Scrapping Digitally

I have to admit I am really impressed by a scrap metal dealer here in the Philadelphia area.

After replacing two failed front seats in one of our Volvos with a pair of mint seats from a junkyard I was left with a sense of pride for a job well done and about eighty pounds of high quality Swedish steel in the seat frames to get rid of.

After a few calls to metal recyclers I learned that I could dispose of the seats there so long as I removed all the ‘fluff’ – the leathers and foam components.

I load the trunk of the Moose Volvo 240 with the heavy seat frames this morning and head north into suburbia and the scrapyard for my responsible disposal of these no longer useful resources.

Pulling in to the scrap yard I am handed a barcoded plastic credit card and invited to pull the Moose 240 onto the scale for my ‘heavyweight’. Once weight-recorded I am pointed to an area of the yard where I should relieve Moose of the XC70 seat frames and instructed to circle back around for my ‘lightweight’. Sheesh, I am feeling like a bona fide trucker by this point. Can I get a ballhat?

Upon weighing out the scaleman hands me a barcoded receipt which I then take to the payout station which was basically an ATM machine which read the receipt barcode and immediately dispensed all four dollars I was entitled to for my metal lucre.

As a person with an engineering background I must say that I was totally impressed by the technical sophistication of the customer encounter and transaction process at a place I would have least expected that to happen.

It seemed that all the risk factors in the process – crooked scalemen (I spent forty years in the mining industry and I know that racket all too well) and the risk to cash paymasters from robbers and all that- had been designed out leaving a smooth, enjoyable customer experience.

This afternoon I found myself pilfering through the garage looking for ferrous materials and an excuse to go back to the scrapyard.

It’s a Volvo life.