Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Free - At A Price

Anyone out there a Freecycle user? I have been for a while, and it's certainly very useful for getting rid of clutter - disposed of an old sofa, some dog crates and cat baskets and a child's easel this year alone. Very useful for acquiring stuff too - while in the States I got 2 computer desks and a sofa and love seat that way. Very handy.

I've been using it recently to get some things for our various projects. I needed stuff for the garden project and so far some seeds, plant pots, a shovel and an electric mower have come our way. Later this week I am due to pick up some jam jars for our T3 chutney-making endeavours. All in all, a really useful service.

You know what this is leading up to, don't you? As readers of my other blogs know all too well, I don't usually lay on the praise this heavily at the outset unless there is a gripe of some fashion in the offing. So, even though I don't like to be mean, confrontational or overtly critical, I feel I must venture forward and say my piece.

I am a member of two local Freecycle groups, Rye Freecycle and Ashford Freecycle, living as I do somewhere between the two.

Rye Freecycle is the smaller of the two groups. Not as many members means not as many posts, less stuff on offer. However, even though they are slower to approve and post a message, they generally do without any hassle.

Ashford Freecycle is a much larger group, more members, more stuff available, you get the idea. However, they have a large and extensive list of rules about posting, which if you haven't read, can cause your seemingly innocuous post to get kicked back unceremoniously for some perceived error.

I made the mistake in a post asking for garden stuff to mention that it was for a 'community project', thinking that this would encourage people to dig around that extra bit harder for some old garden tools from the shed or whatever. A blistering email came back telling me that they had very strict rules about charity donations and would need not only the name of the organisation, address, telephone number but also the name of the group leader and our registered charity number etc. I'd also posted a similar message asking for jam jars and home brew equipment (for cider making projects). This got the same treatment. So I wrote back very politely and gave them all the info they required and then some, lingering over the fact that we are most definitely not a charity. The email came back saying I needed to alter my original post and put all that info that I'd just sent to them in the message for all and sundry to read. Fine, whatever, copy, paste, click, done. Happy now?
For a while it seemed they were. But after a week or two went by and nothing but garden stuff came our way, I was concerned over the jam jars. We still keep getting more fruit given to us (apples, blackberries, damsons, plums, even a marrow) but no joy on the jars. Well, I thought, put out another call for jam jars. keep it simple this time. no mention of a volunteer group but just a need for jars. I've already had two replies via the Rye group, but the only thing I've had from Ashford is the moderator carping on again. "You've already asked for jars once this month, you can't ask again!"

Well, excuuuuse me!

N.B. Should have loads of chutneys and jams available for you to sample at T3Tea, Sat October 1st, Highbury Hall, 10 till 4. Miss this and you miss out.

1 comment:

  1. why not start your own Tenterden free-cycling group - I can highly recommend it for community building as well as planet-saving and there's nothing like having your own group where people can just walk round to get jam jars, raspeberry cuttings etc. I highly recommend the Freegle network, if you are starting from scratch, its the UK version of Freecycle http://ilovefreegle.org