Say what you will about capitalism, it has its place! If there’s a demand, a supplier will appear. And the latest business I’ve run across is so perfectly American that I can’t help but admire it, although it makes me cringe a little at the same time. Pehaps you’ve heard of it: 1-800-Got-Junk.

This is a business that exists because we’ve got too much stuff and no time (or desire) to deal with it. Some nice, uniformed employees will come to your house and haul away a whole truckload of stuff you don’t want for a little over $500 (here in Chicago; pricing varies by location). Plus they recycle or donate some 60% of what they take away, and they’ll sweep up the place after they’ve emptied it out.

I so enjoy the irony. We work long hours to earn money to buy stuff, and then we pay people to come take it away, all the while complaining that we don’t have enough time or money! And it’s not just one or two of us; the company expects to earn around $150 million in revenue this year.

In the time that I’ve worked for ELCA World Hunger I’ve become much more aware of what I buy and what I waste. Here’s to hoping that once the truck leaves my house and I have a cleanly-swept floor, I won’t set to work filling it again.

— Nancy Michaelis