Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Freecycle Complaints

I love Freecycle. Freecycle has helped me quickly get rid of things we are no longer using. I have received some things from Freecyclers and am grateful for them. However, Freecycle can be annoying! After all, it is made up of people, and people are flawed individuals.

I am at approximately a 40% pick up rate. When I offer to give something away, only 40% of the claimers come to get it. I find this most annoying as I put my address in the post and ask people to make sure they are willing and able to get here before they say they want the item. Also I usually give it to the first person that asks to try to streamline the transaction and get it over with. You’d think if they were that fast to reply (sometimes responding less than a minute after it was posted), that they’d really come and get it.

I am annoyed by one poster who keeps posting that she wants her items to be taken by someone who is “less fortunate” than her. She doesn’t post an income level, so are people supposed to guess about their qualifications? Do we have to send her our demographic information and our income level before we ask if we can have it?

Last week someone posted that their dog was having surgery and they wanted help. Huh?

I also laugh out loud when I read requests for items such as designer clothing in specific sizes or cars (of a certain model, even!) or for brand-new expensive trendy items such as iPods or flat screen computer monitors or for copies of a just-released movie on DVD.

But the other extreme is the people who are offering up pure trash. It is against the rules but people do it, nearly every day.
Examples:
Television, doesn’t work at all
Television, picture but no sound
Television, no picture but has sound
VCR, not working
Lawn Equipment, not working
Air conditioners, not working

I once had someone come to get some plants out of my yard and they tried to talk me into giving them other plants instead that I was unwilling to give. He left without taking anything as he said he didn’t want the plant type that I had offered. I thought that was a little ballsy, not to mention a waste of my own time. If he didn’t want what I offered he should not have responded.

Another time I was coordinating people to come and get these plants, (since taker #1 didn’t show up) which were still in the ground. When people came I needed to show them where the plants were, so I had to be here when they came. One person used my name, which was on my email, to find my phone number and street address using Google and then they phoned my husband to say they were on their way. I was at church at the time. I had a very busy schedule with appointments that day and he was very sick and bedridden. When I got home from church and learned about this, the person was already on their way, as they lived out of state and were driving a long distance to get here. The people that were coming were nuns and my husband thought we should do all we could to accommodate them. He even wanted to go dig the plants up himself as he didn’t like the idea of nuns doing labor like that (but he was too sick to get out of bed.) I thought that was a very pushy move! I ended up rearranging my schedule.

It is also a good thing that I leave everything on my front porch. If I had to be here when they came, it would not work out. Almost everyone comes at a different time then they state they are coming.

I have read posts from other people saying that when people came to get stuff from them, the person stole other things that were never offered on Freecycle. Sometimes these are items promised to other Freecyclers and other times they are things that belong to other people. Once a person had borrowed some equipment, I think it was for painting the house, and a Freecycler helped themselves to it!

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