Do you.... Freecycle? I just signed up yesterday, and I am so entranced that I can't seem to look away. I imagine it is the same way some people feel about Twitter (which I still fail to understand). I refresh constantly when I am at my computer, I can't stand to miss a post, etc. I am hoping the fascination will abate in a day or two as I still have children to raise who are not nearly as interested in the latest Freecycle offer as I am.
For those who don't know, Freecycle is a series of locally-focused message boards where people who have something they no longer want or need post a message offering it to the group at large and anybody who wants that item can email the owner and if all goes well they arrange to pass it along and the person who had the unwanted item gets extra storage space and the person who wanted the item gets it for free. The idea is to keep items that are still useful out of landfills, so you can post just about anything. And people do.
In the past day I've seen a couple of televisions, at least three microwaves, construction materials, furniture, mattresses, all sorts of things traded on my local Freecycle board. I've also seen half-empty packs of diapers and open bottles of vitamins, collections of half-used gallons of paint in unspecified colors, and odd collections of household items offered up as a lot. Some clothes, some toys, sort of like a huge and hugely eclectic online yard sale. Or yard give, I guess, since everything is required to be given away for free. My favorite offer so far was leftovers. Someone offered up the remains of their dinner, which they had not enjoyed and did not intend to finish, estimating that it would feed three people.
So, along with the compelling nature of things that people give away I'm also discovering that there is a great potential to trigger any social anxiety you may have. I've emailed about a couple of items in the past day, just because they would be handy to have and I wanted to see how this thing works. And sure, I understand that if you post an offer for three bikes you are likely to get a lot of emails and I may not make the cut. But when you send a very nice, exceedingly polite email expressing interest in someone's used travel Magna Doodle and get no response and somebody else get the Magna Doodle, well... it can start to make you wonder. What was wrong with my email? I said I could pick up any time! Who had a better offer than any time? Was my grammar bad? Does my email smell? Why am I not worthy of your used travel Magna Doodle? MY CHILDREN DESERVE A USED TRAVEL MAGNA DOODLE AS MUCH AS ANY OTHER CHILDREN!
It may be time for me to step away from the Freecycle.