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Old 13.11.2011, 13:17
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Offering things for free - etiquette

I have benefited from "For Free" stuff section here on many occasions, both in being able to recycle unwanted things by giving them away and also by getting things that others no longer want.

When collecting things for free, I always try to give a little gift by way of a thank you. And I mean little (otherwise it would defeat the object of getting something for free). It is just to thank the person for taking the time to make the item available (even if you go to their house, it usually involves the person in some extra effort). Usually I take along a little packet of homemade biscuits or a bottle of fresh pressed apple juice from the local farm or occasionally I have taken a bottle of wine. In monetary terms, the value is very small (a few francs). But then I have only obtained goods that would otherwise involve me in a relatively large expense if I were to purchase it (looking at second hand here ..) eg. microwave, wardrobe.

I've only once received something when giving an item for free.

What is usual for you?
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Old 13.11.2011, 13:20
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

I have given away things for free ( eg dropped off a mobile phone charger in Lausanne Gare ), not expecting anything ( apart from the verbal thanks - good enough for me ). Some have thanked me on the forum.

When receiving, I do likewise, at the very least a thanks, often on their posts ( twice or thrice have donated to their kid´s kitty ).

I enjoy meeting up in person and discovering more of each other.
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Old 13.11.2011, 13:25
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

It's not so much about what I receive when giving for free (I am glad to give something to someone who will use it and glad to be able to clear out my cupboards etc) but if I am going to too much bother when receiving?


It feels strange to pitch up and take an item without giving a little acknowledgment of thanks; is that just me and some weird guilt complex I have?
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Old 13.11.2011, 13:43
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

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It's not so much about what I receive when giving for free (I am glad to give something to someone who will use it and glad to be able to clear out my cupboards etc) but if I am going to too much bother when receiving?


It feels strange to pitch up and take an item without giving a little acknowledgment of thanks; is that just me and some weird guilt complex I have?
No, it's not just you. I'm a 'giver' too! My husband thinks I'm nuts but it seems to be rubbing off onto him too
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Old 13.11.2011, 13:56
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

Usually, the reward is in the deed. Not too sure about expecting something back unless it is a smile and a thank you. I am sure the recipient is grateful, just not in the way you want them to be.
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Old 13.11.2011, 14:09
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

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Usually, the reward is in the deed. Not too sure about expecting something back unless it is a smile and a thank you. I am sure the recipient is grateful, just not in the way you want them to be.

To repeat, this is not about what I want to get back when I give things for free. This is about what I think I should give when on the receiving end.

I only brought what I get back when I give into it because it is illustrative as to what other people do in similar circumstances - when I give, I am pleased to do so because I hate waste (I work for an environmental consultancy .. they are big on reuse being the best form of recycling) and am glad someone is happy to get something for nothing.
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Old 13.11.2011, 14:29
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

Personally I don't expect anything when giving stuff for free, just that the recipient does the same for someone else when s/he has something no longer wanted/needed.

I think your approach is lovely. The giver-of-free-stuff is not expecting anything, and a small (few francs) thank-you gift is a pleasant surprise, without creating any awkwardness on either side.

So far, I've not been on the receiving end of free-stuff, but I'll be adopting your approach when I am
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Old 13.11.2011, 14:39
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

There seems to be an awful lot of fuss to have to make a thank you gift just because you got something for free. And it seems even more pompous to expect a gift for giving something away.

If I was giving away something for free, the only gift I would want is you taking it away and not asking me to help you load it into your car. And if I was getting something for free, the only thing I would give in return is a sincere "Thank you."
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Old 13.11.2011, 15:13
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

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There seems to be an awful lot of fuss to have to make a thank you gift just because you got something for free.
Thanks. Particularly when I bake something, it is a lot of bother, so I won't feel bad if I don't have time to do something like this another time.
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And it seems even more pompous to expect a gift for giving something away.
I don't expect anything when I give stuff away for free. Sigh. Which makes it weird that I feel I ought to give something when I receive.

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If I was giving away something for free, the only gift I would want is you taking it away and not asking me to help you load it into your car. And if I was getting something for free, the only thing I would give in return is a sincere "Thank you."
OK. Personally I would just think it considerate to help someone load something into a car. But that's me.
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Old 13.11.2011, 15:39
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

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If I was giving away something for free, the only gift I would want is you taking it away and not asking me to help you load it into your car. And if I was getting something for free, the only thing I would give in return is a sincere "Thank you."
I sure won't be coming by your place to help you out. I have picked up a lot of items from people leaving and everyone has offered to help me carry things to the van. I think that is just polite. Some people live in apartments on the third floor with no lift! Sometimes I have brought someone with me to help, but that is not always an option. Many things the seller was trying to sell, but didn't, and at the 11th hour I helped them out. I offered to pay but most refused. If I hadn't picked up the items the owner would have had to pay someone to take them away, assuming they could find someone, buy diposal stickers, take it to the dump themselves, which is difficult with no car, or risk the landlord charging them the disposal for items left behind.

Often I am able to rehome these items at clients' homes but right now I am still stuck with items that I picked up to help someone else out. I even offer delivery if someone lives near me (Baden area). Maybe I am just a nice person.
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Old 13.11.2011, 21:26
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

I have recently given some stuff away for free.
Firstly I was surprised how quickly it all went and secondly I was really happy that everyone who wanted something (5 different people) all picked it up from my house at time convenient to me. They all turned up on the day and time arranged and they all gave me a genuine "Thank you" - This was all enough for me.
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Old 14.11.2011, 12:38
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

I recently gave something away for free and was pleasantly surprised to find that the recipient left me a chocolate bar when they picked the item up. I didn't expect anything in return, but appreciated the gesture nonetheless. I haven't received any free goodies yet but if I did, I would most definitely leave a little token of my appreciation (even if it's just a nice thank you note, if it's not seasonally appropriate to leave edibles), and I would send a PM afterwards to thank the person again. It never hurts to be polite!
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Old 14.11.2011, 12:58
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

I've been giving stuff away/selling stuff due to an immanent move, and it's gone well.
A short conversation and a genuine thank you and a shake of hands are more than enough for me.
I tried to give some stools to one guy, and he insisted on paying something, (thanks!) and last night I delivered a couple of wardrobes to the other side of town as a give away, (I did want a collection, but needs must and he didn't have a car/new in CH) and the guy very nicely gave me a bottle of decent plonk, which was a much appreciated surprise.
Just helping someone out keeps me happy, and as others have said, meeting new people, if only fleetingly.
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Old 14.11.2011, 13:24
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

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Thanks. Particularly when I bake something, it is a lot of bother, so I won't feel bad if I don't have time to do something like this another time.

I don't expect anything when I give stuff away for free. Sigh. Which makes it weird that I feel I ought to give something when I receive.



OK. Personally I would just think it considerate to help someone load something into a car. But that's me.

Dear ECB,

You are so right and you are definitely nice and good person!
All the best to you!
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Old 18.11.2011, 12:19
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Re: Offering things for free - etiquette

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Thanks. Particularly when I bake something, it is a lot of bother, so I won't feel bad if I don't have time to do something like this another time.

I don't expect anything when I give stuff away for free. Sigh. Which makes it weird that I feel I ought to give something when I receive.

OK. Personally I would just think it considerate to help someone load something into a car. But that's me.
When did giving away furniture turn into baked goods?
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