Oh how I wish I still had access to the rubbish skips which kept me busy most lunch times!
I'm with you there, Phil,
At my last job, the Chairman of the Model Engineering Section of the Company's Sports & Social Club was a fairly senior manager. He was able to negotiate some fruitful skip-diving privileges for ME section members. The company had three waste skips, one for copper & brass that was kept under lock & key, a second for aluminium alloy and a third for 'any old iron'. The Company had to pay for that third skip to be emptied so the more stuff the ME section members took, the less it cost the Company! All we had to do was get a note signed by an 'authorised person' to transfer legal title and act as a gate pass.
The pickings were rich!
I'm not sure whether it was when the Quality Department up-graded to granite surface plates or when the Company decided to out-source the machine shop but one lunchtime a 24" x 18" cast iron surface plate appeared at the skip. It wasn't actually IN the skip because the labourers couldn't be bothered to lift it that high! So they just leant it against the skip. The 'authorised person' actually helped me lift it into my car - wow, did the suspension go down under the weight!!! It now graces the bench beside my lathe.
The Company 'upgraded' secretarial chairs from four-arm base types to five-arm base types, they were supposed to be safer! The four prong ones were made by Tan-Sad, a respected maker. I was a member of the local Amateur Radio Club at that time and, before long, I and many of my fellow members were on the air seated on one of those chairs. I never heard of any of them falling over!!
We could also pick from the aluminium skip but we had to get a price agreed & paid, the receipt for the payment then acted as the gate pass. There was also a procedure for buying stuff that was a standard stores item in the Company stores and the Purchasing Department would place orders for non-stock materials and/or components including getting the sort of price discounts the Company would have enjoyed if the items had been for them. The only limitation on that was that the employee would have to do the delivery progress chasing.
Mind you, some employees did misuse the old iron skip - I saw an old lawn mower in there one lunchtime and it was too small for the gardening contractors!