This week I’ve had another go at Freecycling – I signed up to our local group a few years ago and since then my Hotmail account (which I don’t use) has been inundated with messages, and I could never work out how to unsubscribe so I just let them pile up and tried to ignore them.
This time I’ve signed up and opted to receive no messages, and it’s a much happier experience. On Monday night I listed two items to offer, and when I checked my email on Tuesday morning was surprised to see how many people wanted the old sewing machine that I no longer have need for (I still have another two old machines which don’t even work, but am keeping those for sentimental reasons – a stupid thing to keep for that sort of reason because they take up so much space, but there you go…). In total I had 22 emails from people asking for the machine – I checked the Freecycle guidelines to see what the etiquette is in this situation – do you have to donate the item to the first person, or can you read through the emails and pick someone that sounds polite and reliable? In our local group’s documentation I saw guidance to those people responding to offers, telling them to be polite so that their email doesn’t get passed over in favour of someone who sounded nicer, so I took that to mean you can read through them and make your mind up. I read all the emails and made a list of four people that I thought would get use out of it – mostly young couples who, like me, are setting up their first home and said they wanted to make curtains/cushions etc to save a bit of money, but also an older man who thought his wife would enjoy it, and a bored stay at home mum who wanted something to do in the moments between looking after her baby. Of these four, I emailed the one who had replied first to offer them the machine, and they did prove to be reliable – they came to collect it last night and I was pleased to see that they seem like they will enjoy it (I was a little wary of it going to someone who would simply sell it on ebay).
But then when I checked my email later there was a grumpy message from someone who had not been given the machine! Once you’ve “gifted” an item, you’re meant to leave a message on the site saying it’s been taken, and they had replied to that one saying they’d emailed as soon as they’d seen the listing, had pinned their hopes on getting the machine, and that they felt they “stood no chance” of getting it. This made me feel cross – but also glad that I hadn’t chosen to give it to them since they’re possibly not that pleasant. I checked back and theirs had been the fifth email I’d received, so they wouldn’t have got it if I’d just given it to the first person I heard from anyway.
The second item (an iron) is being collected later, and I’ve replied to someone else’s offer, so fingers crossed I may soon be the proud owner of a donated bag of seashells (seriously – I have my reasons for wanting them!). They’d listed them a few days ago though so I’ve not got my hopes up – and unlike the grumpy person I dealt with, I won’t be emailing to voice my dissatisfaction if someone else is the lucky one.