A few weeks ago I was walking home from the train station around 9pm, and a block from my apartment, I noticed a PC on the sidewalk. It wasn't exactly on the sidewalk, it was sitting on the driveway of a house, but close enough to be indistinguishable from garbage. Just so there was no doubt, though, it had an Oversize Garbage sticker on it. In Tokyo, regular garbage must be sorted into burnable, non-burnable, and recyclable, with different collection days for each. Other items such as domestic appliances are classified as oversize garbage, and require an additional fee to be collected, and the sticker indicates that the fee's been paid.
As it was rather dark, I had to take a closer look to see that it wasn't just an empty case, and sure enough it had at the very least an ATX motherboard. Then I noticed that sitting next to it was an LCD monitor. And a small wooden shelf.
I got home, and on the phone with my girlfriend, I mentioned the stuff and asked her what she thought. Should I take it? After all, it was clearly garbage. But it was a PC!
She thought it was probably OK.
About half an hour later, I stepped out, walked down the block, and stealthily grabbed the monitor and brought it back to my room. It had a VGA cable connected, but it needed an AC adapter, so I couldn't try it out. So I put it aside, and went back to get the PC.
The case was a tacky, cheap-looking affair with faux-iMac trim around the front. I immediately opened it up and removed a network card, SCSI card, and 1394 card, all pretty old, from the PCI slots. There was no hard disk, no floppy, but a 32x CD-RW was still attached. I grabbed a power cable, plugged it in, and tried turning it on. Nothing. OK, so it was probably a dud. It was garbage, after all. So I swapped it with the power supply from my other dead PC. It came alive. It tried the original power supply again, and this time it worked as well.
I hooked up my monitor and booted it up again. 1GHz Athlon, 512MB RAM, nVidia GeForce. Runs fine. I've been using it for several weeks now, with no problem. I've kept the Oversize Garbage payment stickers on the case, though. Just in case anyone asks.