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Trying to donate a TV, or give it away for free. Failing. Help?
January 20, 2013 2:51 PM   Subscribe

I have a Toshiba 35" TV from the mid-90s that still works perfectly. I still have the manual it came with, and the original remote. The TV stands on a custom TV stand that was built by the manufacturer specifically for it. Unfortunately, I don't want it anymore, the TV weighs 165 lbs., and I cannot carry it myself. Options I've exhausted include:

Chicago Freecycle. "Come get it and it's yours. Free. You'll need two strong people to move it." No takers.

The "free" section of Chicago Craigslist. Same announcement; same difference.

Goodwill. Though you might read that they will come pick up TVs as donations, it turns out that they, in fact, won't. I know. I called.

I will not donate anything to the Salvation Army.

If I could just get the thing out into the alleyway, I guarantee that it would disappear before 24 hours were up. But I can't. And, okay, here's the pathetic part, I don't have many local friends to help me. Almost none, really--and those I do have are not known for their upper-body strength.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I can't afford to pay a haul-away service.
posted by tzikeh to Grab Bag (28 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are there any family shelters or schools in your area that might benefit from such a present?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 2:52 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Boys and Girls clubs take lots of stuff.
posted by xingcat at 2:53 PM on January 20, 2013


I have found, paradoxically, that people won't take free stuff on Craigslist but will happily pay $40-$50 for it. Have you tried putting it up with some nominal price?
posted by muddgirl at 2:56 PM on January 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


Do you live in an apartment building? Post a notice asking for help getting it to the curb in the lobby; offer $5 -- $5ish, better if you can afford better, otherwise $5 each or a six-pack or something like that that will make a pair of students or other poor folk say "Sure, let's go do this."
posted by kmennie at 2:57 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here in Boston I hear that Big Brothers/Big Sisters will big up pretty much anything.
posted by AwkwardPause at 2:57 PM on January 20, 2013


If you think it would disappear quickly in your alley, print a picture of it on paper and write FREE/EL ARTICULO ES LIBRE in big letters, with your phone number, and put HEAVY - YOU HAUL/PESADO - USTED TRANSPORTAR at the bottom. Tape up in your alley. Be ready for a phone call.
posted by juniperesque at 2:58 PM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Post on all the same sites asking for someone to help you carry a TV to the curb. Offer $20.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 3:21 PM on January 20, 2013


You might also try contacting local Masons/Elks/Moose/VFW groups... a big TV is the sort of thing groups like that love to have for their buildings, but don't necessarily have funds for.
posted by usonian at 3:22 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are there any family shelters or schools in your area that might benefit from such a present?

Yes, but they do not have the resources to come get donations. They accept them at their locations.

Post on all the same sites asking for someone to help you carry a TV to the curb. Offer $20.

I literally have no money to spare. That's why I want someone to come get it for free.

I have found, paradoxically, that people won't take free stuff on Craigslist but will happily pay $40-$50 for it. Have you tried putting it up with some nominal price?

I haven't... but I can't imagine anyone wanting to pay anything for an 18-year-old, 35" CRT tv that weighs 165 pounds. I guess I could give it a shot....
posted by tzikeh at 3:26 PM on January 20, 2013


Toshiba has a link that purportedly will help you find a local recycler: http://us.toshiba.com/green/reuse-and-recycling/ But you may well have
to haul it there-or at least we did.
posted by beaning at 3:28 PM on January 20, 2013


I literally have no money to spare. That's why I want someone to come get it for free.

Seriously, try listing it for a nominal price on CL. Psychologically, people sometimes have a weird reaction to free stuff on CL because it seems too good to be true. PLUS you will make $40 or whatever.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 3:34 PM on January 20, 2013


Seriously, try listing it for a nominal price on CL. Psychologically, people sometimes have a weird reaction to free stuff on CL because it seems too good to be true. PLUS you will make $40 or whatever.

FWIW, I had fears of a similar problem with a mattress--no means to move it myself, most places won't take them, etc. When moving, I first tried to sell my bed on Craigslist as 'bed with free mattress'. No takers. (Well, one enquiry who flaked.) It went in short order when listed as 'bed with mattress'. People are a lot weirder about second hand mattresses than TVs and not because they're worried about bedbugs.
posted by hoyland at 3:50 PM on January 20, 2013


Just to reiterate the points above, I had a 100lb, old tv. No one would take it for free. $20 and I had 5 people emailing me about it within the day. I made it clear in the ad that I would not help lift it, the guy showed up with two other people and a dolly and was happy for it.
posted by magnetsphere at 3:52 PM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I read in the paper once: somebody had similar problems trying to offload a working fridge. They put it out on the kerb with a sign "free working fridge!" and it sat there for days.

When they changed the sign to "fridge for sale $50, enquire within" it was gone (ie 'stolen') in hours.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:00 PM on January 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Just to reiterate the points above, I had a 100lb, old tv. No one would take it for free. $20 and I had 5 people emailing me about it within the day. I made it clear in the ad that I would not help lift it, the guy showed up with two other people and a dolly and was happy for it.

I did this exact same thing, and it worked like a charm. Except the guy showed up with three friends and a tiny, tiny car, and i don't know how they fit everyone and the giant TV in there, but it looked awkward.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:07 PM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


CRT TV's are basically toxic waste that no one wants any more (esp. after this last Thanksgiving and Christmas season). I think you are going to have a tough time right now since it's right after people went out and got a nice new TV.

It might get easier as we get further away from Christmas.

I think you should just keep posting it in the free section once a week until it goes.

You might want to work on your ad, something like

35" TV, works great, you will need a friend to help move it.

I think the part "need two strong people to help move it" might be scaring people away, true as it is.

Get them there with a friend and they'll make it work.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 4:22 PM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd take it (it would be great for hooking up my old Super Nintendo) but my wife would kill me. There's definitely a segment of the geek population (old school retro gamers) that loves these things, but they're huge and a pain to move.
posted by Oktober at 4:56 PM on January 20, 2013


Maybe a sign in the break room at work?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:42 PM on January 20, 2013


Call the Got Junk folks. Tell them it is a working 35" TV etc. Tell them you cannot afford to pay to have it hauled, but you will give it to them free. Likely, they will balk, but I bet they have some good suggested alternatives.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:46 PM on January 20, 2013


Another anecdote about the perversity of people around the idea of free: I run a book exchange in a local bar's private party room. Many people show up with books they swap out or just take. When other patrons who don't previously know about the event hear there are books available, they trot into the room to check it out. They gather up books and try to find out who to pay. I say, "No one! They are free! Enjoy!" Half of those people will put the damn things down and back out of the door with wide eyes, saying, "Oh, no, I couldn't!" while I chase them BEGGING them to take them away.

Charge for the TV on Craigslist. Report back to this thread to tell us how it went.
posted by thebrokedown at 6:03 PM on January 20, 2013


One of the things with craiglist is so many of the spammers don't put prices on stuff that a good way to immensely cut down on the chaff is to put a low dollar limit (even a buck) on searches to exclude those results. That is one of the reasons that charging for the TV might be successful when offering it for free won't be.
posted by Mitheral at 6:35 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


In this neck of the woods (i.e., North Carolina, Triangle region), Habitat for Humanity will come pick up furniture at one's house. I have seen TVs for sale at the Habitat Restore. Maybe they'll pick up your TV? Worth a phone call anyway.
posted by tuesdayschild at 6:55 PM on January 20, 2013


Try: 35" retro TV w/matching stand. Excellent pic. Heavy but a beauty. $45 or first serious offer.
posted by notreally at 7:36 PM on January 20, 2013


I'll give the idea of asking for a low sum on craigslist a try (while mentioning that it's heavy, still--no point in fielding offers and then they expect to carry it under one arm), and I'll let you guys know.

Thanks!
posted by tzikeh at 8:05 PM on January 20, 2013


To 99.44% of people, a 165-pound standard-definition CRT TV has literally no value. So, you are not selling or giving away a TV, you are trying to throw one away. You are basically trying to hire someone to take it to the waste transfer station for you and are frustrated that nobody will do it for for free.

Even if you find someone willing to do this, there will likely be a fee at the transfer station to accept the TV. Keep an eye out for opportunities to do this for free (our community has one every few months where you drive up with your obsolete electronics and they take it from you at no cost).

It is entirely possible that you can't afford to throw away your TV at this time. In that case, keep it until you can. Or, assuming you're renting, leave it when you next move, and your landlord will do it and take the cost out of your deposit... or maybe the next tenant will want it.
posted by kindall at 8:09 PM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't know where you would go posting for this, by good-condition CRT's are sought after by video game arcade cabinet collectors. LCD screens just don't have the right look and feel to them, and CRTs are increasingly hard to come by.

I bet they'd buy it off you, too.
posted by InsanePenguin at 8:11 PM on January 20, 2013


I relatively recently ditched my 32" tube tv by donating it to Chicago Chesed Fund -- they were happy to take things no one else wanted, and showed up with a truck and a guy to haul it away, to boot.
posted by sldownard at 9:15 AM on January 21, 2013


I have found, paradoxically, that people won't take free stuff on Craigslist but will happily pay $40-$50 for it. Have you tried putting it up with some nominal price?

I haven't... but I can't imagine anyone wanting to pay anything for an 18-year-old, 35" CRT tv that weighs 165 pounds. I guess I could give it a shot....


I had an old sofa sleeper I was trying to get rid of. I put it out by the curb with a sign that said FREE. No takers after a week and a half. I put a sign FOR SALE $30 on it and it was gone the next day.
posted by Doohickie at 11:52 AM on January 21, 2013


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