Why is it so hard to give something away?

Twice I’ve tried to give something away on Craigslist. Twice I’ve failed. It’s not for lack of interested parties–it’s for lack of follow-through.

I don’t think I’m going to try again.My most recent effort was an attempt to give away a console TV. It’s old but works fine. For five years it was used only to watch the World Series, and for another couple of years it was used less than that.

I got a flood of requests right away, so I took down the ad quickly. With seven responses in 30 minutes, I didn’t want to have to end up telling 100 people no the next morning. So I started making calls.

The first was two brothers who wanted it for their mother. They said they’d be right over. And they were. The problem was neither of them had ever seen a console TV before. They thought a 26-inch TV would fit great on a table. Not this one. At least they were nice about it.

OK, so I thought I’d contact the next person in line. No response.

Number three? He also wanted it for his mother. But when he called to tell her, she’d already sent her other son to go buy a new TV. So much for that.

After another no-response, I spoke with someone with a heavy accent who wanted it. He asked if it would fit in a Honda Civic. I tried not to laugh. I said no. He said he had a friend with a bigger car. I said he really needed a truck or a van. He insisted it would fit in a car. I had the TV sitting right in front of me, I’ve moved it five different times and it won’t fit in any car I’ve ever owned, but what do I know, right? I e-mailed him dimensions (both in English and Metric) and asked him to verify the TV would fit in the car. I never heard from him again.

I guess that’s just as well. The TV feels like it weighs 100 pounds. I’ve moved it five different times, and each time the guy helping me moved it has said he’ll never move that thing again. So I wasn’t about to try to wrestle it into whatever this "bigger car" was. With my luck it would have been a Toyota Camry.

My wife talked to one of the people. As soon as she explained what a "console TV" is, the interest evaporated.

Someone else was interested and said he’d pick it up right away. I said great. He said to call him, and of course the number was long-distance. I called. The phone rang about 12 times before I got an answering machine. I left a message. And you’re right, he never called back.

I guess people see "FREE" in an ad and go nuts, but then when it comes time to actually come get it and they have to do a little work, they don’t want to do it. It’s disappointing. All I wanted was to give the TV to someone who needed it more than me. It still works and I hate to see it taking up space in a landfill just because it’s out of style (and was out of style the year it was made, but that’s another issue).

Well, that’s five hours of my life that I’ll never get back.

The TV’s sitting in the corner of the living room now. It looks good there. We have another TV in the family room (that’s why we were trying to get rid of this one), but since it was getting to be too much of a chore to get rid of it, we’ll just keep it there for a while. Besides, it picks up channel 30 (the local ABC affiliate) a lot better than the other TV does.

Maybe I’ll hook an Atari 2600 up to it and pretend it’s 1982 again.

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3 thoughts on “Why is it so hard to give something away?

  • January 8, 2007 at 9:39 am

    Once again, we see that philanthropy is best handled by the aristocracy, who never need pule about these issues. It speaks volumes when even the rabble will not take one’s used possessions. Perhaps, David, you should try gifting this to your brother. If you’ve seen R. Collins’ "tractor" or his other olla podrida of bricolage, you know he’ll take just about anything.

    Unfortunately, I fear you’d have the same luck donating anything from your (minor) cache of computers. Who would take a single-core machine from before 2006?

    • January 8, 2007 at 8:20 pm

      I see that Raunche found his pretentious word of the day calendar.

      While my esteemed aristocrat is correct that philanthropy is best handled by the aristocracy, he is mistaken about me, as usual. One way to accumulate wealth is to accept it when offered to you. Of course, the French are more adept at giving things away, particularly when it comes to giving land to Germany.

      I was having difficulty loading David’s site, until I realized I only had 2 gigs of RAM in the PC I was using. At first I thought David had pinched some, but then I remembered that most of his machines use DIPs and other forms of antiquated memory. It must have been one of my manservants. Or possibly Raunche.

      But as far as gifting vintage electronics to me, I do have a fondness for antique radios, but other than that, I am not interested. I have phased out everything with a CRT at my estates. When I want something gone, I just tell my manservants to get rid of it.

      • January 9, 2007 at 1:57 pm

        R. Collins, your ignorance is exceeded only by your flatulence.

        I must remind you that the capital of the indomitable French lands is Paris. The capital of Scottish lands is London. France has regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne that produce exquisite foodstuffs sharing these names. In the UK, there is a region called Scotland that produces boiled offal (haggis) and manskirts. It is no coincidence which the Germans coveted, their love of Lederhosen withstanding.

        I am alarmed that you must function on only 2 GB of memory, but have limited capital. Your single-clocked SDRAM would be of no use in my current array of machinery, by the way. Next you’ll accuse me of stealing your old 802.11g wireless equipment.

        We do share a common taste for vintage radios. However, differences still remain in our definitions of "manservant". Particularly, my manservants do not ride on the back of a large truck full of refuse that stops by my house on a weekly basis.

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