Changing The World One “Gift” At A Time

13Nov07

Why, why, do things that seem so good in theory have to go so very, very wrong? I signed us up for the Freecycle Columbus Yahoo group last week thinking, yes, how good of me, joining Freecycle and being a good little recycler/trader. And oh, won’t it be so neat when someone gives me a gorgeous antique wooden table – not the ornate kind but the very plain kind that looks like a slab of wood and four square sticks – so that I can get hubby to stop talking about the one he found at Meijer (which is, by the way, as bad as buying your table from Kmart if you don’t know what Meijer is – the table may look pretty in the store but you just know that the one you get home isn’t going to go together right and it’s going to have some weird defect and the faux wood stain that looks so lovely and dark in the store is going to look all red and streaky in your house).

So I’m shining my halo when my first email arrives, even though I specifically told Freecycle Columbus that I didn’t want emails, I just wanted to go to the website to read the messages, and I think, yes, I’m so smart and such a good person and everyone should want to be like me. Isn’t Freecycle so wonderful?

And then some more emails come.

And some more.

Oh. my. god.

363 emails in the last not-quite-five days. Emails to offer items and then emails when said items are taken. Emails in search of items and, yup, that’s right, emails to let everyone know that the desired item has been procured.

And that gorgeous antique wooden table, the kind that looks like kids have been drawing and doing projects and eating warm, steamy soup at it for decades? Not yet. Not even close. Instead, I’ve seen emails regarding broken hot tubs (fiberglass, has a leak, we don’t know where and don’t care to look), broken garage door openers (makes a clicking noise and won’t lift the door), a box of fabric scraps (this one has potential, actually, except based on the lady’s other offerings I suspect this may be a box of, like, purple velour or something equally heinous), a working dryer with a fake Christmas tree (must take both!), an Old Navy orange bubble coat that has no rips or tears but does need a “real good cleaning,” a brown canopy without instructions (brown? really?), 150 paper shopping bags (ooh, over here! pick me!), and an “antique heavy iron lamp base with birds lampshade” that “would need rewiring.” Oh, and the “lamp shade has water staining on one side, but is pretty nifty.”

Turns out, Freecycle is a place for people to throw away their old, broken, junk. Sure, there were boxes of baby clothes and some books and software titles (“Planning Your Divorce,” I shit you not), but about 90 percent of the offers I’ve seen so far have included the words “broken” or “needs work” or “some stains.” So of course now I don’t even trust the other ten percent who I suspect just actually forgot to mention “has vomit on it, but this will probably come out” or “electrocuted my gramps, so we don’t want it anymore.”

Here’s the worst part. All that crap gets taken. I’m hoping the takers are sociology Ph.D. students working on dissertations because otherwise all I can say is damn, people, stop collecting other people’s crap. I’m all for passing stuff along and all but holy hell.

Damn halo. Must have been picking up interference from the devil himself.

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5 Responses to “Changing The World One “Gift” At A Time”

  1. Oh man…get the digest and uncheck email to you LOL. I signed up for that and craig’s list (higher caliber there) but I only go when I need something.

    It is a lot of crap, isn’t it?

    The pro is that it really registered to me: wow, what a lot of crap we haul around. Let it go! Made my own purging easier.

    Julie
    Using My Words

  2. Being a saint is hard. Seems easier to just shop at Target, right?

  3. I subscribed to Freecycle Columbus once, and had much the same experience. It was mostly junk, and anything good was snapped up 1.3 seconds after the e-mail was sent. I unsubscribed and instead just read through Craigslist once or twice a week instead.

  4. That sounds worse than the dozen or so penis enlargement emails I receive every single day.

    And I don’t even have a penis.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  5. 5 Mom

    I’m all for passing stuff along to my kids….but I end up getting it back in the mail!


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