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Friday, February 12, 2010

My Take on Freecycle

I signed up for our local Freecycle emails a few months ago. I like the concept of having something I don't want/use anymore and offering it to someone who may need it. I haven't sent any offers yet. I have just been watching to see how the whole thing works. Lurking, if you will. :)

Although I did answer a request and gave away a Christmas tree stand that was just going to go to Good Will anyway.

What I have noticed is while there are people that offer things all the time, I see more WANTED requests than anything. Some are reasonable. Some not so much.

For instance ... if you happen to have a 52 inch plasma TV that you no longer use ...

Or ... looking for a Wii with some games and a Wii Fit ...

Or ... need a car, must run and have passed inspection recently ...

Or ... looking for a king sized bedroom set ...

The list goes on an on.

Seriously, do these people really expect someone to just give them a car or a big TV or a bedroom set?

Perhaps, but unlikely.

Others that strike me as funny are the smaller ticket items. Like ... need a toaster or a blender or a popcorn popper.

Maybe it is just me, but if I need want something like that, I go to Walmart or Target and buy one. GASP! What a concept!

I suppose if people can get things for free instead of going and buying something, they would try Freecycle first. If they don't ask, they won't know, right?

One came through today that made me chuckle ...

I'm in need of a small colored t.v. for my boy's room. Theirs just blewup. I live by [blank] and do not want to drive too too far.

This is the Freecycle post that sparked this blog post.

Please I need something, but I don't want to have to travel anywhere to get this free item I'm begging asking for.


Maybe it is just me. Maybe I just need to chill.

I realize people buy new things all the time just because they want something new and then have the old item to give away. I'm not really one of those people. If my current TV works good, I'm not going to go out and buy a new one just because I want one. If my toaster works fine and toasts things well, I will keep it until such time as it no longer works. If my washing machine functions properly, it stays. If it starts to act up, I will see if I can get it repaired before I rush out to buy a new one. (This actually happened in the last 6 months or so).

One of the administrators sent an email to the group just the other day on this very subject. Here is an excerpt:

Hello, Freecycle(TM) Member,
We are taking a few minutes of time here to discuss WANTED posts.

We've recently been getting a number of Wanted posts that seem to think of Freecycle(TM) as their personal shopping service.

The mission of Freecycle(TM) is to keep still-useful things out of landfills. It is not a shopping service, a make-a-wish organization, or (as lots of news stories say) a place to get cool free stuff. Yes, sometimes people do get luxury items they ask for, but that is not the main goal.

If you post a Wanted for something most people consider extravagant, you probably won't get it. What you will get is a label... the person who asks for crazy stuff... and people will remember who you are.

So, why does Freecycle(TM) allow Wanted posts at all?

They remind us of what we may have to give away, but had forgotten about. If someone asks for an espresso maker, someone else may remember the one they have buried in the basement that they haven't used in the last 5 years.

Wanted posts are also good for those who need throwaways for their job or hobby. The person who repairs old PC's and donates them to schools is doing something useful, and the person who makes paper and asks for cotton rags is lowering our landfill use. Please be prudent when requesting these ongoing Wanted requests by posting once every two weeks, otherwise they clog the list.

Remember, though, since we are not a charity, we don't allow stories about how desperately you need an item. A simple statement is OK, but not a whole story. Someone will either have what you are looking for or not.

The few days following this message, I think there were a record number of WANTED requests come through. At least it seemed that way. Did those people not just read that email?!

I think I need to unsubscribe from Freecycle because many of the posts just annoy me and I don't need any more annoyances in my life.


Laura said...

I used freecycle twice...

Once I had a huge desk that we no longer had room for and I didn't want to have to haul it to goodwill and it was way too nice to throw out. I posted it on freecycle and was rid of it in no time.

Then one time I saw someone post that they had a bag of boys baby clothes. I got a few good things out of that.

Then I stopped using it because it was too hard to be on often enough to see the posted items that you would actually use before someone else already claimed it.

It's a good concept and is good for some things. But like you said... it gets out of control with the wants.

Jenn said...

Hello- Blogger twin. I am a Freecycler too. I often think and feel EXACTLY the same way you do! We really need to talk more. Jenn

f8hasit said...

I've been seeing alot of wanted posts on our Freecycle as well. Most times I just delete them without even looking.
However, there have been a few that I've helped out. I'm starting to recognize some of the post(ers) and post(ees) that are on.

But seriously, some of the posts are quite out there. But it is a source of amusement for me!!
Like all organizations...there are always those that are going to try to take advantage.

Kimberly said...

Laura - I agree - with the shear volume of emails that can come through in a day, it is hard to keep up!

Jenn - Scary! Seriously scary! It is like you are my long-lost twin or something!

Nancy - I wish I could find them entertaining instead of irritating! Maybe I will try that approach!

I, too, have helped a couple out. I have a girl coming to pick up a blender that I no longer use this afternoon. (She asked, I answered). I don't know her, but I'd rather give it to someone who could use it than donate it to Goodwill or pitch it. So I do see some benefits.