Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sign o' the times?

Not too long ago, if we ever wanted to give something away but didn't have the energy or room in the car to take it to Goodwill, all we had to do was take it to the curb and it would be gone within hours. There was no need for Craigslist--this was as good as guaranteed. One side of our neighborhood is along a busy street with lots of big apartment buildings with a large immigrant population, and our guess is that there were always folks who didn't have a lot of money and were happy to get a piece of furniture. (Although our next-door neighbors also claimed items on several occasions.)

So when Gretchen cleaned out our basement in anticipation of the mold abatement guys (I don't want to talk about it), she found a couple of old things from Ikea that we'd had forever but clearly weren't going to use again. So we figured we'd just take it to the curb (one more reason for the neighbors to be happy!), label it "free," and be happy that it found a new home, especially with the bad economy.

Much to our surprise, a couple of days went by and nothing was taken until today, when someone finally took a bookcase and some old posters. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if the economy is actually the reason things weren't being taken. When we moved back from Basel, we heard that the cost of housing had priced a lot of the immigrant population out of the area, which was reflected in a big drop in enrollment at our neighborhood elementary school. Now, one of the sectors of the economy that is being hardest-hit is construction, and I'm guessing that a large percentage of the folks living nearby work in construction and may have had to relocate to find work. So a lot of the people who a couple of years ago might have lived nearby and driven around looking for bargains may no longer be here. I could be wrong, of course, but that's my theory for now.