Freecycle: Why is it so hard to give something away?


Feb 8, 2006
Chicago, IL
OK, so I have an old set of encyclopedias.... c1978.... Very nice condition, barely used from when I was a kid....

I put them up on Freecycle, locally. I received an email -on Saturday - from a woman who wanted them for her three sons. Very nice. I wrote her back Sunday morning, letting her know I would be home after 6pm, that she could pick up then or on Monday. Sunday night goes by. Monday goes by. By then, I have another email from another woman, who wants them.

I email the first woman that since since she has not responded I will give them to the second woman, who will pick them up at Noon on Tuesday. The first woman finally writes back, that she is disappointed but understands.

Noon on Tuesday comes, and then goes, nobody comes. I email the second woman, who says she was unable to come at Noon, but that she would come by at 5:30pm. I write her back that that is fine, but to email me back if she can't make it. This - apparently - bothers her, she emails back to say to give them to somebody else.

I email back to the FIRST woman, who says she will come after 6pm. It is now 9:15pm, I think it's safe to assume she is not coming. :shrugs:

I really want to give them away, not throw them away. I've now emailed another guy, who hopefully will call tomorrow..... The whole thing makes me sad. Why bother responding if you are not really interested?

This is NOT the first time this has happened to me, I tried to give away a nice desk last year, that several people expressed an interest in, but never came to pick up. I finally put it outside and the junker came and got it within an hour.


Jovi Junkie
Apr 20, 2007
Bon Jovi Blvd.
I've given a lot of items away on freecycle but it really can be a PITA as a lot of people do not follow though and instead of advising they are no nlonger interested, they just ignore your follow up emails.
Sep 13, 2007
The prairies of the Midwest
I've had the same problem when I offer stuff for free on Freecycle. People e-mail that they want it but then they never show up.

Our city has a local free-stuff web site and my experience with that couldn't be different. No matter what I offer, no matter how weird it is (giant mallets, ice-breaking equipment, broken lamps from the basement caked with mouse pee) I get at least a dozen responses within an hour and by the next day the useless and/or offensive item is gone.

On the other hand I have never been able to sell anything on these sites. No matter how cheaply priced it is. People just want the free stuff. Maybe they resell it. Who knows.


I’m just here for a good time.
Nov 12, 2006
I post odds and ends on freecycle as well, and have generally given up on 'holding' things for email responses. I just post that the first one to physically come claim it gets the item. When people email I say "you're the first/second/third person to respond", and give them my address. Usually it's gone the same day.


Jan 23, 2007
this is the first i've heard of freecycle....makes me want to google it. Most of the time when i have unwanted but usuable stuff, it goes to Salvation Army or Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Here we have a "Friends of the Library" bookstore that takes any books/magazines you want to leave & then resells them for 10 cents. Proceeds go to the local libraries. I've gotten a great starter library for my classroom there.


Oct 17, 2006
I hate my local freecycle group. It seems like such a great idea, but there are soooo many flakers I can't stand it. Also, every single item I've ever picked up ended up being complete trash. They say it's still usable/it still works, but all of the items didn't even turn on. I ended up just removing myself from the group.


Feb 8, 2006
Chicago, IL
I really doubt the library wants my old encyclopedias... I have given them pretty much all of my other books already.

Today's person called me at Noon. I had emailed him that I would be home after 5pm. I spoke to him, told him how I had been waiting for two people yesterday and he told me he is a Sunday school teacher and he wants them for the children and that he would not waste my time. He said he would come by after 6pm. It is now 7:30, I haven't heard from him yet.


This one was from Craiglist, I now have it posted on both.


May 22, 2006
I once listed a free futon and someone actually emailed me asking if I could deliver...for free...


Feb 14, 2007
New Orleans, LA
What a pain. I've given away stuff on freecycle before and didn't have a problem. Sometimes I'd leave it out on the porch though if it wasn't something too valuable that could be damaged being outside.