We recently made a move from US to India. As most moves go - there is a lot of packing, shipping or giving away involved.
I observed a curious behavior when it came to taking things. Obviously, you would want to sell things like - car, furniture, etc where possible. We were lucky selling off the cars and some furniture.
Most others - my wife and I decided to give away. Obviously, you would want to give things away to people who may need it. Like the student who reached out and wanted the golf set, neighborhood children who wanted the cycles, etc. Those are the perfect match.
For most others - you just post pictures / items on Craigslist for people to come pick what they like and leave. My wife had atleast dozen pictures of items to be given away on Criagslist - mattresses, household items, kitchen items, electronics, furniture, etc. It took a couple of weekends to clear away.
Few things which I observed:
- Most people wanted to load up on things just because it came free! A few who came by took everything which was kept to be given away.
- In the purest form, there are very few people who would say - let me just pick the crockery set and leave the carpet for someone else.
- We had Asians, Indians, Whites and Blacks come by.
- I did not see a difference in any one set of people when it came to aspect of taking things for free.
- There were cases where I asked if they would like to pay and buy something which was not put in the give-away list (like the sofa for example). After the first two times, I stopped asking.
- There are a some who are very warm and enquire why you are giving away! They stop by and wish you the very best.
- I was surprised to see our kids give away their toys when we told them we did not have space to carry everything back.
- Don't expect a thank you from people all the time. Some want to just carry as much as possible which leaves them very little time for anything else.
- Then there are those who advise you not to move to a 3rd world country from a 1st world country. I had the guy who was picking up our mattress (for free) tell me why I am better off in the Bay Area all the while when helping him load the stuff.
The process helped me learn a lot about human behavior. Altruism is something which gives you a good feeling about yourself. If only that can be made more targeted, that will be awesome! Read more about my experience being a recipient of someone else's goodness - Altruism: Helping others with no expectation in return.
There is a good book on givers vs. takers which talks about this topic in terms of professional success. I couldn't summarize this better than here - To Give or Take? The Surprising Science Behind Success.
Ciao till next time...Harsha