Recyclers, be warned: if you join Chicago Free Cycle in order to dispose of your unwanted items in an environmentally friendly fashion, you will be opting in to more spam than you ever thought got sent out in all of cyberspace.
I was recently casting about for ways to find good homes for perfectly good items I want rid of, when I read about a Yahoo group called Chicago Free Cycle, where you can offer items you want to dispose of and look for items you want from things offered by other people, the idea being to recycle usable items and keep them out of landfills. What's not good about such a group?
I quickly found out. I joined on line, got five pieces of mail describing group terms and etiquette, and within two hours, my e-mail box was swamped with offers of items, as well as messages that other items were taken, or spoken for.
By the following day, there were over 300 new messages from Free Cycle members in my mailbox, and I have spent every day since deleting hundreds of messages that clog my box every time I check it.
Tonight, after deleting about 250 more newly arrived messages, I unsubscribed, and wrote a letter of complaint to them.
There has to be a better way to arrange things than to spam members to death with hundreds of daily e-mail messages, one for every item offered or taken on the exchange. Why not let members post them on a list on the Free Cycle site, like Craigslist?
If you know of any other organizations who offer this type of exchange, either online or by means of a local exchange flea market, please write.