For my penance, or in legal speak from my DUI, I am to perform 200 hours of community service. Working for free sucks, but at least I wasn't required to don an orange jump suit and pick up trash with the Sheriff's department looking over my shoulder (aka "Cool Hand Luke") as has been known to happen. That shit isn't cool. At all.
To repay my debt to society, I was allowed to choose my form of service; I figured what better way than to benefit the gay community in Chicago than donate my time and energy to an organization that directly provides health benefits to "family", as it were. So I work, for free, in a thrift store - the proceeds of which support said cause.
It's been years since I worked in retail, and although there are many tasks that need attending to, my favorite, by far, is clothing salvage. This task requires digging, sorting and laughing at the shit clothes people donate. Example: just today I was pulling stuff out of broken cardboard box, and mixed in with random GAP sweaters, I found...gasp...a leather thong!
The image above is what I started with earlier this week. It's about 12 feet tall, 22 feet long and 15 feet wide. It's a LOT OF SHIT. I sort through every bag and determine what can be sold in house, and what needs to be salvaged, that is sent to 3rd world countries, or recycled into what-the-fuck ever clothes can be remade into. Perhaps park benches. Or clothes for pets.
In three hours today I filled about 100 large garbage bags of shit that won't sell, but also found a plethora of quality stuff; in fact just today I found and bought a pair of black leather Kenneth Cole dress shoes - similar to a pair I bought years ago for $120, these set me back a not so whopping $2.75! So this shit "job" has it's benefits.
Far and away, the second best benefit is all these new people I've met. Punks, the Elderly, Lesbians, etc - every time I go in I meet a new and interesting person with at least a somewhat fascinating background. But on the real, it feels SO GOOD to simply help a worthwhile cause, at least in a minor way.