Another Way to Save Money and Save the Earth
Very few people can deny the appeal of practical and sophisticated electronic mobile devices. Problem is, not everyone can afford them. The iPad, for example, costs $499. How can any consumer try out an expensive electronic device, really test run it at home, at the office, on the road, etc. to make sure that the functionality is worth the money and matches the needs of one's lifestyle?
Enter SnapGoods. This internet start-up in Brooklyn runs on a very basic premise: people want to borrow stuff. Since there are plenty of people who have stuff they want to lend, this site brings the two together. It's sort of a borrower-lender match-making service.
Anything goes, it's not just fancy hand-held electronic devices but camping gear, food processors, vacuum cleaners, and lots more.
The site completes a standard background check on users who want to set up an account/membership, and handles payment via PayPal.
SnapGoods is not the only site to provide a place for people to engage in sharing stuff. Sites like SwapBabyGoods specifically caters to the needs of new parents.
Some other sites such as Neighborhood Fruit is specific in the sense that it allows people to share what bumper crop grows in their yards or fruits "harvested" from fruit trees on public land, which would otherwise have gone to waste.
All these sites have at least two advantages. This process bypasses the conventional route of spending money in order to own stuff that comes not only with the cost of purchase, but with the costs of maintenance and storage as well.
The other advantage is that such sites allow consumers to reduce, reuse, and recycle what they already have even while it builds community ties by fostering communication that would otherwise not have taken place.
After all, anyone who needs or wants anything must first find and then contact someone who has the desired object. Search, contact, negotiation, finalizing the deal, etc. all give getting more stuff a new meaning. Such a process actually makes us slow down and assess our needs and wants in greater detail. Do I really need a shop vac? Maybe yes, but I might need it only twice a year to clean out my basement. So does it really make any sense to buy a brand new one, use it twice a year, and store it for the rest of the time? Isn't it better to find someone who has it, borrow or rent it for the 4 hours a year when I actually use it?Continued on the next page