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Land of Freecycle, home of the bizarre

Weird and wonderful bargains are available to those adventurous enough to pick them up.

If the one-man’s-trash-is-another-man’s-treasure cliché is true,

then I have found a gold mine. Of entertainment.

It’s called Freecycle, an unintentionally hilarious online network that

helps keep yard-sale leftovers out of the dump. And while most of the freebies

posted are typical—kids toys and used furniture—there is a smaller

segment of the gross, bizarre, depressing and downright naughty.

Here are some recent “highlights” from the Fredericksburg-area group:

THE GROSS

There’s little reason to go to the grocery store if you use Freecycle; you just have to be adventurous and treat expiration dates as suggestions. A Freecycler known as “soldbymskerns” posted some 2-liter Cokes that were “opened and partially used.”

I guess what the soda lacks in carbonation it will make up for with backwash.

On a health kick? A “christienail” offered some vanilla-flavored organic soy milk that’s been “opened, a little bit used.”

No worries, though: “It has been opened a few days, so should be good for another 7 or so.”

What goes great with sour soy milk? Two-year-old Lucky Charms, of course. In March, “Weaveme2003” posted a box of the magically delicious marshmallows. The good news: It was unopened. The bad news? The expiration date was Sept. 26, 2011.

After such reckless dining, a visit to the “office” might be necessary. You’re in luck, because “soko_gnez” offered an “elongated ivory/beige toilet seat” with this description: “Used. All intact. She just decided she wanted it changed. Still plenty of life and enjoyment in it.”

I’m not sure who “she” is, but I’m glad she’s sparing the seat from the dump—or subjecting it to many more, depending on how you look at it.

Now that you have a new lid, get a new can—of spray. “Donna” posted a bottle of CarraScent Rain Fresh Scented Odor Eliminator. She writes: “This has a light floral scent, but I am allergic to perfume and ordered the wrong stuff to take care of my dog’s . . . gastrointestinal distress.”

This Freecycler has my eternal respect for the ellipsis to create a dramatic pause before her euphemism for dog farts. Stay classy, Fredericksburg.

THE NAUGHTY

Now that your kitchen is stocked and your bathroom has a new throne, it’s time to redecorate. Enter “Patti,” who offered a “Large Unframed Poster Flamingo Boogie—Nudity.”

I doubt the actual image can live up to the description: “It’s called ‘Flamingo Boogie’ and has (2) cartoon Mingos on either side of a pretty cartoon bare-breasted native gal. They are all dancing and look like they’re having a great time.”

Mingo à trois, anyone?

With topless natives on the wall, Freecycle can help you find some literature to match the mood and help you relax. In April, “lzbth” posted the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy. Two months later, she reposted them and wrote: “I offered these once and had over 40 responses. No one ever showed up; I will report you this time so please do not email if you do not intend on picking them up.”

I heard those books had something to do with punishment, so maybe this is a wise marketing technique.

THE DEPRESSING

Sometimes, the true state of the human condition peeks through in a Freecycle post. Poor “drakear99” literally can’t give away a piano. He laments, “Who would have thought giving away a piano is so hard?”

Then, his frustration gives way to anger: “I do not need advice on how to properly donate a piano to a worthy organization. I need someone to come get it.” I can hear poorly tuned keys tinkling in the background as he types.

I think “cottagegal14735” should snap up that piano and invite some buddies over for a sing-along. She wanted to give away a toaster oven and the board game Say Anything. In the saddest short story ever written, she writes: “We also received [the game] for Christmas and used it once. We have no one to play it with.”

THE BIZARRE

Freecycler “yanina_angelini” also probably has a tough time getting a crowd together for game night. This summer, she posted a listing seeking “dead cicadas for a large art piece.”

I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like—and I like insect exoskeleton.

If Freecycle picked an MVF (Most Valuable Freecycler), it would have to be the aforementioned “patti,” who also offered a “Pink Fluffy Cat Crinkle Sack.” She advises this sack—whatever it may be—“SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR KITTENS as they can get caught and suffocate.”

“Patti” seems to have a thing for fluffy, because she also tried to give away an “Easter Egg Boa”: “Those of you who have been to my house know I LOVE a fluffy boa . . . It’s got a bunch of 1-inch and 2-inch eggs strung together with some pastel beads and a bunch of feathers.”

I’ll leave the last word to “Patti”—she of the flamingo posters, fluffy cat sacks and feathery boas. At the end of every post, “Patti” signs off with: “As my Sainted Mother used to say, ‘Manners Never Take A Holiday.’”

It might not be Cronkite’s “And that’s the way it is,” but it’s a perfect summary of Freecycle’s ethos: We’re here, it’s free, come get it.

ON THE NET: freecycle.org

Jim Davis is a Stafford County teacher and former journalist.

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