|Diagram by Søren Peo Pedersen|
Not only do they have sub-par picture quality compared to the flat panels we all love, they’re ridiculously bulky, often being longer than they are wide. And if you need to move one, good luck, because those things—even the smaller computer monitors—are stupidly heavy.
You might own one. Lots of people still have these things. A couple years ago when mine broke, I went to go buy a new TV, but all the flat-panels were still close to $1000, so I settled for yet another CRT at the entirely reasonable price of $180. Then, for my birthday this year, my brother finally bought me a nice LCD TV, so it was time to sell the giant boob tube.
|TV for sale; dog not included|
Now I’ve sold tons of things on Craigslist, some of it entirely useless: Pyrex cookware, a kitchen knife, old mysterious power amps, a broken subwoofer (fully disclosed damage), eight-year-old computer motherboards, and a drum machine from 1986 among other things, and most of those items were in the $30-50 range, so I expected this TV to be picked up by somebody. Nope. The ad expired without a single inquiry, not even from a scammer who would want to know if “my frend can pick up it.”
So I reposted the ad. Maybe it was a rough time of year, and no one was looking for a TV. It’s in perfect working condition! It’s all black! It’s only $20! Nothing. Meanwhile, it sat collecting dust in my second bedroom.
Finally, I decided it was time for the thing to go. I had been collecting a pile of useless stuff to donate to Goodwill for quite a while, including some broken computer parts that I didn’t want to take to the dump and pay to dispose of. I know this makes me sound like a bad person, but I figure I’ll just take all my crap to Goodwill, and if it works, they’ll sell it, and if it doesn’t they’ll take it to the dump for me. Hooray! Plus, I’ve donated at least $1000 worth of stuff that I was too lazy to sell, so I’ve earned my money, I think.
I put the TV in my car, and as I was carrying it, I remembered thinking, “This is the last time I’ll ever have to move one of these things.” It was a particularly liberating thought, considering that it weighed close to 100 pounds. I also took a bag of clothes, a bag of shoes, a CRT monitor I’d been trying to sell on Craigslist for six months, a broken flat-panel monitor, and two old computer cases which I had crammed full of broken disc drives, video cards, and power supplies, and drove all of it to the donation center. When I pulled in, a young guy came out and looked in the car.
“Are those CPUs?” He asked. Technically, yes, there were CPUs in the computer cases, so I confirmed it. “Okay, I’ma have you leave those in the car and take them over to that dumpster.” Fine with me. That’s easier than driving them to the county dump. He took the TV inside. I waved goodbye.
For some reason, as he was taking the computer monitor inside, I pulled one of the computer cases out of the car. “No, no, leave that in the car! I need you to take it to the dumpster over there,” he said, pointing behind the dry cleaners across the parking lot. I put it back. He took the clothes inside, and I pulled the flat panel monitor out from under the passenger seat.
“Oh man, another monitor?” he said. “Hell yeah, I’ma get that too. I’m gettin' off in about five minutes,” he said to me. “Take that to the dumpster, too.” It had become very clear to me that he was scamming Goodwill. By acting as the gateway to donations, he could pick which items he’d take home with him to sell for personal profit. It didn’t matter to me at all.
“Okay, so you see that dumpster over there? Just put all that stuff on the ground behind it. Thanks a lot, man.” I obliged him by driving all three items over there and leaving them where they belonged: In a pile of garbage. I would have felt bad about aiding him in defrauding a non-profit organization, but everything he asked me to hold onto was completely broken, while everything that went inside was working perfectly fine. He actually helped both myself and Goodwill by taking the burden of electronics disposal off of both of us. I wonder how pissed off he was when he found out that all that stuff was trash. Well, that’s karma!
However, his actions say a lot about the worth of a CRT television. His keen eye for materials worth fencing determined that the totally intact television was worthless, while all that broken crap translated into money. It turns out that a CRT television isn’t even worth someone taking for free.
I’ll check out Goodwill in a few days and see if it’s out on display. Only then will we see what someone else thinks the thing is worth. Follow @torqtorq