Metal Market

I was trying to get rid of a propane tank. It was taking up room in the garage and the fittings were obsolete so it was no longer something we could use. The county site referred me to Express Metals but the guy who answered the phone said they weren’t interested. Metals, he said, that’s what we take.

So I dug around some more and found five old metal open house tent signs. They are dangerous things. When you lift them in and out of your trunk there’s a fair chance you’ll slip and nick your bumper, or worse yet chip the paint. Open house signs have been made of plastic for several decades. This was my opportunity to get the ancient ones off their hanger on the garage wall and find out exactly where all the junkers drop off their aluminum cans.

The warehouse space was centrally located on one of those back streets lined with one-level commercial spaces. The sign was barely visible at the entrance alongside the chain-linked double gate that I assumed was closed and locked at night. You drive on past a row of dumpsters and a concrete building until the signage above an office door identifies where to bring your drop off.

As you enter, the first thing you see is this display of accepted items. I thought the headings were appropriately categorical.

One of the workers pointed back out toward the parking lot to a line of trolleys. I took the non-verbal communication and rolled my meek pile of metal onto the floor scale wondering about its value. A middle aged woman at the adjacent window was strong arming a large carton box of brass fittings. I had a feeling they were worth more. My ticket came up.

A hand extended into a pointed finger directing me to the scanner at the counter to the left of the metals display. The bar code instructed the cash dispenser to spit out my buck. Now you might think that’s not much. But given we had just paid a transfer station $120 to dispose of some construction debris- this at least was a benefit instead of a cost.