By Laura James
I grew up part of my youth in E. Washington and am very familiar with the Barter Faire, where you trade items that you made or have, for other items that someone else made or has. This is different.
It is not about ‘getting things for free’, its about redistribution of stuff that is not in use at one persons home, just sitting there taking up space, that could be well utilized in another home. Or a service such as a cooking class or portrait photo shoot that you can readily to give away.
Today I was gifted an adorable little Japanese teapot from a Buy Nothing West Seattle member. I wanted a teapot as I’ve made the switch from coffee to green tea and was making tea in a moderately sized stainless steel milk frothing pitcher. The important thing here is that it isn’t about the $$, I’d already planned to head down to the international district some afternoon and pick out a pretty one, but just in case, posted an “ISO teapot” with, of course, a few more words because The Buy Nothing Project is all about storytelling.
The feeling of ‘asking’ for something for free, when I absolutely have the money to buy it, and that is not a true need is odd.
The feeling as a recipient of a ‘gifting’ economy is also rather foreign. I wanted to give her something back, and felt guilty that i hadn’t stopped and gotten her a thank you card or something.
We all have things in our home that we hold on to for sometimes no other reason than we simply don’t know what to do with them. Often we have some vague attachment, and would prefer that the item goes to someone that really wants it and hopefully use it as opposed to just go sit on a shelf at Goodwill. That is where the Buy Nothing Project comes in. It plugs you in to a network where you can feel ‘good’ about giving the items to their next home. Although I know logically consumerism is what helps keep our local businesses in business, and that the products are likely already made and will be consumed by someone else anyway, somehow it feels very ‘right’ to give a little teapot a home.
It’s a bit like going to the gym more regularly… As this teapot’s second home, we’ve now halved its ‘carbon impact’ in a round about way. Instead of each of us having a teapot that travelled a long way to get here, we are sharing its trip.
Okay, so maybe i’m being true to my nature and over analyzing, and it is just a teapot, but it feels like something more.
Thank you Rachel from Buy Nothing West Seattle.