After cleaning out my closet, I dropped off a few bags of clothes at Goodwill over the weekend. Today I was wondering if I could donate a few other things I no longer want or need, so I headed over to the web site for Goodwill Industries of Silicon Valley and found their donation agreement page, which lists the items they do an do not accept.

I'm reading along the "do not accept" list and it all seems pretty normal and expected: paint, gas, guns, freezers, doors, windows, etc. But then I get to the bottom of the list and see "Computer main frames" which makes me laugh out loud.

I suspect this particular rule is specific to Silicon Valley, but haven't verified that. You just know that a rule like this only appears after someone tries to donate a mainframe.

Where else would that happen?!

And, on the off chance that you know who tried it, I'd love to know the story.

Posted by jzawodn at June 20, 2005 01:11 PM

Reader Comments
# Tim Converse said:

Many years ago I tried to charitably donate my old computer, which was a Macintosh Plus with no keyboard and a broken floppy drive. My magnanimous gift was declined.

on June 20, 2005 01:17 PM
# Joe Beaulaurier said:

I suppose vacant lots at the end of deadend roads in Silicon Valley are popular dumping grounds for derelict mattresses, refriderators, ovens and mainframes too.

on June 20, 2005 01:18 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Vacant lots? In Silicon Valley?!

Nah, the land is worth too much...

on June 20, 2005 01:20 PM
# Joe Beaulaurier said:

I really need to get out more.

on June 20, 2005 01:52 PM
# said:

There is a place around the corner (Caribbean Drive) that takes computer donations and uses them for technical school training. Not sure if they take mainframes or not, but it is worth a shot...

on June 20, 2005 03:51 PM
# jr said:

A good many of the vacant lots in Silicon Valley are hidden. They have large, empty buildings sitting on top of them.

You know, if ever there was a Flikr challenge...

on June 20, 2005 04:13 PM
# Jim S., Milwaukee, WI said:

If you think having a computer turned down is bad, I was personally turned down by the Peace Corps -- TWICE. No marketable skills. Oh if they could see me now.


on June 20, 2005 06:25 PM
# Al said:

Have you heard about Freecycle?

on June 21, 2005 07:47 AM
# Arcterex said:

Actually I had this issue a while back.... when I was working at the Real Estate board we had upgraded an old old main frame (might have technically been a mini actually). It was circa 1970's or so, had 3 cabinets (one for power, one for disk, one for cpu), with all sorts of huge power cables hanging out the back. The disk drive had a spare platter that was about the size and weight of a 21" CRT monitor (a guess). What the heck do you do with something like that? My idea was to take it home and turn it into a beer fridge (or use it and have it as a heater in the winter), but in the end I couldn't get a truck in time to take it :)

on June 21, 2005 01:09 PM
# glaydson said:

nobody actually addressed the core of his question, and neither will I ;-) *the people who may actually know the story or the reason as to why Silicon Valley's Goodwill did not accept mainframe computer are those who actually don't want to make a big deal out of it. It probably has to do with logistics, since mainframe computers are quite big, coupled with the fact that mainframe computer that are donated are usually too old and or not functional, and that it would take a fortune to upgrade or fix them, therefore, making it impossible for an industry such as goodwill to make any use for it.

on July 23, 2005 09:55 AM
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on August 26, 2009 03:47 AM
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