“Free” category on Craigslist to be renamed “Haul away my old, bulky, broken crap for free.”
I used to love the “free” button on Craigslist. There were some killer giveaways on there, including things like antique movie projectors, great toys for the kids, ornaments, lamps and so on. But these days, at least on the Denver Craigslist, the free category seems to have been taken over by some rather blatant attempts to convince someone (anyone) to do an unpleasant job for free.
Look on the free category on Craigslist - Denver and you will be hit by a huge amount of the following, in various incarnations:
Old couches and sofas in really poor condition
Firewood (which comes in numerous forms)
Scrap metal (anything broken and made of metal)
Broken or really outdated appliances
Nasty old beds and mattresses
Old children’s backyard swingsets/playsets
I’ve posted a few pictures to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I mean, this stuff is in pretty bad shape for even the most optimistic fixer-upper. Now, I’m not saying there isn’t a use for this sort of stuff, but maybe there should be a separate section on CL called “old junk” or “garbage” because to be honest, that’s what most of this is.
The free section used to be a place where genuinely useful objects with value were given away by people who no longer had a use for them, but didn’t want to just throw them away or be hassled with trying to sell them for a few bucks. Now though, the “free” section is quickly filling up with other people’s junk. Junk that they want you to dismantle and haul away, so they add words like “useful for a DIY project” or “firewood” when it is, in fact, just a bunch of junk. "A rose by any other name..." comes to mind.
What’s the reason for this rise in worthless junk appearing on Craigslist in such numbers? In my opinion, it’s the economy. Or rather, the poor economy and rocketing gas prices. Most refuse collectors won’t take a lot of this stuff, it has to be disposed of in a different way, under your own steam. Or rather, gasoline. And that takes cash that people just don’t have, or want, to spend.
There’s an old phrase that says if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Well in this case, if you’re convinced that someone else will have a use for something, even if it’s just garbage, then maybe posting it on CL will attract a willing person to come and haul it away.
I’ll still be checking the ‘list’ for useful free stuff, but to be honest it’s been many months since I’ve seen anything remotely cool. I know I can already here some people saying "well what do you expect, it's free!" But you know what else is free? My old toenail clippings, that empty carton of orange juice and that old notebook I used with most of the pages ripped out. The question is not one of free, but of usefulness. Maybe I'm mistaken, and there is a huge demand for wrecked sofas and broken console TVs. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? If there isn't, maybe people should stop posting their old junk as a freebie. Just a thought.
And as an aside, if anyone finds something genuinely fantastic in the free section, let us all know. I’d love to see what people are giving away around the country.