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在“什么都不买”的自由世界里拒绝“买买买”

Inside the World of Buy Nothing, Where Dryer Lint Is a Hot Commodity
在“什么都不买”的自由世界里拒绝“买买买”

David Stahl did not need leftover pickle juice because, really, no one needs someone else’s used brine. But a few months ago, he decided to ask for some just to see if it was possible, posting a request to an Upper West Side chapter of Buy Nothing, a hyperlocal Facebook group.

大卫·斯塔尔(David Stahl)不需要别人用剩下的泡菜汁,因为,说实话,谁会想要别人用过的盐水呢?但几个月前,他决定去问一问,看看有没有可能得到一些,于是便在Facebook的本地邻里群“什么都不买”(Buy Nothing)上西区分部发了帖子。

It turns out, people are willing to give away (and take) just about anything, if you ask. A week later, Mr. Stahl walked 10 blocks to a stranger’s apartment lobby and retrieved a one-gallon Mt. Olive jar of the pale green liquid.

事实证明,只要你愿意问,人们就愿意给你(和拿走)任何东西。一周后,斯塔尔步行10个街区来到一个陌生人的公寓大堂,拿走了一个装着淡绿色液体的一加仑Mt. Olive牌罐子。
 

“The doorman thought that I wanted the glass because it was such a large glass. I was like, ‘No, I just really like pickle juice,’” said Mr. Stahl, 30, a water resources engineer. He drank the brine with a friend, using it as a chaser for shots.

“门卫以为我之所以想要这个玻璃罐子,是它真的很大。我当时说,‘不,我只是很喜欢泡菜汁’,”30岁的水资源工程师斯塔尔说。他和一个朋友喝酒的时候把它给喝了,用来缓解烈酒。

Welcome to the wild world of Buy Nothing, a network of social media groups, mostly on Facebook, where people give and receive things, treating the stuff taking up space in their homes as gifts meant to be shared and treasured. Members are encouraged to offer their time and talents, too, and loan items that someone may need for just a few hours, like a car or a cake pan. Created in 2013 by two women in Bainbridge Island, Wash., it has grown to 6,700 independent Buy Nothing Facebook groups in 44 countries. The Buy Nothing Project recently developed an app that it will release more widely in a few weeks.

欢迎来到“什么都不买”的自由世界,这是一个主要在Facebook上的社交媒体群组网络,人们在上面给予和收受物品,占据家中空间的东西被视为可以分享和珍惜的礼物。这些群组也鼓励会员提供自己的时间和才能,以及借出可能只需要几个小时的物品,例如汽车或蛋糕盘。它由华盛顿州班布里奇岛的两名女性于2013年创建,现已发展到6700个独立的“什么都不买”Facebook群组,分布在44个国家。“什么都不买”项目最近开发了一个应用程序,几周后将在更广的范围内发布。

Giving away the stuff that you no longer want is nothing new. Charities like the Salvation Army and Goodwill rely on these kinds of donations. And social media has made it easier for people to find free stuff on sites like Craigslist or through groups like Trash Nothing. But Buy Nothing turns the act of decluttering into a way to meet and befriend your neighbors. Because each group is geographically limited, sometimes encompassing only a few city blocks, and members are allowed to join only a single group, an active group can become a tight-knit trading post where a decorative birthday banner could make the rounds, shared repeatedly for months until it mysteriously disappears, as happened in one Brooklyn group earlier this year.

把你已经不想要的东西送出去并不是什么新鲜事。救世军(Salvation Army)和善意企业(Goodwill)等慈善机构靠的就是这些捐赠。而且社交媒体让人们可以更轻松地在克雷格列表(Craigslist)等网站上或通过“什么都不扔”(Trash Nothing)等群找到免费的东西。但是,“什么都不买”将清理物品变成了结识邻居并成为朋友的一种方式。因为每个群受到地域的限制,有的只包含几个街区,而且成员只能加入一个群,一个活跃的群可以成为一个来往密切的交易站,一张装饰生日派对的横幅可以在那里转手好几轮,反复使用几个月,直到它神秘地消失,就像今年早些时候在布鲁克林的一个群组里发生的那样。

“We have plenty right here within each of our local communities to sustain us,” said Liesl B. Clark, one of the founders of the Buy Nothing Project. In the language of Buy Nothing, everything we possess has value, if you can find the person who needs it. “If we can reuse and refurbish and fix and repair and just keep recycling these items, nothing needs to be discarded,” Ms. Clark said.

“什么都不买”项目的创始人之一莉丝·B·克拉克(Liesl B. Clark)说:“在每个本地社区,我们都有足够的资源来维持我们的生活。”用“什么都不买”的话来说,我们拥有的一切都是有价值的,如果你能找到需要它的人。克拉克说:“如果我们可以重复使用、翻新和修理,不断回收这些物品,就不需要扔掉任何东西。”

Terms like “curb alert” or “first come first serve” are discouraged. You are not putting your stuff on the street hoping someone claims it before the trash truck comes. Instead, you are intentionally “gifting” your possessions. In this version of a gifting economy, where all items are of equal value, members are not allowed to trade or barter, as each object is seen as a gift independent of anything else. Such restrictions can prove frustrating for a member who may want to, say, trade goods for services.

不鼓励使用“不要了”或“先到先得”等用语。这不是让你把你的东西扔到街上,希望有人在垃圾车来之前拿走它。相反,你在特意“赠送”你拥有的物品。在这个版本的礼物经济中,所有物品都具有同等价值,会员不得交易或以物易物,因为每个物品都被视为礼物,与其他任何东西无关。这样的限制可能会让想以商品换服务的成员感到沮丧。

The giver is encouraged to let an offer “simmer” for a period of time, selecting a recipient for some reason other than being the fastest one to reply. Members who raise their hands ask to “be considered,” and may offer a compelling reason for wanting, say, a table lamp. Or maybe they’re asked to tell a joke, or pick a number, and a winner is chosen. If you’re the lucky recipient of said table lamp, you may feel inspired to write a “gratitude” post, sharing your joy and photographs of the lamp in its new home.

鼓励赠予者让信息“酝酿”一段时间,合理地选择一个接受者,而不是选择最快回复的人。想要接受的成员请求赠予者“考虑”,并且可能会提供一个令人信服的理由,比如,为什么想要一个台灯。或者他们可能会被要求讲一个笑话,或者选择一个数字,以此选出一个得主。如果你是那个台灯的幸运接收人,你可能会受到启发,写一篇“感恩”帖子,分享你的喜悦和新家中台灯的照片。

The result, say group members around the country, is a sense of community that is mostly fun, sometimes quirky, and occasionally irritating.

全国各地的小组成员说,这样做的结果是使人们感到自己身在社区,这种感觉大多时候是有趣的,有时候是古怪的,偶尔令人恼火。

Buy Nothing is “the only reason why I’m still on Facebook,” said Mr. Stahl, who has been a member since March. “There is no community meeting place anymore,” he added, except on Buy Nothing, where a member of his group recently offered a half-eaten birthday cake — a gift members were happy to take.

3月入群的成员斯塔尔说,“什么都不买”是“我上Facebook的唯一原因”。他还说,除了在“什么都不买”上,“现在都没有社区聚会场所了。”他的群成员最近提供了一个吃了一半的生日蛋糕——这是成员们很乐意接受的礼物。

And it’s not just partially eaten food that people want. Oh, no. The list goes on.

人们想要的不仅仅是吃了一半的食物。远远不止。

There is the standard fare: used furniture, clothing, baby items and household goods. But the surprising things are what keep it interesting. In one Los Angeles group, used makeup, including lip gloss, frequently makes the rounds. Income disparity comes into sharp focus, too. In Silicon Valley, one group member gave away a piece of artwork that had, apparently, been bought for $10,000, while in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, members share essential items like canned food, cheese, milk and medical supplies.

有常见的物品:旧家具、衣服、婴儿用品和家居用品。但让它变得有趣的原因是那些让人出乎意料的物品。在洛杉矶的一个群里,包括唇彩在内的用过的化妆品经常被转手好几次。收入差距也清晰地进入了视野。在硅谷,一位群成员赠送了一件看来是以一万美元购买的艺术品,而在费城日耳曼镇社区附近,成员们分享了罐头食品、奶酪、牛奶和医疗用品等必需品。

Life lived in a gifting economy requires a measure of patience, a virtue that can be hard to find if you want to clean out your closet quickly.

在礼物经济中生活,需要一定程度的耐心。如果只是想快速清理储物间,就很难静下心来。

“You have to let things simmer for a while. That can be a little annoying when you want something and you feel a little pressure that the group wants you to sit and wait,” said Janis Gross, 60, who teaches jewelry making and is a member of a Buy Nothing group covering Stuyvesant Town and Gramercy Park, in Manhattan.

“你必须让事情慢慢酝酿。在你想要某样东西时,这可能会有点烦人,而且当群里的人要你耐心等待的时候,会让你感到有点压力,”60岁的詹尼斯·格罗斯(Janis Gross)说。他教授首饰制作,他所在的“什么都不买”本地群覆盖曼哈顿史蒂文森镇和格拉梅西公园地区。

Let the item simmer, as the group requests, and then you eventually have to choose one recipient among many. But how do you decide which stranger is deserving of your old ice-cube trays?

按照群组的要求,让物品慢慢等待,然后你最终必须从众多接受人中选择一个。但是你如何决定哪个陌生人值得拥有你的旧冰格呢?

“It’s like getting picked for the basketball team — 10 people reply and how do you pick?” Ms. Gross said. “I don’t like the public nature of it. I don’t like having to say, ‘Sorry Mary, I’m going to give it to Fred.’”

“这就像打篮球时选人——10个人举手了,你怎么选?”格罗斯说。“我不喜欢它的公开性质。我不想被迫说,‘对不起,玛丽,我要把它给弗雷德。’”

Sometimes people don’t show up to claim their stuff, or make it difficult to arrange a time for a pickup. Private messages can get lost in Facebook Messenger, leading to confusion or disappointment. Some members seem to claim more stuff than others, simply because they spend more time on Facebook. When you know another member personally, which is likely when everyone lives in the neighborhood, you might offend a friend if you choose someone else to take your loot.

有时人们没有来领取他们的东西,或者很难安排领取时间。可能在Facebook Messenger里找不到消息了,从而导致搞错或失望。一些成员似乎比其他人要的更多,仅仅是因为他们在Facebook上花费的时间更多。当你私下认识另一位成员时——这很可能,因为大家都住在这一带——如果你选择把你的好东西给一个人,你可能会冒犯另一个朋友。

But for Ms. Clark, the public nature of the interactions is the point. The transparency allows members to keep one another in check. “Gifting communities are a window into human nature,” she said, adding: “We all have to get used to being uncomfortable in some situations.”

但对于克拉克来说,互动的公开性质正是重点。透明度允许成员相互监督。“礼物社区是了解人性的一扇窗户,”她还说:“我们都必须习惯在某些情况下感到不舒服。”

In a group that covers a large swath of Brooklyn, including Boerum Hill, Gowanus and Red Hook, a glass sex toy (unused, according to the giver) was a particularly popular item recently.

在一个涵盖了波伦山、格瓦努斯和红钩区的布鲁克林大区群里,一个玻璃情趣玩具(根据赠送者的说法,未使用)最近特别抢手。

“The other day, somebody posted dryer lint,” said Susan Lightman, a member of that group. Dryer lint, she soon learned, has many uses, including as hamster bedding. “It’s just the randomness of it that is amazing.”

“前几天,有人发帖提供烘干机里的废棉屑,”该群成员苏珊·莱特曼(Susan Lightman)说。她很快了解到,烘干机废棉屑有很多用途,包括给仓鼠做被褥。“它的随机性令人感到神奇。”

Ms. Lightman, who works in advertising, has given her fair share of random gifts, too, including a fish taco that she ordered but did not eat, and dirty water from her 30-gallon fish tank. Her husband doubted that anyone would want dirty fish water. But he was quickly proved wrong, as the nutrient-rich brew makes for excellent fertilizer.

从事广告工作的莱特曼也给出了相当多的随机礼物,包括她下单了但没有吃的鱼肉玉米饼,以及她30加仑鱼缸里的脏水。她的丈夫不太相信有人会想要脏的养鱼水。但他的想法很快被证明是错误的,因为这种有丰富养分的陈水是极好的肥料。

“A lot of people were like, ‘Totally, I’m interested,’” Ms. Lightman said.

“很多人都说,‘当然啊,我想要,’”莱特曼说。

She left a bucket outside her building, so members could come by and scoop it out. The dirty water was such a hit that she began offering it regularly, periodically announcing, “It’s fish-poop water time!”

她在她家楼下放了一个桶,这样群组成员们可以过来自己舀。养鱼水很受欢迎,她开始定期提供,时常宣布,“鱼粪水时间到啦!”

Within hours, her neighbors would come and take it all.

几小时后,它们就被邻居们取完了。
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