Look a gift horse in the mouth!

So living a broke college student lifestyle in a brand new city means always being on the lookout for deals and even better, free stuff! That doesn’t mean combing the alleys the day before garbage pickup or checking freecycle every five minutes. Sometimes just putting the word out there to your friends can do the trick. Most of us who have been living in one place for any length of time tend to accumulate crap we don’t need and are more than happy to pawn it off on a friend in need.

But as the recipient of free crap, you should always always carefully inspect it (after you’ve accepted it and muchly thanked the person who gave it to you) to assess the item’s condition and if it needs any repairs or something like that. Sometimes not doing that can actually cost you, as I learned the hard way.

But first I just want to clarify that I’m in no way whatsoever criticizing the person giving the stuff, I’m just saying that any free stuff should accepted gratefully, ‘as is’, with no expectations whatsoever on their working condition or anything, but after you’ve gratefully received it, don’t assume it works like new either!

A well-meaning friend of mine gave me an extra iron that they happened to have lying around and I thought “sweet! one less thing to buy!”. Unfortunately, I failed to really take a close look at it before I fired it up and went to iron a light colored dress shirt to go to work. At first contact, the iron left a small but very visible black streak on my shirt that basically ruined the shirt. So in the end, I got a free iron but am out a shirt. And this totally could have been avoided if I’d just taken a close look at the iron, tested it out a bit first, realized it needed a bit of cleaning and cleaned it up before using it. Then I’d have gotten a free iron and still have the shirt!

And again, to clarify, I’m not blaming my friend in any way what soever. Like I said, we all have crap lying around that we don’t use and if somethings really been just sitting in the basement or in a closet for some undetermined amount of time, people can sometimes forget why it ended up there in the first place. And from diging out of its storage space and putting it in a bag to give away, they might not always realize that it actually needs a good cleaning or a small repair. It’s up to the grateful recipient of the free stuff to make sure things are clean and in good working order before putting it to use.

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