How much money would it take to get you to dumpster dive? $100? $1,000? $10,000?

There was a story I told on air many years ago that caused an intense reaction among listeners. I had bought an electronics item that came with a $100 rebate. But you had to cut the UPC code cut out of box to get your rebate.

My wife was unaware of this and threw the box in our dumpster. So I took gloves and jumped in! I found the box, cut out the code, mailed it in and got my $100. "I can't believe you're that cheap" was a common refrain I remember hearing from listeners who heard and responded to my story.

I was reminded of all this when reading an article in Florida's Sun Sentinel titled, "It's hubby vs. landfill in search for wife's $10,000 diamond ring."

Here's how this one plays out: Brian McGuinn's pregnant wife gave him his ring before she went into the shower. By accident, he absent mindedly threw it out with a razor he had in hand (hope he used that blade for a year!)

The next day, after the trash was picked up, they realized what had happened: Her ring was at the landfill!

McGuinn being a dutiful husband goes to look for the ring amid all the trash. The sanitation team knew generally where their truck dumped his neighborhood's garbage, so at least they could point him in the right direction. Yet, even going on that, few people find things when they come to look for lost items at the landfill.

McGuinn was outfitted in a protective vest, goggles and full body jump suit before starting his search. "[It was] nastiness you wouldn't believe," he told the Sun Sentinel about the experience. "It was absolutely disgusting. It stunk beyond belief. The smell was God-awful. Everything unsanitary you could think of crossed my path at least a couple times."

Amazingly, he found the diamond!! Then when he got home, he "took an extraordinarily long shower and toothbrushes were used."

Now, a ring of that value was probably insured, but the sentimental value goes beyond the money. As for me, what would I do? I don't know. I think that situation might call for insurance!

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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