The world’s a tough place, but I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. But hey, nobody promised you life would be easy.
As someone who has actively been associated with the scrap metal industry for 35+ years, I tend to be very opinionated when we talk scrap. Quite frankly I don’t think that those who collect and sell metals to a “scrap yard” are treated very fairly. Whether these scrappers are to blame or not we will explorer a little further into this article.
What The Outside World Sees In Scrappers
The public tends to look down on scrappers, often thinking that they are a “dirty” breed that lives on the outskirts of society. They lump sum all scrappers into an uneducated, unrefined, desperate category of people who they believe can’t find a decent job or make it in any other industry. Some pity them, some find them disgusting and some just plain ignore them. Those that ignore them are the ones I pity. I mean, let’s face it, life must be tough when you think they are so far up on the evolutionary scale that GOD has to take a seat behind you!
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth than what the public thinks. Some of the smartest, most educated, well-informed people I have ever met are scrappers. I will even bet that if you randomly pulled 10 scrappers from different areas of the country, 10 “ordinary” citizens from different areas of the country and tested both groups, then added and averaged their scores, the scrappers would have a higher IQ average than the “ordinary” citizens. Yeah, I know, unless you are a scrapper you are probably not buying this. But I gotta ask, what do you base that on? I mean, how many scrappers do you actually know? I mean really know? I bet I know your answer…NONE!
How Do Scrap Yards Look At Scrappers
The yards that the scrappers sell their merchandise tend to look down on scrappers also. I don’t know if that’s because they buy into the public view of scrappers or if they think they are so much better or smarter than the scrapper or if they are just so eaten up with greed that they would steal the pennies from a dead person eyes (yeah, I know, that’s kinda harsh but just bear with me here).
Now I gotta say this before I go any further, until the last few weeks I held a very negative view of all scrap yard owners. I wrote more than one article voicing my opinion that they (the yard owners) were a thieving, low life group of people who walked on the dark side of the street. They held no respect for the law, were void of any honor and could not even spell the word “integrity”, much less define it. Their number 1 objected was to put money in their pockets and their vehicle of choice was to steal it from those who are very merchandise was what kept them in business in the first place, from the scrappers.
My Perspective of the Scrap Metal World
Now, remember, I opened by saying I have been selling scrap for 35+ years in the Richmond / Hampton Roads area of Virginia. In this area, we have a lot of different scrap yards scattered around, much more than you have fingers and toes x2. I don’t know why so many but if I had to guess I would put my money on the fact we set on the Atlantic Ocean coastline and have the deepest deepwater port in the entire country. If it floats, no matter how big it is, you can float it in (or out) on the channel that leads to Norfolk. The way I viewed all scrap yards and yard owners were based entirely on my experience over those years with the yards in this area. That was a mistake on my part.
Never once did I ever think or consider that perhaps what went on in this part of the country was not representative of what was going on in other parts of the country. If all yards were crooks here then they must be crooks everywhere else. End of story!
People Connected in the Scrap Industry
Then two things happened within a couple of days of each other that made me doubt what I had believed to be a fact for the majority of my life. First thing was I made the acquaintance of someone who is the smartest, most knowledgeable person I have ever been so fortunate to meet in the e-scrap industry. Now I gotta say, prior to meeting this person I thought that I was walking at the top of the food chain when it came to e-scrap, can anyone say “dumb ass”? After I met this person it only took two days before I realized I was not even qualified to be in the same room they were in! They were light years ahead of me and even if I lived two lifetimes I would still have trouble catching up. A couple of days after that I also realized that this person IQ would rank in the top 5% of everyone in this country.
I developed a tight bond with this person and they agreed to help with the editing of a book I have been working on for the last two years. I needed someone with superior knowledge to fact-check what I had written and they were more than qualified to take on this task. One more note on the book then I will move on, its title is “E-Scrap Manual” and its aimed entirely at those who are actively involved in the scrapping and/or refining of precious metals business from e-scrap. If all goes well I hope to have it published by the end of this year, if not so well in the first quarter of the upcoming year.
My new friend lives in the great state of Iowa and has sold just about every form of e-scrap that you can think of. Two very important things he made me aware of, first- the e-scrap industry in Iowa is nothing like the e-scrap industry in Virginia. Fact is the e-scrap industry in Virginia is nonexistent when compared with that of Iowa. If it’s e-scrap then there is a business in Iowa that you can sell it to and turn a profit, does not matter what it is, someone will buy it. That was an eye-opener! Second- the majority of the yards in Iowa were honest and the dishonest yards were held to a scattered few. The dirty, underhanded, disgusting tricks that all yards subscribed to as standard business practice in Virginia were practically nonexistent in Iowa. Now that was a real eye-opener!
How I Changed Some Of My Thinking…
The second thing to happen, I read an article titled “Is It OK To Cheat The Scrap Yard”. I already held a low opinion of all scrap yards and those who owned them and was fed up with the article after it pointed the finger at scrappers for all the troubles and low opinions that fell on scrap yards. This article pushed me over the top and I could not help but respond to it. I was angry and probably should have waited a couple of days before writing my comment. I was so angry I didn’t even bother to look at who authored the article, I let it all out.
Pretty much I demanded to know why they ignored the widespread dishonest and dirty tricks the yards pulled on scrappers and refused to write an article on that. Why they choose to ignore the dishonesty that seemed to go hand-in-hand with the operation of a scrap yard. I told them that refusing to acknowledge the problem, to try and keep it hidden was fooling no one and would not make it disappear. I ended by throwing down the gauntlet and attempting to shame them into acknowledging the fact that this was the real reason for how the public viewed the industry of scrap.
Well, they picked up that gauntlet and wrote an immediate reply. It was then that I realized who had authored the article and that I knew and respected that person. It was the owner of the iScrap App and founder of its forum. Anyone know what crow taste like? I found out that day. Their reply was far more eloquent than what I had written and their insistence that the practice of stealing from the scrappers was not widespread and was practiced by very few where they operated their business.
It was then that I realized that I could not judge all the yards in this great country of ours by the yards in the area where I lived. So, for that error on my part, I must apologize to each and every scrap yard. and their owners, who choose to operate an honest business in the industry of scrap. I also apologize for the “black eye” I kept giving the scrap industry all because of the actions of a few.
OK, so the public thinks those of us who scrap are on the lower end of the evolutionary scale; the owners of the yards (where I live) think we are as “dumb as dirt” and they can steal from us whenever they so choose, and we who scrap are having a pity party wonder, “Why Me”. Like I said, no one ever promised life would be easy!
But wait for a second, are we who scrap blameless, without fault, for how we are thought of or treated? Are we? Hell No! We must share in the blame and accept the fact that we, the scrappers, the majority of us, are as much to blame for the yards decision to steal from us as the yards are for stealing from us in the first place. We, the scrappers of America. Made/make it possible for the yards to steal from our pockets and line theirs with that money.
We made it possible from the start, we still make it possible today and, unless each and every one of us wise up and make a few changes, will continue to make it possible far into the future. Is that what you want? To have someone steal from you, know that they are stealing from you and do nothing to make them stop? Is that what you want? Is that what you REALLY WANT?