Is getting stuff for free worth the aggro?

freeMost people think of Facebook as merely a social/anti-social network full of Friends you never see. But for some people, Facebook is also a shopping site- more recently Facebook has become awash with local selling sites, as people realised they could avoid the crippling costs of both eBay/Paypal and Royal Mail, by selling their crap to someone who lived down the road.

However, as the economic squeeze has tightened, and persisted, there are a growing number of ‘free’ ‘thrift’ and ‘recycle’ pages springing up around the country. Again, these are mostly locally based, and the idea behind them is that, just because you don’t want something, someone else might be able to put it to good use, either as is, or they might upcycle (paint) it.

Sounds good in theory. Why not save serviceable items from landfill and help out a neighbour on the way?

Unfortunately, it seems is less simple in practice. Taking just a small sample of sites available, they are full of rules, arguments and (if admins are to be believed) threats of physical violence, all in pursuit of someone’s old toaster. The main issues can be split into the following categories:

First commenter. Some sites stipulate that the first person to comment should get the item. However, this invariably means that some slug somewhere with no job and nothing better to do than troll Facebook free sites ends up getting everything. All day.

Greed. See above. Some sites have bans on people getting  more than a certain number of items per day. These are (we can only hope) only children who never learned to share.

Sob stories. The only alternative to the First Commenter to determine who gets the free item seems to be Worst Lifestory method. Here, would-be owners of whatever item compete to tell the most heart-wrenching stories in order to earn the favour of the person donating. Clearly it doesn’t matter if said stories are actually true.

Car booters. Free sites are full of disgruntled donators who have found their clock/shoes/tv stand for sale at a local car boot. It is irrelevant that they were going to chuck the item, and have given it away (ie relinquished any rights of ownership) over the item. If anyone’s making a profit on the item, they should be. Particularly if the enterprising car booter is also an inventive sob-story writer.

Wanted ads. Yes, I’d like a new 42” HD TV too, but I don’t expect someone to give me one for nothing. The requests on these sites can be increasingly bizarre, from equipment to start a plumbing business, a new coat, to a rug to cover the stain on the floor before the midwife comes. Still, if you don’t ask…

Many of these sites get hundreds of posts a day, allowing you to trawl through photos of other people’s crap to your heart’s content- just so long as you are also prepared to put up with the swearing, insults, threats, shocking spelling and whingeing that goes along with it*.

So do you use these sites? Are they worth the effort or is it just another excuse for people to moan at each other and do the charity shop out of a few bob?

* come to think of it, sounds a bit like our comments section


  • Daisy D.
    Yes Sam, I was also reminded of the BW comments section when I read: "some slug somewhere with no job and nothing better to do than troll... free sites".
  • Cheesey
    There's a huge thread on MSE about this. It's called Freecycle/Freegle and balloons on sticks. Whilst the aim of donating stuff is to minimise landfill there's nothing wrong with wanting the item to go to someone with a genuine need rather than a carbooter/eBayer. A lot of Freecyclers are ignorant and have no manners - "I'll av it now." and most can barely string together a please or thank you. Then there are those who want YOU to deliver your free item and more importantly those that are chosen to have the item and don't turn up.
  • Desmond
    Same here.
  • Captain.Cretin
    Never heard of Freecycle?? Dont even need to join FB (Whew!!) (Waits for Chewie to read above comments).
  • Iamlegend
    Is trolling on Bitterwallet worth the aggro?
  • Chewbacca
    @Ian Leg End Not really. The majority of posters on this site tend to be, for want of a better word, remedial. You know the types; people who can't tell the difference between you/you're, bought/brought, that sort of thing. To give you an example, there was a chap a few months back who argued that the "beer" called "Tennent's" was in fact called "Tennant's". Not a major issue, you may think, easily solved by proving the chap wrong. Not this particular retard, I'm afraid. Even after proving him 100% incorrect, he still maintained that he was right. That's the mentality of the majority on here. The fucking morons.
  • Captain.Cretin
    Maybe he was drinking a special version aimed at Dr Who fans.
  • Rubber J.
    I think it's lamB leg end.
  • LL J.
    @Lumpy's dad Oh so that's what it's all about... what a shit meme.
  • jim
    I've given up on getting anything for free, it's full of lifeless and presumably jobless opportunists. Also not worth the hassle trying to sell anything because it's a lot of effort for not very much money once fee's and everything have gone through.
  • Louis T.
    This free stuff malarky is all well and good, however I have met some right chumps. The chap who needed a computer for his poor, college student daughter.... who drove up in a van with 'Computer Supplies' written on the side... Nops. You aren't having it you chancer. The chap who beat me too some speakers on freecycle, then i saw some others advertised on ebay. I went to pick them up and they were the same speakers. Git. And he came round a week later having made a new account for an amplifier I was giving away. Laughed in his face. Emails with 'Give me it' and 'I want item' On the other hand, lots of nice people, veggies galore and someone lent me a chainsaw once. What a nice bunch, most freecyclers now just give free stuff to the literate and ignore the nutter emails. Took me a few years to get my nutter spidey-sense up to scratch!
  • Dick
    You can have good fun on freecycle offering stuff you haven't got and seeing how many requests for it you get, or just list real crap you do have. A couple of months ago I listed half a bag of self raising flour, BBE June 2007. And three people wanted it. One was a sob story about not being able to afford to buy flour to make cakes. Yet the reply had "Sent from my iphone" at the bottom.
  • fonemnan
    Had my fair share of been messed around on Freecycle,agree with other comments when I offer items for free a large section of people want pictures sent of the ite, free delivery of the item etc and thank yourself lucky if they give you a please or thank you..I give it a miss these days and just skip my unwanted things,shame really but hay ho.

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