WE ARE used to seeing images on TV of bargain-obsessed shoppers gathering outside large department stores and then charging through the doors at opening time when there is a big sale on.
But it seems there is a small-scale version of this scene being played out every Tuesday morning at the Lismore Tip Shop.
Collectors, bargain hunters and upcycling enthusiasts congregate in the car park before the 9am opening and then surge through the gates to gather the goodies that have been discarded by others.
The array of stuff on offer is mind boggling; from power tools to bicycles, kids' toys, furniture and all sorts of other obscurities.
Tuesday is the big day because it is the first day the shop opens after the weekend when people tend to clear out their unwanted stuff.
Council staff expected there would be a bumper crowd yesterday because of the free tip day and region-wide Secondhand Saturday garage sales on the weekend.
About 50 people were lined up at the gate, which according to tip team leader Chris Spencer, is about normal or even slightly down on what they see most Tuesday mornings.
"I'm still amazed at what they do. It can be a bit childish at times," he said.
Once inside the gate people dash towards the items they have been eyeing off and start making piles. Mr Spencer said sometimes people will start arguing over who got to an item first.
He pointed out some of the regulars, including a woman who is there every week to get garden pots and a man who is after old engines.
Rick Moffatt used to work in the old tip shop, but now has a market stall where he sells children's toys.
He is there most weeks picking up toys that he fixes and sells.
"People used to throw out a lot more interesting stuff, but now they put it on Ebay," he said.
But the majority of people left with their utes or their boots loaded with recycled treasure and seemed to be pretty happy with their plunder.
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