March 23rd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

Thursday’s Oregonian has a rather complex story of violence and desperation, set at a Goodwill outlet store.

It seems the subculture of “professional thrifters,” shopping for stuff to resell on eBay, Amazon and elsewhere, has gotten more extreme, and even brutal, during the Great Recession. Folks are spending all day in the bigger thrift stores, pawing over everything and even pushing other shoppers out of their way.

The story particularly mentions one used-book reseller named Pedro Rolando Reynaud Erazo. Along with his brother and an entourage of assistants, he spent his days grabbing books by the armful at Goodwill outlets (the bigger warehouse stores, where stuff that doesn’t sell in the regular Goodwills gets sent). They used portable bar-code scanners to help find the few volumes with resale value, then tossed all the rest. During these day-long sieges, they’d push other shoppers and even store employees out of their way.

A female shopper charged Erazo with following her around the Hillsboro Goodwill outlet store, yelling and calling her names. And more:

He pushed her on 10 occasions. He punched her. He even warned her: “(y)ou should be afraid of me. They’re not going to stop me. I can do whatever I want.”

The woman applied for, and received, a “stalking” (restraining) order against the aggressive entrepreneur.

But an appeals court reversed the ruling; claiming that…

she hadn’t proven that Erazo subjected her to at least two “contacts” that would cause her to fear for her own safety. The court ruled that while the punch qualified as one contact, the 10 shoves weren’t truly dangerous. What’s more, Erazo’s reported threat didn’t instill “a fear of imminent and serious personal violence.”

Anyway, the article continues, Erazo is no longer a threat to this particular woman, as he’s left the state of Oregon.

He now lives in the Seattle area.

And his organization has reportedly operated the same “hoarding” and “scooping” tactics at thrift stores and used-book sales around here since at least 2010.

One thing this ongoing grossness proves is something I’ve been saying for some time: books really are a big business.

(Note: There are other online pieces about Erazo. But I’m not linking to them because they veer off into stupid racist tirades, under the excuse that he was born in Honduras. His aggression and his attitude problem would be just as icky and dangerous if he were a WASP fratboy.)

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