Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Today's Version of "Rag and Bone"

I wonder if Jack and Meg White from The White Stripes were inspired by Freecycle when they wrote the song, "Rag and Bone"? Probably not, but I always think of Freecycle when I hear their song, which is essentially about America's love of consumerism.
I buffer my guilt from bouts of wanton consumerism through Freecycle. It's a great way to get rid of stuff that still works, but you don't want anymore. I joined our local chapter a couple of years ago, and every week I receive emails from other members advertising things they want to unload. Plus, you get the brazen folks whom post, "I just moved into a new apartment and would love some new dishes, a kitchen table, pots and pans, a bed." I wish FreeCycle was around when I got out of college and was making very little money. But, even though those requests are tacky, they're still legitimate, given how many folks' homes are overflowing with stuff they don't want anymore.
Fair warning: giving away stuff through the site can be a lot of work. Last week I posted our crock pot, which we got more than 10 years ago. It still works, but it's basic, and we wanted to upgrade to this model. Anyway, the second I sent out the offer via email, my inbox was flooded with 15 responses: "I'd love it, can pick up today!" "Is this still available? I just got a divorce and my ex got the crock pot." To be fair, I respond to the first email--Natasha--and ask her when she can pick up. She says she can pick up the next day. I email her my address, and then email all the other people saying the crock pot is promised, but will let them know if it becomes available again.
The next day I put the crock pot on my porch, and wait for her to pick it up. She never does. I'm a little miffed--doesn't she realize how hot this crock pot is? Now I got to scroll through all those emails to find the second person who emailed me so I can offer it to that person. Then Natasha emails, "So sorry I didn't pick up the crock pot. I had a horrible headache yesterday and didn't leave the house." OK, OK, I'll give her another chance. She promised to pick up that day. I wait and wait. Then I get a phone call, but was busy with the boys, so I let voicemail get it. When I finally listen to the message, it's her. She has an Eastern European accent. "Cathy," she says, "I'm driving around in circles and can't find your house! Please give me a call." I phone her back, but get her voice mail. I'm about to give up on her, when I check my porch again--the crock pot is gone! Natasha came through!
I hurry to my computer and post an email on the FreeCycle site that the crock pot has been taken. Natasha emails me back, "Thank you! Thank you!" My junk just became her treasure, and that feels good.


Kathleen said...

wow what a cool site will need to remember that, i just usually do the leave it at the end of the drive with a free sign on it or the large item pick up once a year.

jennie said...

i need to do this immediately, we are bursting with useless crap!

Maria said...

We joke that every piece of furniture in our house has a story behind it because it's used. I think your mom or uncle's old dresser is now housing hats and gloves in our living room;) As they say... One man's trash is another man's treasure:)