If you don’t know about Freecycle, you’re missing out on a very good thing. It’s a transnational ‘grassroots movement’ of people giving stuff away (and getting stuff). Instead of putting useful bibs and bobs you no longer need out on the verge to be collected by canny passers-by, or canvassing friends to see if anyone wants the chair that doesn’t fit in your living room any more, or selling the superseded TV on eBay for a nugatory sum, you advertise them on your local Freecycle list and someone interesting comes and takes them off your hands. It costs nothing, and is remarkably undemanding. When a small business I know was closing down an office, it gave away book cases, a television set, large pieces of furniture, computers, to recipients including a family whose house had burned down and a school that was struggling to make ends meet. Someone put up a message saying they needed compost: we happily gave them a couple of buckets from our plentiful supply (and the recipient turned out to be someone I last saw when she was two years old, the daughter of a close friend’s partner at the time). The Freecycle website’s catchphrase is, ‘Changing the world, one gift at a time.’
Today must be some kind of landmark case of one person’s junk being another’s treasure. I received an email with the subject line ‘[freecycle_sc] OFFER: Annandale – Live cockroaches.’ He wasn’t kidding:
Anyone who keeps a pet lizard knows that roaches are expensive to buy at petshops, and that many you might catch yourself are likely to be contaminated with insecticide and harm your reptile.
My house has not had insecticides used in it for at least a dozen years, and my roaches are healthy and safe. I’m offering to catch them on a weekly basis and have them available for collection.
best phone to catch me on is xxxx xxxx Thurs Friday or Monday.
See, you don’t know what you’re missing.