Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Rag and Bone 2.0"

or The Wonders, Pleasures and Frustrations of FreeCycling

The Wonders
Some of you may not be aware of this underground phenomena called FreeCycling, let me explain:

The person with the unwanted "Whatever" puts a notice on a FreeCycle Page in the form
OFFERED: "Whatever", Location this is then emailed to all those subscribing to the page. At this point a slew of emails are sent winging there way to the inbox of the one who just Offered the "Whatever", resulting in an electronic form of the Scrummage, which involves making your email most likely to be selected. Here the risky bit occurs, the Offerer selects the winning email and sends them the address to come and pick up the "Whatever". You have No Idea who you are inviting to your home.

Please think twice, if you're a single lass, before offering unused thongs on FreeCycle!

A real example of ill considered FreeCycle usage was the person I spotted last week who posted "WANTED: Free Shredding of Confidential Waste"!

When the item has been collected one simply posts an update notice:
"TAKEN: "Whatever" and the cycle is complete.

A less effective form of FreeCycling, is the Wanted form: here individuals with the need post WANTED: "Whatever" this requires avid FreeCyclers who have the unwanted Whatever to be checking their email or the FreeCycle page for these WANTED posts and then emailing the individual concerned. Rarely happens from my experience, I am still waiting for those Unwanted Rhubarb Forcers to come my way! OK So I might have tried for something a little rare to start with.

From initial evaluation I expected that the whole cycle would be powered by two basic drives "Need to be Tidy" and "Simple Greed". In fact, the well-kempt, middle class folks that are picking up my "Whatevers" don't feel at all greedy, confusingly they feel Charitable??... I was expecting Steptoe and Son, I got Mrs BOUQUET! For example our theory on the extremely well dressed lady, who came direct from Church, to pick up the Electric Pop Corn Maker, is that she got it for the Youth Group she helps run. So we felt really good about having thrown in the huge, (well I say huge, and it was half empty) jar of unused popcorn.

The fella who came to pick up the uplighter was a Greenie, if ever I've see one! Clearly he came to ensure the re-use of the offending "Whatever". The audible street cry of "Rag and Bone!" of my youth has been replaced by the electronic cry of OFFERED: "Whatever", Location. The Rag and Bone men have been replaced by an altogether more upmarket lot!

So my drive to be organised has opened my eyes to the wonders of a whole new world, a world of Charity and Environmental Re-Use.

The Pleasures

Surprisingly I suspect FreeCycling gives you a warm glow however you participate in it. I used to get my pleasures from putting the "Whatevers" in the bin or taking them to the tip, creating a sense of cathartic freedom that was close to sublime. Imagine that same sense but without the effort, its feels nearly sinfull, but so clearly isn't. They come and take the unwanted "Whatevers" away for you! So actually, the real drive of Freecycling is my Laziness and their sense of Charity and Environmentalism. ((Darn That means it is sinfull, for SLOTH is a Sin!)) Whatever the drives are, the result feels REALLY GOOD and I can see more of my Shed floor than I have in ages! What other unwanted "Whatevers" can I find to offer? SWHTD has spotted an issue, she has warned me that I might start offering things that we want, it won't be long before she demands sign-off on the things that can I offer. I haven't plucked up the courage of offering Designer Handbags quite yet but the thought of it feels SOOO GOOOD! (Whoa... wait a minute, that will make space in the Wardrobe for her to buy more..... BAD IDEA!)

As an aside: I bet Freecycling peaks in January, February, and March as the urge to Spring Clean strikes. I was wrong! Data shows that in Indianapolis the peak months are January and July, and in Guildford August and November, go figure!

The Frustrations
I have tried to claim four "OFFERED:Whatever"s, but experienced an interesting phenomena, what would you call it?... "Quick Grabs" and so I got now-where, which was a little frustrating. Clearly I need some ointment!?. There are clearly FreeCycle Professionals out there that go in FAST and I mean very fast and grab the "Whatever"s at light speed. The Antique Sowing Machine disappeared so quick it made my head spin, and just so you know I was trying I responded 5 Minutes after it was offered.

I have also experienced my first frustration as an Offerer,and that is the "No Show", where the person that had said they would be arriving to pick up the unwanted "Whatever" just doesn't! I suspect that there is another frustration waiting for me out there, which might be driven by the same mechanism as is driving my lack of Rhubarb Forcers. If one offers something that is so esoteric that no-one wants it! How devastating would that be.... Must make a note to only offer things that loads of people will want!!! It would be even worse than the Fridge still sitting on the deck waiting, the morning after the supposed collection date!


The Watcher! said...

Looks like our theory was right!!
Hello !!!

The popcorn maker is brilliant - used it for the kids today and am very pleased with it. Thankyou again :)


Name erased to protect the innocent.

The Watcher! said...

And the great news...
The Fridge is gone...