125 Times People Couldn’t Believe Their Luck While Dumpster Diving (New Pics)

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In fact, if you look closely, that massive trash can outside of your apartment building or behind the mall might be holding many items that anyone would consider gems.

We’ve taken a trip to the Dumpster Diving subreddit to see some of the most amazing finds people have discovered while digging through the trash. From groceries for the entire week to brand new sneakers to beautiful furniture, you genuinely never know what you’re going to find when rummaging through garbage. So enjoy viewing the pics on this list, and be sure to upvote the ones that have inspired you to take a peek into your building’s dumpster!

#1 Found This Guy In Dumpster Few Days Ago

Image credits: xaristocatsx

#2 God I Love Working In Waste Disposal

Image credits: Daza786

#3 Pet Food When I Wasn’t Even Going To Go Out

Start out with just a little back story… we rescue special needs dogs. Some have emotional issues. Some are deaf. There have been neurological issues (a hydro that lived only 9 weeks… we had him 3 days before he crossed the rainbow bridge in his sleep). I sometimes worry about running short on pet food. I would go without long before I would let them do without. I get delivery every few weeks to know I’m staying ahead.

Tonight I was planning on going to the second hand store to get some shorts… pick up mower gas… long day at work… almost didn’t go.

But we did

Almost didn’t swing by the dumpster (it’s one we have gotten a crap ton of Starbucks k-cups and we almost always get something here that will help. Wasn’t going to swing by. But I did.

Peeked in and almost cried. 200+ pounds of dog food. Cat food for my son’s rescue cat. Cat litter for my son’s rescue cat.

Some days I can see the little rays of sunshine.

Image credits: CeleryCharacter3530

While the term dumpster diving might sound a bit extreme, if you’ve never tried it yourself, we promise that it does not have to be unsanitary or a waste of time. It’s not simply swimming through rubbish, it can actually be a great way to find free food, great furniture or items that seem to have only ended up in the trash by accident. And if anyone can change your mind on the matter, it’s the Dumpster Diving subreddit. This group, which is dedicated to “fun with garbage,” shares “advice, information, and first-hand accounts about finding cool stuff in, or making cool stuff out of, trash.”

And clearly, many people have gotten on board with the community’s message, as it has amassed an impressive 241k members since its creation in 2009. The group even has a thread featuring members’ best dumpster diving tips and tricks, including: have realistic expectations, take a small step ladder, close all dumpster lids and doors when done, don’t dumpster dive at thrift stores, have an answer for when people ask what you’re doing, and, of course, safety comes first!  

#4 Found A Brand New Singer Sc220. The Box Said Damaged, But It Works Perfect. Psyched

Image credits: LeavingRightNow

#5 Found This Bad Boy Near The Trashcans Of My Apartment's Parking Lot. It'd Been Out There A Week And A Half. Even Rained On A Little Bit. Didn't Expect To Power On At All

Image credits: pcgamergirl

#6 Found These Two In The Rubbish Today

Image credits: Daza786

If the idea of dumpster diving is foreign to you and you have a hard time getting past the idea of literally hopping into trash, allow us to explain some of the reasons why it’s becoming a growing trend and might even be the most environmentally friendly way of “shopping” nowadays. First, let’s understand why people do this. According to GreenMatters, it’s pretty standard practice for businesses to throw out unsold merchandise and food to make more room on shelves or to avoid having to put luxury brands on sale. This means that oftentimes, what’s in the trash isn’t actually trash.

I used to work at a coffee shop where we weren’t allowed to take home any of the sandwiches, soups, or pastries after closing time because the company assumed if we could, it would discourage us from selling them. So every evening, we had to find whatever was reaching its sell by date and simply throw it in the trash. This was incredibly wasteful, and it was painful knowing that that food could have gone to people in need, but that was this store’s, and many other companies’, policy.   

#7 Cool Looking Lamp I Found On A Curb

Image credits: DrawingDistinct959

#8 Dug This Late 50s Bike In A Dumpster At An Apartment On The Way To Work

Image credits: big-guy-small-car

#9 My First Dive.... Saw A "Store Closing" Sign And Thought. Hmm

I'm hooked I saw these and grabbed them all.

Image credits: GertBFrobe_

When it comes to food waste, RTS reports that the United States throws about 120 billion pounds of perfectly good food in the trash each year, or about 40% of the entire US food supply. Apparently, food takes up more space in US landfills than anything else, making up 22% of municipal solid waste, and the amount of food wasted in the US is worth approximately $218 billion. There’s no question that many of us should be cutting back on our consumption and waste production, and one way to do so is by pulling perfectly good food that’s been tossed out of the trash. As you can see from the pictures on this list, a little digging around in a dumpster might allow you to find lots of delicious items for free, that would have otherwise taken up space in a landfill.  

#10 Shoe Store Recycling Dumpster Boxes Are Great For Shipping, And Today I Got Lucky And Found A Brand New Pair Of Converse!

Image credits: PowerAdDuck

#11 I Saw A Free Couch On The Side Of The Road So I Dug In The Cushions For Change And Found A $100 Chip For A Local Casino

Image credits: big-guy-small-car

#12 Found At The Dump 19th Century Mahogany Plant Stand

Image credits: Babashanti

Even if you don’t need many items for yourself, dumpster diving can actually be quite the lucrative hobby. One Buffalo, New York-based couple told Business Insider that they make around $3,000 a month through their dumpster diving side hustle. Erin and Dave Sheffield shared that they began rummaging through garbage more than a decade ago and got the idea to start selling items they find in dumpsters of large depot stores. “Especially in the time we live in, you kind of have to realize that if you don't take that thing out of the trash, that's going to a landfill," Erin shared. "But also, you can actually make money." Some of the most valuable items they’ve been able to resell are a Prada purse and a truck-load of college textbooks.

#13 Dd Gods Were Smiling Down On Me Tonight

Image credits: willieandthets

#14 May Never Need Chips Again

Stopped by DG that we just happened to be passing yesterday…. 4 thirty gallon garbage bags and 5 assorted packages boxes. 240 individual serving packages

Image credits: CeleryCharacter3530

#15 Just Saved These From The Dump

Image credits: sandync1

The Sheffields say that the best food items they find in dumpsters are usually taken home with them or given away to friends and family members, but they also shared that there will always be more valuable items that they can’t manage to save. “We can't possibly come close to even touching the amount of good stuff that's thrown away every day," Erin told Insider. "Even if we went out from sun-up to sundown, and went to every place we could think of, we still wouldn't get close to what is being thrown away in our city." You hear that, pandas? That means there’s plenty waiting out there for you too! 

#16 Yo Who Throws Away Pac-Man?

Image credits: stevegallery

#17 My Wife Has Been Wanting These Chairs. My Dad Is Always Finding Cool Stuff People Are Throwing Away, So I Told Him To Keep An Eye Out. A Few Weeks Later…

Image credits: throwbackthreads

#18 Found A Working 48 Inch TV And Ps3 On The Side Of The Road!

Wasn't even looking, I came home and saw it next door

Image credits: OakButt

Aside from just finding great items for themselves and for others, dumpster diving can also be great for the environment, as it takes a small burden off of our already full, or nearly full, landfills. Countries like the United States are already dumping their waste in foreign countries because they have nowhere to put it all, and China, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia have had to enact bans on importing waste from other nations. Much of the waste in landfills is being burned as well, which is also a problem because it releases toxic gasses into the atmosphere, such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides. Every little bit helps when reducing waste, and dumpster diving can certainly make a difference.  

#19 Living Near A College = Free Rent 2x A Year

Image credits: _Shrimp

#20 My High School Gave Me Permission To Search Their E-Waste Trash And I Found A 24 Inch 2008 Imac In Almost Perfect Condition

Image credits: Luciano-Spa

#21 Last Night’s Find. Fully Working Ps3 Slim

Image credits: BellasGamerDad

If you’re wondering how to go about dumpster diving safely, Eco Friendly Fact has shared some of their best tips on their site so you can have successful dives. First, it’s important to always know the local laws and to get permission when necessary. Dumpster diving is legal in many places, but you should never embark on a dive without knowing your rights and the regulations. It’s also recommended to visit more dumpsters in less time. If you don’t see anything good on top, don’t waste too much time searching for a gem. Just move on to the next one, and come back another day. 

#22 I Present To You The Useless Fork, From The Dumpster

Image credits: Austiin2002

#23 Had To Really Clean This Stuff Up, But Once I Did, Good To Go!

Image credits: Cult7Choir

#24 My Friend Found Kitchenaid In A Dumpster

Image credits: RibRubRob2

Dumpster divers also recommend having a proper route planned before beginning the day. This can be an exhausting hobby, so mapping out where you want to go and creating an efficient plan can be extremely helpful. It’s also wise to be strategic and visit the dumpsters that will suit your needs. If you want to find groceries, go to grocery stores. If you’re in need of furniture or home goods, hit up those types of stores. And remember to only take the things you need. While it’s tempting to grab anything that looks valuable, you might not be able to carry it all, and you might not have anywhere to put it. And finally, always remember to bring your equipment: scissors or a cutting knife to conveniently open boxes and trash bag, gloves, a mask, goggles and bags or containers to collect and carry items.

#25 Got This Awesome Chair From A Curb Today

Image credits: pleasure_hunter

#26 Found This Guy With A Bunch Of Letters And Photos From The Early 1900s. The Baby In The Pictures Was Born In 1919, So Probably From Around Then

Image credits: GauntletVSLC

#27 How About A 1k Lounger From The Same Neighborhood Last Week. Sold In 1 Day ($360)

Image credits: AcanthisittaGlum138

Are you feeling inspired to start taking some dives into the dumpsters near your home, pandas? If you do, remember to be safe and strategic, and I’m sure you’ll come across some wonderful finds. Keep upvoting the pics featuring items you can’t believe people pulled out of the garbage, and if you’re interested in checking out Bored Panda’s last article featuring the Dumpster Diving subreddit, look no further than right here!

#28 Where To Donate? Soldiers? Kids Programs? Nursing Homes? Help

Image credits: top_shock_banana

#29 Found By A Dumpster While Doordashing Plugged It In And It Works!

Image credits: Once_Dead

#30 Thomas The Train Table!!!!

Image credits: audiomind88

#31 This Made Me So Sad. Book Store Throws Out A Dumpster Filled With Books Every Week. They Don't Bother To Recycle Them

Image credits: Lucky_Zin

#32 Local Overpriced Thrift Store Throws Out Tons Of Perfectly Good Items... Snagged This Air Fryer Convection Oven, It Works Just Fine. I Wish I Could Save Everything

Image credits: Blueoctokat

#33 Found These In An Alley Next To The Trash Cans. No Way Would I Allow That Fate

Image credits: diamondsealtd

#34 Fourth Dorm Visit This Move Out Season

Tonight goes down as a personal best in my dumpster diving career. The dumpsters were beyond packed. Towels, more sneakers, snacks, jeans, dishwashing liquid. Just tons of stuff. I grabbed some gift cards, hoping for a few remaining dollars on the. These card were fully loaded. Looks like I'll be gassing up my car before going to Subway or Panera!

Image credits: VintageBookFairy

#35 Largemouth Bass Mailbox

Image credits: MufflerTuesday

#36 Got Called To Take This For Scrap Metal Today

Image credits: Daza786

#37 Happy Belated Easter, And Reminder From Jesus That Capitalism Is A Broken System Which Puts Profits Over People!

All from the trash bin of a single local bakery, on a single night... All unexpired. Sad and angry they'd just trash it, instead of donating, brightening some child's day.

Image credits: tim_p

#38 A School Had Thrown These Fossils In The Dumpster. The Claw And Tooth At The Top Are Casts, But Everything Else Is Legit!

Image credits: skennyloggins

#39 I Love Finding Worthless Junk And Diying The Hell Out Of It

Image credits: Academic-Pride2162

#40 Last Night's Finds

Image credits: SatansMoisture

#41 Jackpot

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#42 I Saw A Construction Dumpster Full Of These New Insulations, So I Filled My Van And Sold Them In Less Than 24 Hours

Image credits: yardini

#43 Was Going To Buy A New Office Chair At An Auction Last Week, Passed On Them And Found This Today. $1500 Herman Miller Aeron Chair

Image credits: Nice_Historian_3072

#44 Been Struggling To Afford Food Lately And Only Finding A Lot Of Empty Dumpsters. Last Night I Was Grateful To Find A Massive Haul Of Snacks And Drinks. And That Protein Powder!

Image credits: po3swrath

#45 Found This Vintage Toy In A Dumpster Elevator Bells Still Work

Image credits: tasteofhemlock

#46 Glad I Didn’t Skip This “Empty From A Distance” Dumpster!

Image credits: Eldricson93

#47 Why Just Chuck This??

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#48 50lbs Of Cheese From Nh Aldi's Today. I Would Have Gotten More But I Was In A Hurry

Image credits: EarlGreyHikingBaker

#49 Pulled This Sweet Solid Wood Desk Off The Curb

Image credits: Bluegodzi11a

#50 Snickers Superscore!

Image credits: Lucky_Zin

#51 All New. Worth First Run In With Mall Security

Image credits: Electricmothman

#52 Found These Letters From 1938 In The Construction Dumpster At A Senior Care Place I Was Working At Doing Remodel Work

Image credits: GauntletVSLC

#53 Great Cheese Heist Of 2022

Image credits: Inevitable-Ad-6952

#54 It's A Christmas Miracle! The Store's Entire Stock Of Ice Cream Was Tossed

Image credits: heat_it_and_beat_it

#55 Do Curbside Finds Count? My Neighbors Left This Huge Dollhouse With All The Dolls And Furniture Out My Their Trash!!

Image credits: reginageorges_mom

#56 My Brother Grabbed This Yamaha Surround Sound From The Dumpster For Me

Image credits: reddit.com

#57 6 Pairs Of Nikes, One Pair Of Brand New Keens

Image credits: Efficiency-Horror

#58 Sunbeam Toaster, Circa 1949, Saved From A Dumpster In The Neighborhood

Image credits: i-love-nintendo-1402

#59 Found A Gorgeous Shelf In My Apartment’s Trash Pile Today! It Pays To Check It Frequently!

Image credits: FlowerPressed

#60 Found A Broken Kobalt Shovel Leaning Against A Dumpster. They Have A Lifetime, No-Questions-Asked Warranty

Image credits: ManyCats247

#61 What To Do With A Thousand Eggs?

Image credits: KaihogyoMeditations

#62 This Right Here Is Why I Stay Diving Lol

Image credits: No_Hawk_7842

#63 Vitamins For A Year

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#64 The Dumpster Always Provides

Broke as HELL this month. Didn't know how I was going to afford decent Mother's Day gifts for my mom and grandma, both wonderful women who deserve so much.

These Bogg Bags retail for $90 each and are super popular where I live. Retrieved them with the umbrella in my car while dangling over the side in flip flops.

They cut the strap on one, but I was able to improvise. So relieved I'm able to give them something great and pay my light bill this month. 

Image credits: megantology

#65 Found Three Shoebox Containers Of LEGO In A Roll Off In A Chuck E Cheese Parking Lot

Image credits: GauntletVSLC

#66 Back In 2018, I Found 15 Used Iphones At My Works Electrical Waste Bin

I switched screens and batteries between them and got 6 fully functional phones that i sold for 500£. 30 minutes well spent.

Image credits: DwayneFreeman

#67 I Live Around Rich Uni Students. The Semester Ended And They’re All Moving Out/Around Right Now

Image credits: chumbawumbaonabitch

#68 West Elm Plates! A Set Of 8. A Distinguished Gentleman, Animal Collection

Image credits: Individual-Quit-2273

#69 I Was Blessed By The Dumpster Gods Last Week, Not Even A Hobby Of Mine, Husband Just Happened To Spot It!

Image credits: qweenbimbo

#70 Another Haul

Image credits: reignthepain

#71 This Is Probably One Of The Most Beautiful Pieces I Will Ever Find. It Was Sitting With A Bunch Of Furniture Next To A Dumpster

Image credits: Cult7Choir

#72 I'm Currently Living In A Small College Town. The Dumpsters Are Gold Mines Right Now

Image credits: loki_racer

#73 Do Better Dunkin

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#74 Well Looks Like I'll Be Making Garden This Summer!

Image credits: deveniam

#75 Curbside Find! This Briefcase Looking Piece Folds Out Into A Table And 4 Chairs!

Image credits: Cult7Choir

#76 Found This Guy And Couldn’t Leave Him Behind - Cat For Scale

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#77 Little Debbie‘S Haul

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#78 60's Armchair Restoration

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#79 Found A Sealed Box At The Dump. Found Inside Brand New Unopened Auto Tracking Telescope

Image credits: Babashanti

#80 The Score!

Image credits: HeavyPitifulLemon

#81 Someone Ditched A Gorgeous White Leather Couch At The Complex Dumpster

Back leg is broken, but other than that it’s lovely. Put it up on a freecycling FB group, hopefully someone will grab it and keep it out of the dumpster!

Image credits: FlowerPressed

#82 Been Hoping For A Haul Like This

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#83 My First Time Was A Great Success! Tons Of Fresh Peppers, As Well As Apples, Lettuce, A Dog Bed, And A Jacket. So Stoked!

Image credits: _Gravedancer_

#84 Found A Box Being Tossed With Some Old Japanese Money And Two Books From The Late 1800's Inside!

Image credits: Cult7Choir

#85 My Pyrex Finds Next To A Thrift Store’s Dumpster

Image credits: Substantial-Donkey78

#86 Finally! On My Fourth Attempt I Found Something Good. This Is Approximately $750 Retail Worth Of Makeup And Perfume

Image credits: HeavyPitifulLemon

#87 Got That Greens, From Aldeez

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#88 Ymca Dumpsters Hit Different

Image credits: PhantomSenpai77

#89 Sometimes You Wake Up And Hit The Jackpot. I Snagged This Miniature Donkey Rescue Calendar From My Apt Trash Room This Morning

Image credits: I_kickflipped_my_dog

#90 First Finds From College Season

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#91 Part Of Saturday Night’s Haul

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#92 God Tier Dive Today For All You Fellow Dnd Players Out There

Image credits: deeppurplescallop

#93 Second Major Wtf Find To Date

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#94 Pulled From A Dumpster A Couple Weeks Ago. Perfect Condition. My Cat Likes It

Image credits: BlackSheepVegan

#95 Found A Everlast Freestanding Heavy Bag Dumpster Diving At Dicks

Pretty cool find, about 180$ in value.

Image credits: Knoxft2

#96 I Mean This Is Just The Best

Image credits: Survivalist_Kro

#97 Found These Lights *next To* The Dumpster!

Image credits: nahfacenah

#98 Free Floor Upgrade

Found 90+ planks of SPC flooring in the common park construction dumpster , perfectly timed! I was just debating upgrading the floor in my bathroom, but didn’t want to spend the $$$ prior to moving. 60 full planks remain after this project, so i’ll be doing my kitchen next!

This dumpster has been a goldmine!

Image credits: SterTheDer

#99 Aldi Had Half A Dumpster Full Of Potatoes. Seems Some Got Smashed From A Shipping Issue So They Threw The Whole Pallet Out. I Grabbed As Many As I Could Fit In My Trunk

Image credits: psychoamine

#100 Alrighty

Sixty+ of them first stop of the night

Image credits: River_Historical

#101 3 Bins Of Fresh Sweet & Tasty Grapes

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#102 So Much Fruit And Veggies! My Car Actually Had Trouble Accelerating Due To The Weight

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#103 Chain Thrift Store Had These Vhs Tapes In A "Garbage Cart" Just Minutes From Being Compacted. Glad I Was Donating At That Very Moment

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#104 Found In A Box Of Mugs Being Thrown Out!

Image credits: Cult7Choir

#105 Is This How It Begins? Visiting Vegas And Found This Brand New Belt Was On Top Of The Trash Bin In Caesars Palace (No One Else Was In There). Fits Me Perfectly!

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#106 I Sat And Watched Them Throw All This Away, Waited For My Moment, And Pounced

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#107 Haul From Last Night! Hundreds Of Contact Lenses, Some Are Even My Prescription

Image credits: ShaolinFantastic420

#108 Fridge Unit Broke At Aldeez. Huge Dumpster Filled To The Top With Sealed Cases Of Product. I Took All I Could Carry!

Image credits: tim_p

#109 Average Haul From My Honey Hole. I Sometimes Hit It Up 2-3 Times A Day To Get Each Department

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#110 3.1 Haul. 46 Bags Of Chococlate

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#111 Recent Hauls

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#112 Found This Awesome Cart At The Senior Care Construction Dumpster! Goes For Over $800 New And Is Still Perfect Functional

Image credits: GauntletVSLC

#113 The Most Fun I’ve Had Being 30!heres To My First Dive!

Image credits: cryptochick22

#114 Me Again With Another Great Find ! This Mirror Is Huge. It’s Missing A Few Of The Surrounding Mini Mirrors But I’m 100% Ok With It. I’m In Love

Image credits: Sinnimon-

#115 My First Dumpster Diving Score. Of The 10 Bowls In The Set, Only 1 Small One Was Broken. Thanks W&s!

Image credits: CellWrangler

#116 Bananas All The Way Down

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#117 Girlfriend’s Parents Found This On The Side Of The Road

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#118 Not In A Dumpster, But On The Side Of The Road I Found A Welder

Image credits: Rydirp7

#119 A Dream Find, Fun Flavours Like Mint Latte, Coconut Milk , Along With The Classic!! I Didnt Take Them All

Image credits: LageSnelheid

#120 A Dumpster Rescue From Work

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#121 Starting To Feel Overwhelmed

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#122 Idk What To Say

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#123 Cool Find, Hoping It Cleans Up Well

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#124 Detergent, Energy Drinks, Books, And A Tiny Gnome

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#125 Found 300 Dollars Worth Of Redbull Tonight!!!

Image credits: waves_of_melancholy

#126 Detergent, Energy Drinks, Books, And A Tiny Gnome

#127 Living Near A College = Free Rent 2x A Year

#128 Average Haul From My Honey Hole. I Sometimes Hit It Up 2-3 Times A Day To Get Each Department

#129 Last Night's Finds

#130 Bought This Land With The Profits Of Dd ??‍☠️

#131 College Move Out Continues

#132 Fridge Unit Broke At Aldeez. Huge Dumpster Filled To The Top With Sealed Cases Of Product. I Took All I Could Carry!

#133 From Empty To Full... This Is Why I Do It ?

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