30 November 2006

Going in Circles with Freecycle

The circle in the title of this blog entry refers to a fruitless process, not the recycling circle. I love recycling and its siblings, re-use and reduce, and the idea of freecycling is great, at least in theory. Through Yahoo!Groups, such as http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BrooklynFreeCycle, one would post notices about wanting something or having something to give away. It's preferable that your first post is a give offer, not a take offer. When someone wants your offer, he'll contact you via email and the two of you work out the arrangement to meet in meatspace ( as opposed to cyberspace) to transfer the object(s). Someone gets something for free while you free up some room in your house (hopefully not to be filled up with other junks). Simple, no? Some years ago when my Kid no longer needed diapers I was able to meet someone in my neighborhood to give away his unused (of course!) diapers. It took a few email and cell phone calls, but it was a success in the end. My recent experience with the Manhattan and Brooklyn Freecyle groups is rather disappointing.

I figured the Freecylce sites would be a good place to go ask for a free internal CD burner for my "rescued" Friday PC. Sure enough someone wrote to me saying he had an unused burner that I could have. He even told me to write to him at another email address, different from the one he sent the email from. I wrote back but then there was no news from him ever since. It's a big city, maybe he got into an accident or moved to another city, but yet I'm still pretty miffed. Luckily, I already found a burner by other means. While in the Freecycle sites, I couldn't help reading the other posts. One lady asked for a set of equipments to go with her second-hand PeeCee. I happened to have just the things - keyboard, mouse, speakers, and power cables. We exchanged a few email and finally settled on a date and place to finalize the process. She never showed up. I learned later via email that there was some problems at home. So we made another appointment and again she didn't show up. The second time there was no email whatsoever. She probably figured her welcome mat had been worn thin and she should burn the bridge and never look back. Luckily, while waiting for her Godot I had my iPod with me and some Mac Geek Gab podcast to keep me entertained.

Two other Freecycle contacts also ended in failure. One lady had some toys offered, and even though my Kid already has too many toys, some of the items she had were something Kid really likes. Again, a few email and then silence. It turned out she had some deaths in the family and naturally had to attend to the more urgent matters first. Understandable. In the other case, someone else needed floppy disks and I was glad to offer her a bunch, I was hoping like one hundred, but she only wanted twenty. After I told her that I travel to work in New Jersey via certain transfer points in Manhattan, she said that she couldn't work out a plan to meet me. Oh well, I tried.

I've had enough of Freecycling this year. I'll lay low for a month and maybe get back in it next year. It's a worthwhile cause but it is so frustrating when things don't work out.

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