that it works a treat! When I bought my first sewing machine a year or 2 ago, they all had digital screens etc and I just wanted something like mum's! What a find!
  • Fantastic find, RW. I totally agree with you. And I do so love the way you tell a story.
  • Fantastic find! I'd be rapt if I found that.

    What is sad is that they were too lazy to donate it to the local op shop even.
  • I agree with you rw the mindset of some folk is very, very scary. And these are mostly the ones who will be running wild when the shtf. They don't seem to understand 'waste' and they don't seem to have the ability to think laterally.

    My motto is if you can't use something yourself, give it to someone else who can.

  • Op shops can't take electrical items any more though. If it were me, I'd have at least put it out with a sign on it saying 'sewing machine, probably fixable, please take'. Actually if it were me, this wouldn't have happened at all! This disposable society is depressing.
  • Fantastic find.

    I'm with Calliecat I would have been happy with just the cottons and scissors.
  • Speaking from recent experience ,I wonder if there was a death in the family and they were just desperate to get rid of stuff. Hard to imagine somebody who has an older machine like that who also uses weights though. Hang on- that's me! I know when my mum recently passed we had to get her stuff out of her rented home quickly so it was a case of a lot of stuff going to the op shop which was just behind her place or bringing it home- which is why my spare room is full of stuff that I need to find a home for.It is really unbelievable that it could be just dumped though.I have my mum's new machine here now but my machine is almost identical to the one you picked up and I am more inclined to hang on to mine as, like you, I reckon things built in those days last longer.Unfortunately the youngies have no experience of things that were built to last.Having said that my daughter and her partner have furnished their house with stuff from ebay, good old solid timber(no chipboard) stuff that saved them literally thousands. Its just that the box of threads looked like it belonged to an older person.

    its good that you gave this lovely machine a new appreciative home :tup:
  • :jawdrop: a sewing machine .... I had a hard time thowing mine out it couldn't be fixed but I loved that machine so much DH bought it for me when the kids were little ... so instead of dumping it I gave it to a sewing machine repairer at least it had a chance to help another.

    Some people have more money than sense, when we go to Brisbane I look at all the stuff and think "how would I get that home?" such things as solid timber doors, old fidges/freezers, sheets of old tin, tables and chairs the list just goes on and on.
  • Sue e I was thinking the same thing. When my mother died, my brother wanted everything gone in a hurry so he disposed of everything before the rest of us had time to think about what to do with it. People these days are decluttering, a strange concept to some, so find these unnecessary items as a pain in the neck. But I do agree with you RW but why get angry over something you can't stop. Just use the goodies and consider yourself a winner for saving it.

  • Our op shops are full of electrical items :)
  • good find RW

    Im one of those declutters at the moment, I want to come home from work and have everything in its place, Its doing my head in.

    Last day of work today, for 6 weeeks and Im gonna rip into getting rid of everything that doesnt have a spot for it.

    I know that sometimes its just easier to dump stuff on the verge pickup

    I know that when I have done that, I figured someone would be along to pick through what Ive popped out the front

    In fact when I moved states and had a skip bin out the front, I had people going through the skip bin
  • Guess where I got my sewing machine from RW? Same as you, hard rubbish. I stopped because I thought it might have a spare foot pedal that I could use on my grandmas machine. When I opened it at home, it was in mint condition. It was threaded, had an instruction manual and had an old lady smell. It was a little dusty on the outside, the inside was perfect. It looked brand new. Its the most basic of basic machines, but I too could not understand why it was in hard rubbish at all. :S
  • Amazing that we have almost identical stories gypsyoak.

    After checking eBay and various other sites today for a button presser foot for my new machine, the best I could do was find a foot for other Janome models, but not mine, for around $50!

    I decided to visit my local sewing supply shop. I told the kind lady behind the counter my story, which she couldn't believe, but she then ratted through some compartments and came out with the exact presser foot for my machine.

    She gave it to me for free.

    I ended up buying a few boobins as well, but I'm quite chuffed now that I can sew back on buttons easily without drawing blood, and it didn't cost me a cent.

    Momentarily my faith in humanity has been restored. I'm sure it won't last long ;)

  • Great stories - enjoy your machine rw.Just a warning re picking up stuff from the roadside.Some of you may recall the harrowing trip we had back from Brisbane after I grabbed up a mower catcher, for a chook nest, in heavy traffic.Only had time to chuck it on the back seat and half way down the motor way at 110Km a HUGE huntsman spider crawled up from between the front seats!! :jawdrop: A lot more to that story but you get the picture!! :laugh: :laugh:

    Tomorrow I am having a market stall with the better stuff from my declutter.
  • I love old sewing machine stories, and that one is lovely!

    I have three machines at the moment. They're all much (MUCH) older than I am and I just love how well their made, all solid and metal and beautiful at the same time. I didn't get so lucky as to find them on the side of the road, but the most I've paid is $30.. but that was for the treadle machine. I havn't tried it out yet, but I'm sure when electricity is too expensive to have, I'll be glad I've got it!) haha.. I sound like a hoarder. :blush:

    My favourite one (I feel guilty saying that!) is in it's own cabinet and came with all the attachments etc.. it would have been worth a small fortune in it's day. My first one I hold a soft spot for, but don't use much because it requires special (harder to get) needles.

    They're all 1957-ish Singers and they all work perfectly.
  • Hard rubbish finds are great aren't they!

    RW, I'm with whoever (Deb?) suggested don't bother with the anger, just enjoy your find. In the end, unless we each become a dictator of our own kingdom (highly unlikely!) we really can't control the behaviour of others.

    One of our best finds was when one of my boys noticed a stereo system down the street that neighbours had put out for hard rubbish. Amp, radio tuner, cd player but no speakers. Hubby went down and knocked on the door, but no one home, so he picked it up. All in perfect working order. Meant that middle son could finally use the big old speakers his dad has had kicking around for the last 15 years unused and he's had them in his room hooked up to his computer enjoying a "surround sound" of sorts.

    These days too many people are asset rich but time poor and they just can't be bothered going to the trouble to find new homes for things they no longer want. I agree it's a shame that lots gets wasted and taken off to the tip, but I'd suggest that there are enough like us who find things to take home and re-use ourselves, freecycle or sell on. I've seen people with utes and trailers doing the rounds on hard rubbish collection days, I'm sure for them it's a serious business. Like doing garage sales, you have to get up early if you want to find anything decent.
  • Its the way of the world, I have always been a sewer, never understood why others dont see what a useful and creative craft it is. I also learnt enough blacksmithing and household repair skills to keep us going mostly. Nowadays you are hard pressed to find anyone who can replace a button. Am I mad about it too, yep. What can I do? teach my own children and anyone else who will listen that repair is better than replace.

    My Janome was a secondhander to start with, much older than yours. The first owner was an Olympic gold medallist, so just her notes in the user booklet were quite special. It passed on thru freecycle, I have my mums Elna now, although at 30+ years it is a bit dated, it was and remains a dam good machine.

    Girls winter uniform for school is $85, but as actual colour and style isnt important, Ive bought a $5 wool pleated ladies skirt from opshop which will become a winter tunic.

    Julia is generously offering tax discounts for school uniform now, will never claim because I wont spend more than $20 per school year on uniform. More important to spend on learning materials than what they wear! Wish there was a way Julia could pay $50 for every uniform handmade or recycled, then I would make a killing.

    Son needs a costume for New Years Party too, sure we can come up with a goodie from what we have.
  • mudhen post=332920 wrote: In the end, unless we each become a dictator of our own kingdom (highly unlikely!) we really can't control the behaviour of others.
    I'm trying, but my plans for world domination have not been realised yet. Give me time though...

    I've already put the Janome to good use; I've given it to my MIL. She's and old dressmaker, and her current machine is plastic junk. I'm loath to remove it from my household but I really can't do it the type of justice she can, and she'd probably end up repairing my clothes and the kid's anyway.

    As the wife drove past the same junk pile this morning, she spotted a boys bike. I again pulled over in the ute and recovered the bike and a scooter. The boy (just turned 4) doesn't have a bike so this will suit him until he needs something more serious.

    To continue with my previous rant, 90% of the "junk" that was originally in this pile has been removed by people helping themselves. I probably got about 40% of it, and trust me, none of it is junk.
  • Im surrounded by normal people too. My family is so sick of random junk christmas presents that they wont give anything to my little ones, 3 and 6. Neither knows what it feels like to get a pressie from an uncle, aunt, grandparent, cousin.

    This year I want them to feel special, so we getting a charity hamper. At least someone cares...

    In my pic, from last year, Ellie was given some balloons from a market stall at the end of the day, she is blissfully happy!
  • Greth post=332935 wrote: Im surrounded by normal people too. My family is so sick of random junk christmas presents that they wont give anything to my little ones, 3 and 6. Neither knows what it feels like to get a pressie from an uncle, aunt, grandparent, cousin.

    This year I want them to feel special, so we getting a charity hamper. At least someone cares...

    In my pic, from last year, Ellie was given some balloons from a market stall at the end of the day, she is blissfully happy!

    Oh Greth how pitiful and spiteful to not give pressies to your children. I can't understand how anyone can do that to children, poor innocent little darlings. :hug:

    I hope the hamper is a beauty. :kiss:

    Love and Light,

    Bobbs :hug: :hug: :hug:
  • Bobbee post=332949 wrote:

    Oh Greth how pitiful and spiteful to not give pressies to your children. I can't understand how anyone can do that to children, poor innocent little darlings. :hug:

    I hope the hamper is a beauty. :kiss:

    Love and Light,

    Bobbs :hug: :hug: :hug:

    I agree with Bobbee, but my DH (60yrs) never had a present they were sent pressies from Holland but the kids never got them, cleanng up and just finding them now Donald Duck in Dutch I can read the pictures :laugh:
  • :whistle: Our family is one who puts out perfectly good, working items in the hard rubbish pile.


    We believe 100% in reusing, recycling and passing it around. Problem is we live away from our family and apart from a few friends we've made we don't know many people in our area which makes it difficult to pass things on. We don't have room to hold onto stuff forever. We take what we can to the op shop but some things just don't fit in our small car. People on Freecycle quite often never turn up to pick up what they asked for. Some stuff is difficult to post if we use Ebay.

    So we use the kerbside pile. Because we know that people are out combing the piles for useful items. Many drive around, trailer in tow to seek out some treasures. Pretty much only the rubbish is left for the council to pick up. We do take care not pile things up though so that it's easy to spot what is on offer.

    This is the only effective way we have of trying to pass on the bulky, large, heavy items.

    ♥ There's nothing wrong with us.♥


  • I have a heap of perfectly good stuff to get rid of,

    most charities are picky about coming to pick up items today, and if you dont drive, its hard to take the 6 large bin liner bags of linen, the 1000's of books, the computer desk, to the actual charities.

    people suggest ebay, but that could end up costing me more money in the long run

    so I am organising a skip bin, for the day before christmas, so I can spend my time decluttering over the christmas break.

    my bedroom was done last night, though it still looks like a poopfight, it has eased some of the pressure off my mind
  • Makes a lot of sense VickiB for folk living in regular kerbside hard rubbish areas. :tup:
  • I encouraged Mum to do the same when she was moving out. She gradually put items out on the kerb and we made a sign that said 'help yourself'. All the good stuff got taken leaving next to nothing for the council. As others have said, many charities these days are very picky with what they will take. If you don't know someone who wants what you are giving away, it makes it hard.

    That's the problem in the first place though, isn't it? The fact that people want it all, want it perfect and aren't willing to take second-hand. It would be good if more councils had a swap station at the tip or similar for people to come and collect unwanted items.....
  • We had some old Prema pine posts hubby didn't want and our dump is so expensive I don't take anything there anymore. So I put them out the front with a sign and they were gone with in 10 minutes.

    My Neice in Melbourne found herself a lovely outdoor setting the ones with the plastic piping 6 chairs and a table on the side of the road.

    Son found a lovely plastic dolls house for Bubs she plays for hosurs with it. It came with all the furniture. She said the other day when she gets to big for it another little girl can have it.

    After the experience of selling the truck and the guy demanding his money back as he had changed his mind I am very wary of Ebay and Gumtree from now on. The threats this idiot made was reported to the police here and in Victoria where he was from. We got the truck back but her was made to sign papers in fron tof a police sargent that if he contacts us again he will be charged. I know not all are like him but people like him put a nasty taste in your mouth for a long time

    Nicest thing I have heard of this Christmas is my friends daughter and her 3 sons and eldest sons girlfriend are doing for Christmas day they are serving dinner to homless people at Wesley Mission in Adelaide. The girls father has even gotten Coles to donate all the pudding for them to give to the homeless people. These boys are 17 = 12-11 and their mother has a serious problem with her health :hug: :hug: :kiss:
  • There isn't any hard waste here where we are, but we did notice a neighbour across the street having a tree cut down earlier in the year. Once they were done, all the wood was in a nice pile on the nature strip with a sign saying "free". :) YAY! We filled the ute and now it's drying in our shed for next winter. :clap:

    Everything goes to the tip here (I guess the council assumes everyone has a ute or trailer).. and it costs a pretty penny to dump. The guy who runs it (on behalf of the council) then sifts through it, puts the stuff he thinks is worth money aside, and charges another pretty penny for people like us to take away again. It's better than nothing, but a bit harsh IMO. :dry:
  • Last hard rubbish i got Thousands of $$ worth but the day the council trucks came around there was still so much perfect stuff going into land fill. My best grabs were a De Longhi Magnifica coffee machine worth....even now $350 on Ebay second hand. Works perfect. A gas heater worth about $200 on ebay right now....also works perfect.

    What is wrong with people? My mate just proudly posted that he's upgraded the family to 3 x iphone 4s. They all had iphones already but only 4 not 4s. i sat there and watched while my mate sent his daughter an email 2 metres away and his wife sent their son a text message to his bedroom to say tea's ready. They are in the process of throwing away nearly everything and replacing them with European branded stainless steel appliances. Meanwhile China are sending us ocean liners full of stuff that is only stopping briefly in our homes on the way to landfill. Money corrupts everything absolutely. Everybody has not enough of it. Everybody has too much of it.
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