Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Wisdom of Freecycle

A message posted on my local freecycle board today:

I am desperately in need of a large pine chest of drawers if anyone wants to get rid of an item like this it will be going to an appreciative home.

Is it just me, or is it impossible to need something desperately and also need it in pine?

However, it made me realise that if I think I need something very specific, then I actually don't need it at all.

It is completely reasonable to urgently need a new mobile phone, for example. But to urgently need a new iPhone is something else.

Needs, I have decided, don't have brands. They can have dimensions, and specifications like gas / electric, they can require a type of fitting or connection, but they don't have colours, and needs definitely don't come in pine.

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Blogger Andy said...

Good post. People often interpret their wants as needs.

A need is when there is no alternative. My son wants a bed, he does not need a bed since he can sleep on the futon on the floor.

11 October, 2007 14:15  
Anonymous Daisy-Winifred said...

Oh yes I do agree about this. The Freecycle posts that always make me cringe are those that are so specific as to be off a shopping list drawn up looking at homes and gardens or some such. The ones that actually not only put the serial number colour and bondary of material its made of but add the words need and desperateas if a life depends upon it. Thankfully that doesn't happen very much here.

I am just back home after a freecycle related trip and am thrilled because I have just picked up another delight for the garden.

Not a need in sense of life or death or design:0) But all about my finances only running to a heavy round paving slab once a fortnight when a Freecycler offers a pile of them if I could take them away today.

It did make me think about differences in lives, he had counted to ten and then just said there are some more, take them all if you want them whatever you leave will be put into a skip...40!, later and I have the number of round slabs I thought would take me till next Spring to purchase and a rather swanky house hasn't got a pile of muddy slabs blocking their driveway. Can't say I will be unloading them all in one go but the trailer will sit by the side of the cottageas it did when I picked up the glass bricks and slabs will make their way down the garden one at a time.

Hope your clearing and packing is still progressing well and you are taking a rest from time to time:0)

11 October, 2007 15:05  
Blogger That's so pants said...

Hi Stray

You'll get used to the Freecycle code. People might be quite specific about their requirements and this can be helpful. If you're offering goods, it would be hurtful to have your formica chest of drawers rejected.

If you're wanting something that could have intrinsic value, you've more chance of getting it offered to you if you suggest 'need' and signify gratitude. Sometimes Freecyclists discover they'd like to get rid of items because someone sounded like they were asking nicely. It's a case of 'if you don't ask, you don't get.'

I like what you said about needs not having brands but even I like to have matching furniture and I'm not even vaguely house proud.

Good luck in your new home.



11 October, 2007 23:34  
Anonymous David Easby (Freecycle Mod) said...

Re desperately needed

The advice given to Freecycle Members is not to put desperate etc in post

Of course not everyone follows our guidelines is a brief extract

Please try to avoid using the following:

* Collections like “see list” or “misc” or “various” or“ garage sale leftovers”
* Begging like “desperate” or “needed” or “please read” or “!!!!”
* General solicitations like “church needs everything” or “long list”
* Unreasonable specifics like “must be as new” or “designer labels only”

12 October, 2007 19:38  
Blogger Stray said...

hi andy - nice to see you :) I think most of Japan would be surprised to find that your son doesn't think a Futon is a bed!

DW - Clear and packing is progressing ... only a few boxes packed so far, but such a lot of stuff has gone! It's a relief ... a huge weight lifting, and always a nice feeling when someone goes away smiling!

Pants - Sorry, I didn't mean to give the impression I was new to freecycle - I've been using it for years, it just suddenly struck me that the reactions I have to some of the more dramatic freecycle requests are probably quite a good little inner measure of my own needs vs wants.

Oh I agree that it's fine to want something in pine, I just don't think it could be considered a 'desperate need'!

David - thanks for stopping by. Yes, this is the third freecycle group I've been a member of, and it's interesting the variation between them in terms of both content and etiquette. I think the guidelines are fab, it's just that they're not always followed - no criticism of the group itself of course.

I love freecycle. I can't believe how much stuff has been taken away from here this week ... and lots of lovely cheerful interactions too!

12 October, 2007 19:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stray

I have also been a member of a freecycle network for a while. It leaves me with a lovely warm feeling inside when I can let go of unwanted possessions in such a positive way.

I am glad you are managing to travel light and wish you well with your move.

13 October, 2007 06:57  
Blogger Jon M said...

Good luck with the move. If you really need something then you might 'pine' for it though? :-)

13 October, 2007 19:25  
Blogger Tamsin said...

Unless you had borrowed a pine cheset of drawers from a tall and muscly and somewhat violent aquaintance, and you had broken the pine chest of drawers and now your aquaintance was asking for the pine chest of drawers back and you needed desparately to replace it so the aquaintance didn't find out.

14 October, 2007 08:32  
Blogger John said...

This reminds me of a post I once saw on my local Freecycle:

"I really, really need The Sims Pets for my PS2. Must be complete with original case and instructions".

I couldn't believe the cheek ofit. I was half tempted to get in contact and tell him I had it and then when arranging collection give him coordinates for the middle of a river.

14 October, 2007 23:07  
Blogger That's so pants said...

Hi Stray

My mistake. Your post was very funny. I've met some odd people through Freecyle. I don't mind that. If I have to meet people, I prefer them to be odd.



14 October, 2007 23:17  
Blogger Stray said...

hullaballoooooo - yes, such a lovely lovely feeling. A guy came round on Saturday night to pick up 2 pairs of football boots of mine (I have finally admitted to myself that I will never play seriously again). He told me that his son was playing in a match the next day, had just outgrown his other ones in the last week or so and they hadn't had the money last week for new ones. He was going to have to miss the game ... so yes, I felt seriously warm and fuzzy and I hope he scored a goal!

Jon M - I'm not sure I should reward such a terrible pun with any attention ... but it did make me giggle!

tamsin - genius! Have you considered a career change to writing sitcoms for the BBC?

John - that's classic! I can imagine the follow up post "I urgently, desperately need new trainers, must be size 6 nike total 90s ... mine suffered unexpected water damage."

Ms Pants - god yes! Odd people rock :) (I don't mean literally of course).

15 October, 2007 10:08  
Anonymous Hydrocodone said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

02 November, 2007 06:25  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

I agree with you - though I think Tamsin makes a good point in her comment! Very good post.

07 November, 2007 13:48  

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