Saturday, November 17, 2007

Freecycle can bite me

I've been a member of our local Freecycle group here for a while. A few times I've picked up interesting things, a few times I've been able to give things away.

Sometimes, because I'm in one of the wealthiest counties in the United States (a statistic to which I do not, I can guarantee you, contribute) you see pretty outrageous things posted in the "wanted" category, like:

- Anyone have a baby car seat for a Porsche Boxster? I'm a daddy now, but I don't want to give up my real baby! So, if you have a spare of the one specifically made for the Boxster, let me know! (Hey, Daddy Porsche -- if you can afford to drive your baby around in a Boxster, you can afford to go pay for the Boxster baby seat!)

- My maid is going to have a baby. I'd like to give her a bonus of a crib. Does anyone have one available? (OMFG, don't be such a cheap-ass rich tightwad - pay for your maid's bonus yourself! Get her a damn crib!)


A while back, some a-hole on the list actually listed one of his female friends as being available and not a bad choice. Har har har. Oh, the jocularity! Giving away a middle-aged single woman! (Were I his friend, I would have been pretty pissed to know he'd decided I was worthy of giving away on the "going to the dump, but still has some life left in it" list.)

Today, someone posted that she wanted a bookshelf for her daughter's room. Aha! Well, I have three really old IKEA-style bookshelves (Target, circa 1992) down in the storage room. I wrote to her - twice - and her Freecycle-registered e-mail address failed. So, I posted a message to Freecycle, simply saying, "Re: Bookshelf Wanted - your e-mail address isn't working - zap me a message, and these shelves are yours!"

Plain, simple, straight to the point. Someone needed something, I had something, her addy didn't work, I did what I could to get my message across.

Believe it or not, the moderator for the group sent me a snippy message telling me this was "not a discussion list", that my post would be deleted, and I should get in touch with this person directly.

Uh... okay, bubba... tried that.

I wrote back and said, "You're kidding, right? Did you even read the message? I only posted this because her address didn't work." I'm just tryin' to help a sistah out here, people.

Moderator wrote back that he'd read my message and that's how he knew it wasn't "appropriate" for his list. Appropriate? It's not as if I wrote, "I'M SITTING IN FRONT OF MY COMPUTER NAKED, SHAKING MY MASSIVE GAZONGAS AT THE SCREEN AS I WRITE THAT I HAVE 15-YEAR-OLD CRAPPY BOOKSHELVES AVAILABLE FOR THE WOMAN WITH THE BAD E-MAIL!! WHOOOOOOO-WEEEE! SHAKE 'EM!!!" Apparently, if I'd just written "Available: bookshelves" and not said, "Hey, chick with the bad e-mail, I'd love to give you these for you kid!" that would have been fine.

Whatever. Frankly, nobody trying to do something nice deserves to meet Mr. Snippy Moderator.

Look, I run a mailing list, too. And I know when someone breaks the rules egregiously, you need to use a measure of discipline. But I also know you don't smack someone around for trying to do something good or appropriate, especially when it's a first offense.

But you know what? Life is way too short to deal with snippy people. Fuck 'em. Most of the people on this particular Freecycle list can afford their own stuff. I unsubscribed. Salvation Army can have all my old stuff, thanks. And the tightwads of Potomac can buy themselves Boxster car seats and cribs for their maids.

No good deed goes unpunished, kids!


Anonymous said...

The Freecycle in my neighborhood wouldn't let me join because I wrote a sentence instead of just entering my zip code.

They are completely devoid of a sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

Here's another vote for the general pissiness of the moderators. I've been giving away stuff through Gaithersburg Freecycle, and I've been berated at least four times by the moderator, mostly for minor formatting issues.

And I'm frequently amazed at how brazen some of the requests are, asking for pricey items.

Chuck said...

Your "as if I wrote" paragraph had me chortling away. WHOOOOO-WEEEE!

I should give more of my old stuff to goodwill or something. Usually it ends up getting thrown away.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for Goodwill or similar organizations, since they accomplish several purposes: 1) they repurpose my unwanted, but still usable household goods, 2) they create job, and 3) they bring in tax revenue. FreeCycle is nice, but as you point out, most of the folks are just flat out greedy tightwads.

paulnojustpaul said...

I'm with you M, I briefly joined the Freecycle list in my area but unsubbed later after finding the whole thing a little distasteful.

The ideal is great; people helping others out (in a give & take model not a charity) and avoiding adding to landfill. The reality is unfortunately less than that utopia. On the giving side you have (hopefuly a minority) of people who think it's a class thing (ie. just like donating to charity) and on the giving side you have people (as you say) asking for some pretty unreasonable things.

It can go well, e.g. I offered and gave a hand lawn mower we no longer needed, it went to a good home, and I got to meet a nice person. Smiles all 'round.

Off-putting case in point, I had relatives coming over and needed a couple of single beds for just one weekend. I posted asking to borrow two beds for that weekend, wanting to avoid buying beds that would only get used once, and just take up space. The response I got from a "giver" was in such a haughty tone that I said 'uh thanks but no thanks', unsubbed, and went out and bought a couple of air matresses.

You're right, fuck 'em. Nice idea, but it's getting ruined by some pretty off people.

gonzomantis said...

Give the Porsche guy a break. Don't you know how much those seats cost? Check this:

Okay, if you own a Boxster you probably don't need to go trolling for freebies. Suck it up and shell out the bucks dude.

Anonymous said...

I checked out our local freecycle once, but like you was amazed at the unreasonable requests.

Mary A Brown said...

Ah, I support the Salvation Army in concept but since they are not gay-friendly, I try not to patronize them. I'm sure you know horror stories about Goodwill as well (and not just the Gopher ones!). What is wrong with these petty tyrants who moderate, anyway?

elizabethm42 said...

I pretty much ignore freecycle unless I'm trying to get rid of stuff so I haven't seen too many crazy requests. But as someone who doesn't have a car, I've been happy to be able to get rid of stuff that otherwise would have been thrown out. I've also been able to get rid of stuff by posting on my neighborhood email list. Has anyone used the "free" section on craigslist?

Anonymous said...

Same story with the Westminster Freecycle. We refer to the moderators as the Freecycle Nazis. No post for you!!

Check out what I started as a competition to freecycle... - I guarantee you no one is rude here ;)

Jeffrey said...

I just left my FreeCycle group and joined the FreeSharing group instead :-) Same story here: moderators are tyrants and fuss about nitpicky crap that doesn't seem to really matter.

Anonymous said...

I also say fuck Freecycle because of the picky mods too. From the various boards I've been on I'm starting to see that mods seem to have insecurities large enough to have them enjoy wielding their 'powers'...well eff them losers,there are plenty of other places to go.