Jul 29, 2008

Freecycle isn't working for me

I need to vent. Once again, I've offered something (a working gas grill) on our local freecycle group, had several people respond, chose one -- and that person didn't show up to pick up the grill. I wouldn't be frustrated if this was my first time, but this has happened nine times for the past ten items I've offered an item. I sent email to the group, explaining my frustration. The letter was as follows:
I have had one more no show on items I've offered on Freecycle. I'm not sure if those of you who respond to offers understand how truly rude, inconsiderate and time consuming it is to not to pick up the item you said you wanted. People who offer items take the time to prepare the item for posting, post the item, read through and sort through many email responses, select someone to receive the item, send directions for the pick-up, email all respondents back whether or not they received the item, remember what time and day to make the item available for pickup, and more. It is a time consuming process, but we do it to first, to help others out, and second, to keep items that are still useable out of the local landfill. When an item is not picked up as promised, the person offering must now put in more time, emailing the next in line, waiting for a response, again sending directions for pick-up, etc. For the past five items I have put up for offer, I have had NINE no-shows. And of those nine, not one person bothered to email me and say, "Oops, sorry, I can't make it today after all -- how about tomorrow?". The freecycle list is not a contest to see who can be the first to respond to items offered. It is not a case of "he who gets the most, wins". It is obvious from all the no shows that people who do not actually want or need the items are responding simply to see if they can "win" and perhaps have no intention of actually picking up the item. Someone who may have actually needed or wanted the item may not receive it because of this "No Show Game". It is easier, takes less time, and gives tax benefits to donate an item to Goodwill, than to post items on Freecycle and not have them picked up. Those of us offering items and going through this "no show game" tire of it quickly, know that donating an item is an easier and quicker option. I ask you to consider before responding to Offers on any Freecycle list. If you don't truly want or need the item, or have no intention or means of actually picking it up, please don't respond!!! It's THAT easy!! If you do want or need the item offered, but something happens that you can't pick up the item as scheduled, have the common decency to email the person offering the item and schedule a new pick up date!! Remember - there are people behind these Freecycle offers. And ALL people need to be treated with respect and courtesy.
I just don't get it. WHY do people respond to Freecycle offers who 1) don't have the vehicle to pick up an item or 2) don't really want the item?? And why oh why don't people have the decency to just drop an email and say, "Hey, I can't make it today - how about tomorrow?" But no -- not ONE no-show has so much as sent me any kind of notice that they can't pick up the item. Not one. I think I'm done with Freecycle. Although absolutely wonderful in it's intent (keep working items from going into our landfills), it's just not working for me in practice. What a shame. Like so many things in life these days, a few ruin it for many.


Pieceful Afternoon said...

And then there is my favorite - the person that says you can have an item then have listed - you get in the car/truck, drive there, find the location only to have them say - oh, some other guy came by first and he wanted it really bad so I let him take it even though you were first to ask.

That actually happened twice to me - and when I said - Gee thanks a LOT - they had the nerve to call ME rude.

Now if I am responding - I make sure that the agreement is that they will NOT give the item to someone else.

We've had some fun exchanges - both giving and receiving - but I agree, those that are rude and don't pick up are a big pain.

Christy said...

Or...I love when you put an item out at the end of the driveway for the either the trashman or anyone who wants it and potential "customers!" (lol) ask if you can DELIVER it to their house because they see your pick-up truck in your garage. Yes, that is what we want to do at 90 degree summer temperature and gas at near $4 per gallon. You got to love the nerve (and rudeness) of some folks!