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 Post subject: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:35 pm 
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Hey

I cleand up the upstairs storage room some today and threw away many big boxes full of useless crap. The Free Shop should have more organising around it, so that people don't get frustrated when everythings a mess and no one else wants to deal with it, and so that the Free Shop may live for another 1000 years. Free Shoppers of the World Unite!

I'm not sure if everyone understands the point of having a Free Shop and to me seems like either people think it's great or that its a dirty waste of time, space and effort. The former think every piece of rag and every mcdonalds toy found from a skip is worth keeping, whereas the latter often fail to show respect to the people who are giving their time to Volunteer for the Forest in the form of running the Free Shop.

I guess the Forest is first and foremost an arts hub, and it is reasonable to ask where does the Free Shop fit in. In my view the Forest Cafe Free Shop idea is and has been threefold:

1) Promote re-use and re-cycling
2) Distribute material belongings to people who cannot or do not want to afford them in a world of post-scarcity
3) Collectivise materials for art projects

As a bonus, doing the Free Shop, organised consistently - say, once a week, brings publicity and customers to the Cafe.



I also think that the needs and opinions of the people running the Free Shop should come first in determining the amount and quality of the Free Shop offerings. The situation now is, that there is too much stuff. This is partly because non-organisers bring too much bad quality stuff and partly because organisers don't want/cannot be bothered to throw bad, broken, nasty and dirty shit away without remorse. Sure, running the Free Shop is a great hobby for OCD cases and hoarders, but in order to run a functional Free Shop, there needs to be some guidelines. Good, useful, valuable things never cause a problem because they move fast out of the Shop.

I propose the following things for starters:

-Broken clothes: Bin it
-Ugly clothes: Bin it
-Promotional t-shirts: Bin it
-Broken shoes and shoes without a pair: Bin it
-CDs, DVDs, c-cassettes that someone got from a magazine, are about self-help or religious enlightening: Bin it
-Most toys, unless its really cool: Bin it
-Most childrens clothes: bin it (I'm sorry but I don't think these move)
-No VHS cassettes, CRT tvs (the bulky, old, non-flat tvs), inkjet printers, VHS players. If someone tries to bring one in, politely tell them to put it on up on Gumtree or the bin. The batteries from the remote control are good tho!
-No bad books: this may include but is not restricted to religious books, self-help books, outdated school books and other non-fiction, bad and cheap fiction, most childrens books (especially books promoting militarism and gender roles)
-No cardboard boxes for storage: they break down so easy and just cause more trouble. Plus, there are a million good, solid plastic boxes in the world without a use.
-Store different types of item in different boxes: clothes in one, books in another, cables in a third etc.

And so on, and so on... (a Zizek quote!)

Today I threw away a VHS player, a broken plastic microwave kettle, a mug with a used, wet teabag still in there, a toy badminton racket, loads of ugly, worn-out jeans, a couple of dusters, a few handbags, a bunch of toys and g*d knows what I don't want to remember its too painful to remember.

There probably isn't even enough room in the Forest Cafe bin and some of the junk has to stay in an be in the way of people, also causing a safety issue by blocking fire exits. But I hope everyone gets the point by now.


I can't personally promise, that I will be there on Sundays. And that's how it's been with the Free Shop; people turn up to run the Shop when they are not too hungover, can be bothered etc. And I don't think this is going to change. That's why its good to have guidelines that help you give your effort when you are ready to.

Thats my 2 cents.


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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:50 pm 
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awesome. I spent a couple of hours cleaning it up about a week ago, threw away lots of crap but siphoned off some stuff for forest merch. agree re. promotional tshirts & broken stuff, however whatever is not broken can be passed on to charity shops eg. shelter or salvos around on forest rd.
as for kids stuff: i took a bunch of it out for my baby propaganda campaign. but it shouldn't be binned, just re-directed.
batteries can be recycled at tescos, there's a metal collection bucket around the cafe counter. i occasionally take them to tescos (the big shops)
broken mobile phones or mobile batteries can also be recycled, there are some charities that fundraise that way so we should check that out.

an awesome freeshop manifesto, Pes.


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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:22 pm 
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I have to say I quite like the haphazard nature of the free shop, but keeping fire escapes clear is always a good thing, so loving your efforts to limit the clutter. However, I don't know that anyone can decide what is a bad book or an ugly piece of clothing. Would it be feasible instead to place a time limit on each item - if it got a label with the date the first time it goes out, then anything older than say, 2 months, 4 free shop outings, or whatever, gets chucked/recycled?

(By the way, if anyone finds any more mugs in the free shop, with tea bags or otherwise, please give to the kitchen unless they are a health hazard - we are pretty low).

Kx


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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:45 pm 
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I support the idea of recycling batteries, electronics etc. from the Free Shop, but in practice most people who already put 2-4 hours of their Sunday to run the Free Shop don't want to do the extra bit of work; especially when the Free Shop is a bit underappreciated as it is. Maybe there could be boxes for batteries, electronics and charity shop stuff that get emptied monthly or so by someone who HAS the motivation, but like I said before, it needs more humanpower.

I think anyone should be allowed to use their judgment to throw away things including books and clothes. The problem isn't that there isn't enough good stuff, its that there is too much bad stuff.

Good point on bringing the mugs to the cafe.


PS. I found today 2 golf clubs, 4 AAA batteries, a micro-SD card with an SD card adapter, a spaghetti bowl, honey for homebrewing and a leather bag that I'm gonna try to turn into a laptop bag.


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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:08 pm 
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pes wrote:
I think anyone should be allowed to use their judgment to throw away things including books and clothes.


Too right - sorry, didn't mean to imply otherwise, just that one person's ugly is different from another's, so it's tricky to make this a criterion. Like the boxes idea.


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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:39 pm 
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The free shop is obviously a great thing to have, for the last 9 years or so most of my wardrobe has come from there and i have used its facilities when doing a clean of clothe, which has ment sometimes clothes i got from the freeshop years earlier ended up back there, wow the cycle of tat.

Having tided it up a few times, when it was in the front room and when it was moved upstairs, i know how quickly stuff can accumulate. 10 of us or more spent one day sorting it out in the hall and we ended up sending a van load to shelter and filled the forest council bin with broken parts of plastic and what not.

on this point shelter will pick up tuesdays if there is enough stuff to fit in a van and you call them on monday.

I remember this being one of the ideas behind having it on sundays as whoever did it was responsible for deciding what went out and what stayed and it was to be their decision that week that they did the free shop.

The other idea was that people would also know that sunday was the day to bring stuff and only sunday, it is still annoying that people just go up there and dump stuff in the hall as we do get fire inspections and this is a problem.
Of course people are like i cant make sundays its not convenient for me but really its not convenient to have some one, who is willing to give up their free time, there to sort it out 24/7.

Maybe we need better consistency, ah consistency that old hobgoblin, in it happening and also maybe we need better advertising so people know sunday is the day and you can bring and take, no other times

Some times this is peoples dirty plates and half finished jars of food, not good, sometimes it is literally their dirty underwear, also not good.

This is my bone of contention with it as people think it is also a repository for their guilt which someone else will deal with, arrrrrgh,

yup someone's junk is another's treasure, but if we want an art store we can not, i think, feasibly do it in the space we have.
For this to be of use there would need to be a larger space than a cupboard and would need a decent amount of maintenance for it not to turn into a scrap pile.
I wonder what peoples main use of things aquired from the free shop is,
Personally i like the tapes and VHS, i have a few good ones and sometimes on a suday would show an old video in the cafe we found in the free shop, wagners ring cycle was a rare find.

also we used to have fun doing free shop dj, that was fun where we would play some terrable records and you could ask to here one from the pile,

I think this is important for people doing the free shop, it should be fun, make a day of it not just bring it down take it back up type thing, we should book this in the diary as a regular sunday event and have a small fat team offshoot to organise it, fun fun fun

see you later


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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:03 am 
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What are ugly clothes? I fear that would describe most of my wardrobe accoring to some folk.

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Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes. (Oscar Wilde)

Cut the crap & make it happen.


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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:50 pm 
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In my opininion the ability to bring things anytime is a must, as it makes sooo much more convenient for anyone to bring things, thus increasing the flux of good and bad stuff. I didn't know that its not ok to drop things by the window (next to the storage room) because there can be fire safety inspections. Now there is a note saying "do not leave things here" or something, but nothing about the reason as to why thats not allowed. I think this kind of nanny attitude is counterproductive and undemocratic. How about using the big metal drawer opposite to the storage room as kind of a Free Shop drop-box? Now there are some art materials in the drawer that seem abandoned/forgotten. Or maybe a big box or another drawer on top of the existing one?

I guess it should also be articulated more clearly that taking excess Free Shop stuff to a charity shop is a good thing because then this stuff won't end taking valuable space in the council bin.

How do we communicate good Free Shop practice to users and vollies?


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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:10 pm 
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like I said, there is a metal bucket at the cafe counter for batteries.


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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:12 pm 
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Personally i still feel that making an event condensed to a sunday afternoon is a good idea but if people want it to be a drop of for stuff all the time then i guess thats fine, but i don't think this will help with keeping the stairs clean. Posters may help with this but KM's certainly don't have time to sort out people brining stuff whenever.


nor i do think this will help with making it into more of an event type thing that could be well advertised on the website etc,
Maybe there is another way, maybe we need a working group for this.

If this was a working group that organised itself then maybe there could be more consistency, as long as we have set down where things can not be left as the fire dep have come before and said oh we will be back and if the fire escapes aren't clear then we will close you down until they are, I am sorry but this is not very convenient for people working or the forest.

I guess we have to strike a balance here,

I personally would like to see the free shop being more of an event with possible bi monthly larger free markets (kind of like that name), like hanaha did, which went down really well,

Sorry if this seems undemocratic but i am just expressing an opinion of what i liked and disliked about the free shop which seems to differ from others.

On the metal boxes upstairs as i remember it Will set this up to be a store of craft things people could use after the crafty room went, maybe it does not get used much any more and maybe it could be a store for people when they bring stuff.

Maybe this does need a working group so people don't feel like they are just sorting it out on their own and then there is confusion sometimes when people come in to do the free shop and ask if they can do it and then someone else comes in and asks, then it feels weird sometimes like the other person is annoyed as i also said yes to the other person as really there should be no need to ask people should just do it, but it would be good if all the people into doing it could talk to each other about it and think of ways to do it and at least have some fun,

remember kids ethics don't have to be a drag

well i think i've probably said enough,


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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:55 pm 
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good post pes!
I don't mind doing a poster telling the people what the free shop is and what it Isn't. It is too bad that people do seem to see it as a place where they any crap they like. And yes I think there was an initial thought to have regular free markets, it's just a matter of having someone to organize them.
Will and I did fill the 2 file cabinets with the stuff partly from the old crafty room but also all the things that Will gathered for his One mans Junk workshop, the stuff might need a bit or sorting out but there should be some pretty decent art supplies there.

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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:15 pm 
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i think generally peoples common sense when sorting stuff out works and we all keep different things too which is good as we all have different tastes. i don't like the idea of having a list of yes and no, eg i take kids clothes for friends and i have seen many others take them too etc.
i agree with the idea that whoever puts the stuff out on a sunday also has a wee sort too, if this is done each week then it should be fine. there is always too much to bring down so some left to sort out. i always find sorting it out as you put it on the stage a good way of getting rid of the shit.
happy freeshopping

and don't forget the seed swap free shop on the 27th too!!

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I saw two shooting stars last night, i wished on them, but they were only satellites.
is it wrong to wish on space hardware?
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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:59 am 
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I think that the unpopularity of the free shop might be because of the very little advertising and that to people, the job of organising stuff and regular clearings seem like such a pain and really, a boring thing if done alone. More 'commitment' from folks?
yesterday there was just a handful of free shop treasures and no adverts about it happening on the day, i barely noticed there was anything on the stage. how can people who come to the café for the first time know that the stuff is for anyone to have while the only crowd loitering around the space is either regular customers or forest working brigade?
Really, why bin kids stuff? Recently i found 'naughty kitten' and 'little bunny's bedtime' which came out as the best bed-readings ever. Anything will go. Just give it a bit of time maybe? and well, how can you decide what's ugly? unless it looks beyond repair, i think it's fine to leave it.
The annoying thing with free shop I found today is that when you enter, you can't manoeuvre because the junk's blocking the floor. But then, there's so much space on the shelves. it's just matter of being commited enough to finish up with putting the shit up the shelves. Although it's much better, yearrrr, some stuff's been organised, it still needs more time. I'll be there tomorrow and try to help it look a tiny bit more tolerable but i'm not promising coconuts.
Maybe there could be several people 'responsible' and checking the stairs from time to time and then communicating somewhere(?) that some stuff's been brought, needs sorting out, throwing out etc. Just making it more significant and interesting. So far, the only person I know who's doing the shop is you Pes and a girl whose name i forgot(forgive my rudeness). communication is kinda weak. Sparing just a few minutes during the week wouldn't hurt much, but at least there'd be a clear agenda for the future work. more organisation and team work could be fun and lovely.
i think limiting the days for people to supply the shop with new things wouldn't work.
could definitely help if Cornelia's fabulous posters would enliven the walls around the building!
it's extremely boring just take the junk to the stage and leave it, it looks like a graveyard. i agree, why not play the cheesy cds/dvds while the shop's on? Forest's sundays look a bit dead. they are really quiet and most people are recovering from friday/saturday's events so maybe doing it on different days would work as well to promote the shop, but perhaps that'd be inconvenient for the team and there might be another bash going on.
steve's idea about the free shop team is great, i likes it!!
also, i don't mind getting on the 'team' since i use the shop a lot but i thought there were enough people to run it :O
about your guidelines, according to them, we'd have to throw most of the stuff. Clothes can be repaired, remade so i don't see a point in throwing them out. let's just throw the extremes. anyway, there isn't THAT much so that we have to be so uptight with what we accept or bin.
viva the free shop!


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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:55 am 
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the reason that there was no sign on sunday was because i couldn;t find it. maybe we need a new one? there is also no way i can carry everything down or back up from the cupboard so when i put it out i only put what i feel i can carry, and if people want more out then they are free to go up and bring more down and stay and help put away.
i think the reason that the cupboard has things on the floor is that it is hard to throw away things when they seem in good nick, so i just tidily put them in boxes. i did throw out two black bags last week though.
the free shop is always an issue and rotas don't seem to be the way forward. i suggest that if people have a spare hour or two then they just spend it doing some tidying and sorting.
the main problem for me is the stuff left outside the door which is a fire safety issue, but without an alarm going off i think it is hard to stop!

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I saw two shooting stars last night, i wished on them, but they were only satellites.
is it wrong to wish on space hardware?
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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:22 pm 
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Pes you could always ask someone to help you. even a customer! sometimes they get excited about having first pick.

my question: there's a lot of stuff at my house due to go to the freeshop soon, is this a bad time to be bringing it? is there too much stuff?

s


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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:06 pm 
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the cupboard is quite full but i'm sure with creative storage it would be fine.
maybe we are due a free shop extravagana in the hall?

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I saw two shooting stars last night, i wished on them, but they were only satellites.
is it wrong to wish on space hardware?
(Billy Bragg)


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 Post subject: Re: A Free Shop Topic
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:29 am 
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if there aren't any objections, i'll take at least one bag of kids' books to a charity shop, maybe they'll use them..it's because there are 3 huge bags(if not more) and they take up a lot of space. Also, the walls of the room are literally crumbling and falling apart. I think anyone entering the room takes a risk. There are many cracks in the walls, it's really scary. And all the cement(is this what you call it?) is getting on the clothes and the rest.
Scoutt, if you could wait a bit until we donate some clothes to the charity shops and get rid of some electronics, that's be awesome. Otherwise, the quantity of rubbish will be massive!
I put a bin bag inside the shop with the clothes I think should be thrown away. Add anything you think is appropriate.


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