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The Changing European Mentality About Shopping for Free

When getting things for free, there always seems to be an implicit condition where one has to sacrifice something as “payback” for what they received.  Often times, a donor may look to get something material out of it too, usually a tax deduction.

Juul MartinGiving without expectation is freeing, according to Dutch social-entrepreneur & public speaker Juul Martin in “Sharing Vouchers Offer a Simple Way to Share Anything”, an interview he did with the good folk at Shareable.net. Sharing Vouchers are an original idea of Martin’s wherein strangers trade favors and services through the exchange of personal information written on designated notes with the sharing initiative’s logo on them.

Treasure Circle(TC) is the high-tech counterpart to the Sharing Vouchers’ “no-tech, neighborly way to create a culture of sharing.” Like Treasure Circle,  the Sharing Vouchers venture may also include material items and not just services and favors, however involved or minuscule they might be.  The potential of this type of giving truly knows no limit.

Receiving things freely should never be considered demeaning.  People need to feel more secure about being handed items for nothing, and givers need to truly give. “Giving without expectation of reciprocity would make more relaxed societies,” Martin points out in the Shareable.net interview.

A retail shop detailed in In France, The Freecycle Movement Is Going Retail, touches the true heart of gifting.  It’s not clear how the bills are paid to run the operation called La Boutique Sans D’Argent, yet people are amazed at what’s given away freely, and it draws in gracious people. Some even donate unneeded things they bought from elsewhere.

11667372_392381604295491_8088975016243679227_nElsewhere, residents plant gardens that others are welcome to take from. In the city of Bordeaux, a cafe not long ago began allowing patrons to pay for their cup of coffee and donate the cost of one for any needy patron to drink for free. This sort of system, which has spread all over France, is self-regulating in that nobody abuses the generosity and it’s used only as necessary.

Society needs to sincerely appreciate progressive initiatives like the aforementioned ones in Europe and our own TC.  They allow people to be resourceful, work together, help the environment, redirect money where it’s most needed, create jobs, and simply revolutionize the ways of society & our global economy.

Posted in Editorials.

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