Wulf's Webden

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Spotting Offers


I posted yesterday about how I had finally been on the receiving end of a Freecycle transaction. An important factor was that I responded quickly to the offer message. I know from my experiences of giving things away that you can get more than enough responses within an hour or two; I might not always take the very first response but the good will almost certainly not go to anyone who doesn’t get back to me before I put a “TAKEN (pending collection)” message up.

I have two tips for using Freecycle to receive as well as give. Firstly, it is important to be on top of what is posted. I used to check the local website a few times after I had posted an offer myself but never saw anything I was interested in within a suitably short period of time to respond. A few weeks ago, I set up a Googlemail account; it’s much easier to monitor that for new offers and I don’t end up flooding my regular email account with masses of short postings that aren’t of interest to me. Therefore I recommend getting email notifications and getting them sent somewhere you can easily stay on top of them.

Secondly, assuming the response is sent relatively quickly, I think the content will often make a difference. When giving stuff away, I will normally select with a reply that is short, well-formed and to the point, suggesting someone well-organised and reliable. Articles have been put on Freecycle because someone wants to get rid of them, not because they want to stay in every night for a week waiting for the latest promised pick-up.

I put a note of when I might be able to collect the item and my mobile number, in case that is a preferred way to contact me instead of email. I might miss out on some things, because my schedule doesn’t fit with that of the person offering them, but I can live with that. If I can sometimes get an item I’m looking for for free without costing very much time, then everybody involved in the transaction wins.

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