If time is money, this will cost a fortune!
Apr 27, 2005 (Updated Apr 27, 2005)
My husband ran across Freecycle.com one day and got hooked on following it. He was telling me what a wonderful site it was and although I was VERY skeptical we tried it out.
We registered with the two groups, our local city and a nearby town. My husband doesnt read directions so he was immediately scolded (nicely of course) for not following proper protocol. The courteous thing to do when signing up is to offer something before asking.
Not a problem, we have plenty of stuff that we dont need but I tried to stress to my husband that I didnt want to fool around with meeting people. I tried this with eBay and ended up wasting too much time sitting in parking lots on hot days.
We listed a few large items that were taking up space and nice enough to give away. With the offer came oodles of emails of people who just had to have the item with explanations of why they deserved it more than the person before them. Give me a break; I know these people are full of it.
I figured whoever can email and make arrangements first is good enough for me because were not doing a fundraiser here, were cleaning out closets. I later found out thats not the way its suppose to go because everyone should have the chance to be considered. What is the criteria? I dont understand that, perhaps Im just lazy because I dont feel like reading through 45 emails when Im not making a penny on the transaction anyway.
Apparently I'm the only one who feels that way. After reading enough messages about about how the giver had a hard choic but went with the good cause, good home, or whatever. All these proclaimed needy causes that apply sure smell fishy to me.
All messages should start with one of the following: OFFER, WANTED, TAKEN, FOUND which makes the board easier to scan through quickly. I had to quit reading the messages because I was starting to have eye pain from all the eye rolls Ive had to give per each message. Lets be realistic for a minute. If you want your item to go to a good cause take it to a REAL nonprofit organization. How ridiculous is it to put on an ad to the community of thousands who have earned the right to ask for something by having gotten rid of many things themselves on freecycle and then not a potential candidate because the giver ONLY wants their junk to go to a good cause.
What I would like to see is number counts on each name of how many things they successfully donated and how many things they've collected from others. That would definitely stir the pot.
Since we were members of both a large group and a small group we could really tell the difference. The current system works nicely in small communities where there are not many posts. I only get about a few emails each day if any for town handouts. The city message board however is out of control. I received over 900 messages to my mailbox this week which is just ridiculous. There are around 4,400 members in my city so youve got better odds of winning a lottery than scoring something on Freecycle.
Another problem is that when someone posts in the city they just put out a sentence and you dont know what the condition or details of the item they also dont bother to tell you where they live so you may be asking for something that is all the way across town and with gas prices as high as they are, it just doesnt seem worth it.
The E-mail Madness
Why elect email? The problem is when an add goes up you have seconds to respond before the item is spoken for so you pretty much have to have the messages e-mailed to you. Even a daily digest will create multiple emails because only 25 emails fit in each digest. If you dont choose and read the emails you are going to loose out on every offer that is put up.
Getting your junk in or out
The pickup transition is more challenging than the website part. You have to coordinate the pickup or drop off location. We had someone come to our house and that worked out best however you dont know the stranger that youre inviting. We arranged a pick-up in a parking lot however the meeting had to be rescheduled because she couldnt get away from work at the agreed time. The final straw was being stood up twice by someone who wanted to meet my husband during work hours. It is just ridiculous how much effort people want you to go through to give them stuff for free.
I gave up on trying getting something for nothing mostly because Im not very appreciative and too lazy to read through 800 messages. For those who are on the receiving have just as many complaints. Sometimes folks advertise something and leave out major details like the items werent in the shape as described or missing pieces, broken, etc. which made it useless to the receiver as well and therefore still in the trash pile which defeats the purpose of recycling.
Freecycle is a message board. You can not buy, sell, or exchange anything through the website or by means of it. Everything that is offered on Freecycle is to remain free, no strings attached. In addition to free of cost it is to remain free of spam and advertising. One of them problems or temptations that people have is advertising garage sales which are not allowed seeing how that involves sales.
The website does have a few moderators that comb the messages to make sure that they are appropriate and approve the posts. Since they too have a life it sometimes causes delays on posts. Weve asked our moderator for guidance a couple of times and she was very nice and helpful.
The website is only a cyber place and they dont know the people who are posting. Like everything, a few bad eggs can ruin the group for everyone. I am very leery of meeting strangers from boards like these. You never know when youll need an alibi for fingerprints found at a strangers house, ha ha.
I couldnt help but recommend this site to some people that I know. They were interested enough to try it too. Its worth a try. You may never find anything for you but youre sure to find a taker for your junk!
I really like our small community group. The amount of messages is easy to look through and it wont take a tank of gas to get there. If your city is huge consider enrolling with a suburb of the city.
Quite frankly, time is money and Id rather just give my unwanted items to a real non-profit organization and deduct it on my taxes. Id rather pay money for an item than to beg online for it.
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