Sunday, April 30, 2017

No More Smoking Power Tools And Mouse Turds For Us

Over the past couple of years, since introducing the idea of expanding Bodacious Biscuit Love beyond biscuits, we've received quite a few contributions of goods to assist with the process. This has included several used sewing machines, a handful of power tools, fabric, and other supplies. With every person who has come forth with stuff to offer, we are more than grateful and have extended some sweet thank-you-love. However, on the flip side, there's also a lot of frustration when these supplies fall into the category of, for lack of a better word, junk.

This is one of those situations where it gets a bit sticky. Awkward. Uncomfortable. 

Almost 2 years ago, I put out a request for a second hand sewing machine. I was more than willing to pay a fair amount for a working, second hand sewing machine. A few people donated a used sewing machine. I was beyond grateful.

After attempting to use each one, I discovered none of 'em worked. One of the sewing machines had a cord and plug that was frayed. I didn't dare attempt to plug it in to the outlet. The second sewing machine didn't work at all. I pressed the pedal with my foot and nothing happened. The third sewing machine was rusted, warped, and a few essential parts were missing.

Last November, we threw up our hands and went out and bought a brand new Singer Sewing Machine. It was right around Black Friday so we got a great deal well within our budget.

Within this same time frame, we've had quite a few people donate fabric and other sewing supplies. A handful of these donations were in excellent condition, neatly organized, the material was washed, and totally usable.

Sadly, we were not able to use a lot of the fabric. I lost count how many bags of fabric I went through that was saturated with mouse pee and covered in rodent shit.

Those bags of fabric were tossed away immediately.

A few bags had awesome bundles of fabric, but the fabric had gotten wet and was covered in mildew and mold. Others had unidentifiable gigantic putrid colored stains that reeked. Those bags of fabric were also thrown away.

All in all, the amount of fabric and sewing supplies that passed our inspection was minimal.

Later down the road, we've had some kind people donate power tools to assist with making our wooden DIY Dog Mom Projects.

But, like with everything else, some tools didn't work, other's were a fire hazard at first glance and they were immediately tossed in the dump run pile, and a couple of tools started smoking after 10 minutes of use.

Just so we're clear, please don't mistake "pass our inspection" as turning our noses up at donations. As mentioned, we're beyond grateful, but I absolutely refuse to accept fabric that's covered in rodent excrement, mold, and mildew. Even after I won't even put that shit in our washer and dryer.

That's right up there with perishable food donations that are weeks out of date and are visibly moldy or rancid.

Take a second to imagine yourself hungry. No money. No food. You haven't eaten in several days. Someone offers you moldy bread, a half gallon of curdled milk and deli meat that's slimy and a week out of code. You decline the offer.

You're not declining the offer because you're ungrateful. You're declining the offer because the food is no good. Yet, the person donating the food has the attitude of, "You're desperate. You're hungry. It shouldn't matter what condition the food is in..."

It's like being caught between a rock and a hard place. You're grateful, but...

That's the same boat we've been in quite a few times in the past couple of years with yard sale and other donations. It sucks all the way around. It reminds me of when a former friend of ours gave us a HUGE television with the surround sound attached. They assured me it worked. They transported it to our home in a pickup truck.

The following day, we discovered it didn't work. I let our friend know. There was no offer to pick it up. We were in a pickle. Thankfully, our neighbor friend, who has a pickup truck, offered to load it and take it to the dump for us.

When people donate items, we'd like to think they work. I would never donate an item that didn't work or bags of unusable fabric. I used to think people followed that golden rule, but they don't.

Again, it sucks...especially when they ask about it down the road. It also makes things harder for us because we have to make a dump run to get rid of the huge pile of bags and non-working power tools in the basement.

We have trash pickup every week, but there's never room for the bags of fabric and power tools. 

At this point, after over 2 years of dealing with this, we're done.

By "done" I'm referring to 3 things...

1. We're not taking any donations that run off electricity, battery, or fuel.  We've already started the process of buying brand new power tools for Lisa's basement wood shop.

2. I've made a list of people we're not accepting items from. Ever. Because seriously, when you donate a bag of fabric that's mixed in with dirty cat litter and at least a handful of mouse shit, and, after opening the bag, the stench of urine burns my nose, no. Just no.

3. If and when we ever ask for items again, I'm going to be specific. In the past, I felt bad about adding a list of exclusions or requesting that any fabric items be washed. Not anymore.

You live. You learn.

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