I have often sung the praises of Freecycle, and I wanted to mention it this week since it's Earth Day on Friday, and Freecycle is such an excellent way to do the REUSE part of reduce-reuse-recycle---er, and I guess the REDUCE part, too. I guess I'm a little confused about those three words, because they overlap so much. My point is that Freecycle keeps some stuff from being thrown out, and it keeps people from having to purchase some things, and the whole thing is a really good idea and is the kind of practical application of a big theoretical ideal ("We should save the earth!") that I find very satisfying.
We've used it many times to avoid buying something: a crib, when Henry's broke just six months before we planned to move him out of it; crutches when Rob twisted his ankle and only needed crutches for a few days; a toaster oven when we weren't sure we'd use or like a toaster oven. We've used it to get rid of tons of stuff I felt was too "USEFUL!" to get rid of but didn't have any urge to try to sell: baby equipment, pieces of furniture, clocks, lamps.
The downside of Freecycle is that you have to deal with people, and people can be unreliable cheeseheads. You'd THINK that if you were giving something to someone for free, something they said they wanted, something where THEY chose a convenient time for THEM to come get it, that they'd come get it. And yet again and again, unbelievably to me, they DON'T come to get it. We post an item as available, and there is a big clamor for it---several people saying "Ooo ooo pick me, pick me!" We choose someone; they say they'll come the next morning, they are SO excited, they need this SO badly and have NO money. We have a moment of feeling good about the way Freecycle society works: those who have, give! those who need, receive! WHAT A GREAT SYSTEM!
Then the next morning comes and goes, and the item has not been picked up. Evening comes; still nothing. We contact the next person who was dying to have it, and they say they'll come for it after work the next day. They don't show up either.
And so on. What...IS this? I can't figure out the motivation for saying you want something and then not showing up to get it. I understand it when it's something that costs money: maybe someone acted impulsively and now doesn't want to spend the money after all. I understand it when it's "Come by the house later, honey, I have two boxes of junk to unload on you!" But I don't understand it when it's "Who wants this for free?" "ME ME ME ME ME!!!" "Okay!" "THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! *never heard from again*"
I am feeling particularly riled right now, because I am trying to get rid of my maternity clothes. Normally I don't bother giving away clothes on Freecycle, unless I happen to have a nice tidy group I'm getting rid of all at once; instead, I put them in a donation dumpster at the Humane Society. But plus-size maternity clothes are hard to find, and also I felt much squirrellier at the idea of putting them in a dumpster. So we put them on Freecycle.
MANY REPLIES. We picked the first one, and she said she was so relieved because she couldn't find plus-sized maternity clothes anywhere, and could she come by this very evening? Yes! No show.
We contacted the second one. Oh, thank goodness, she hadn't known WHAT she was going to do about clothes! She would be by in the morning. She emailed late morning to say she was having a bad bout of morning sickness and could she come after lunch? No show.
We contacted the third one, who said she couldn't believe we'd had two no-shows! She'd had a lot of no-shows this week too! But she PROMISED she wouldn't be a no-show, because she HATES no-shows! She couldn't understand why people would even DO that! She would come get the clothes the next day. NO SHOW.
It's frustrating. You might wonder if perhaps the clothes were in crummier shape than I could see with my sentimental eyes, and so maybe people DID show up but then tactfully left when they saw the clothes, and I thought of that too, but the bag was still knotted closed.
I put the clothes in the Humane Society dumpster. It's no big deal, but that was a lot of fuss for nothing. LUCKILY, this doesn't happen too often, and usually not more than one no-show per item (three was a record-breaker), or we'd probably stop doing Freecycle: it's hard to stay motivated to give away your things for nothing if there's a big hassle involved.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...