My Kind of “Free Market” Economy

Last week, one of the coupon mom bloggers I follow on Twitter mentioned that she had posted on Freecycle to give away some of her stockpile of feminine hygiene products and got a response from someone who thought they were a weird thing to give away. She questioned her own judgment in these matters, and it got me thinking about the massive quantity of such things that I just got for free at Rite Aid last week (paid with $16 on a gift card from a previous deal, earned a new $25 gift card). So I went on my local Freecycle site, which is run as a yahoo group, and searched for anyone wanting or giving away pads or ‘pons. Lo and behold, I came across Dana, who has a medical condition that requires a fairly large and constant supply.

Dana and I have exchanged a few emails, and she’ll be picking up 10 packs sometime this week when she can borrow a friend’s monthly Metrocard and save the subway fare. She asked if I’d ever attended any of the Freecycle meet-ups — I hadn’t, because they’re held in Brooklyn, plus I picture a cruddy, dusty flea market. Then she told me about the Really Really Free Market organized by a local anarchy organization and hosted at a midtown church on the last Sunday of the month, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it because I got some work. I wouldn’t have gone anyway in that abominable weather — Mother Nature was cycling through every type of rain in her arsenal at warp speed. I wasn’t too disappointed, figuring it would probably be a grubby, dusty flea market.

Last night, Dana emailed me about her afternoon at the Really Really Free Market. First, she listed the things she’d brought (clothes, shoes, carrots books), and that pretty much met my expectations for a flea market, except for the carrots. Food? thought I. How odd, how…useful. Then she mentioned a bunch of tarts which were being given away slice by slice, to be eaten on the spot. That caught my attention. But what really got me to reconsider the whole cruddy flea market expectation was the collection of goodies she’d brought home with her:  bananas, eggplants, ex-swag tea mug with strainer, bread, fresh cut roses and sunflowers, cosmetics, perfume. Why, these are things I would either want or be delighted to bring as my contribution.

So I’m thinking that this is yet another resource to tap into, and a way to offload quality unused items I couponed down to free in return for things I (or my collection of broke folks) really need and would otherwise pay for. Like bananas! Still, I need to do my homework on all this – I wouldn’t want to show up with a bag full of shampoo and toothpaste at a clothing swap. Stay tuned for tales of my rather odd “free market” endeavors…

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8 Responses

  1. HAHAHA, at the Anarchy Organization! Wouldn’t it be funny to be the anarchy organizer???

    Freecycle is full of jerks. I had people tell me no one would want (for free!) a stained rug. I don’t even understand why you waste your time emailing that.

  2. I love that you’re discovering all these cool resources, I’ve got my fingers crossed that it proves out.

  3. The anarchy organization meets in a church? How is organized religion acceptable but organized government needs to be destroyed? anyway, the free market sounds interesting. Angelenos aren’t that progressive though, I doubt there is one in this area. Let us know how it goes.

  4. This is not such a strange thing to have way to much of. Last fall we were taking care of my stepmother who had terminal cervical cancer at home (no hospice in policy) and we needed tons of the stuff. When she died in December we had tons left over and it seemed silly to throw these rather expensive (new, many packages not even opened) out. I believe my dad donated them to a women’s shelter.

  5. That program sounds amazing. Just this week, I bought 8 Suave deodorants from Walgreens since they were free after coupons/rr…….

    I also have about 50 First Aid Kits TO GO packs…….

    By the way, I live in a tiny apartment while sharing a bedroom soooooo there is not much room for stuff, even if they’re free! =(

    Its great that you donate a lot of your items though. I noticed a couple other bloggers have a garage sale once a year to get rid of their 20 boxes of toothpaste, etc.

  6. That sounds like a fun event to attend: the Really Really Free Market. 🙂 I doubt they have any in Utah, so I’m going to have to live vicariously through you. So have you been to one yet? And what did you get?

    • They’re only held once a month, and I couldn’t make the July one. The next one is Aug 30, so look out for that post! I’m hoping to snag produce.

      I’ve already got a huge tote filled with goodies to give away – things I question the usefulness of at a shelter (Fusion razors, full-size bottles of Listerine, dental floss) or are just too specialized to find a benefactor for (glucose monitor, sinus irrigation kit). And like FrugalShoppingIdeas, I have a LOT of those little First Aid kits – more than the shelters I support want. I just give them full boxes of band-aids.

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