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The Really, Really Free Market is the first Saturday of the month from 2-4 pm at the Town Commons.

September 17, 2005

When was the last time someone invited you to take anything you wanted, as much as you wanted, and didn't want a thing in return? You have to admit, this type of thing just doesn't happen very often. It did happen on Saturday, September 17, 2005 at Carrboro's Town Commons, and continues to happen the first Saturday of every month.

From birdhouses to burritos, not only could you pick from countless items ranging from clothing, to furniture, to books, and everything in between, you could even get a haircut if you wanted one, learn how to build a bluebird house or print a t-shirt, and even get a massage, all for free. What a concept!

Hundreds of folks came out for this event on this sunny Saturday in Carrboro.

Vinci gives Tilden Ward a haircut While this marked the third time this bi-annual event was held here in Carrboro, this was the first time we were able to see it for ourselves. What a sight to see! People coming and going, bringing, giving and taking, in this ultimate exercise in recycling.

Vinci Daro and her husband Daniel Amoni, along with the help of friends Neal, Leslie, Liz, Michal, Nick, and Steve (just to name a few), rented and paid for the space, put out flyers, set up and cleaned up after in this labor of love, but it's the folks who bring stuff that make the market work.

"The main organizing work is done by everyone who shows up with something to give - in other words, without the creativity, generosity, and initiative, the event would just be an empty space. The 'organizers' simply reserve the space and put up banners and fliers to tell people to come, but what actually takes place at the event is up to everyone who participates," says Vinci.

Folks wandered around the Town Commons, munching on free lunch and sifting through the thousands of items there for the taking.

Out of curiousity I asked a couple of folks about the pile of items they had acquired and were looking over outside the bandstand at the Commons.

"Would you have gone out and paid for this stuff?" I asked some college-aged kids.

The young lady answered yes as she carefully examined the colorful string of paper Chinese lanterns she had found. "I've always wanted some of these. Getting them here is great. There's not a thing wrong with them either. They'll look great when I get them hung."

The response of the young man was different. "I doubt it," he admitted, looking at the things he had chosen. "It's not like I really have to have this stuff, but it's nice to be able to get it without having to pay for it. And I probably will use all of it, now that I have it."

Books, a lunch box, a stackable plastic storage unit (with stuff inside), bike tires, a lamp, a pie pan and a tote bag were some of the items this duo carried away.

There was plenty of food and drink, with loads of fresh veggies, fruits and burrito fixings, and sweet tea by the gallons. It was serve yourself at the food table, take as much as you want.

A young man sat under the shelter and serendated folks with his violin as they ate. He made beautiful music to accompany a beautiful event.

There was also plenty of information available. Folks brought printed materials of all sorts about various organizations and causes, offering the free literature to anyone who wanted it. Rafts of paper was spread across a blanket under the Commons shelter.

The Really, Really Free Market is one of the best events we've seen at the Town Commons. We hope it continues to be a successful event. Sharing and recycling are two great ideas. Everyone wins.

Because there's enough for everyone
Because sharing is more fulfilling than owning
Because corporations would rather the landfills overflow than anyone get anything for free
Because scarcity is a myth constructed to keep us at the mercy of the economy
Because a sunny day outside is better than anything money could buy
Because "free trade" is a contradiction in terms
Because no one should have to do without food, shelter, entertainment, and community
Because life should be a picnic, but it only will be if we make it happen


From the organizers:

Everyone is welcome at this free event, where all are encouraged to give, receive, and create on their own terms. This free and open market will be a celebration of the cooperation and gift-giving that make life possible beyond the constraints of capitalist markets. The event is self-organized by everyone who participates. No authority rules over the RRFM. As at previous events, we trust that people sharing rather than competing will be able to find their own ways to cooperate with each other and function smoothly.

Everyone is invited to arrive between 1:00 and 5:00 pm with goods, services, skills, performances, stories, crafts, food, games, music, clothing, furniture, plants, and resources to give and share with others in the community. There is no buying, selling or exchanging involved—in this market, everything is strictly free. Better than a yard sale, the Really Really Free Market has no price tags!

As at other Really Really Free Markets across the U.S. and around the world, we create and participate in an alternative world, a world in which resources are held in common, the community meets the needs of the community, and "free" means just that: really, really free. The Really Really Free Market is an afternoon when social status can be earned by giving things rather than owning things, and when giving and receiving happens directly rather than being administered through an institution or organization.

Nothing is required for participation, but if you would like to give something at the event, please think creatively about the skills you have and could teach, the useful or beautiful things you have and don’t need, or the resources you might be able to bring and share with people to create something during the event. This event is not a ‘dumping ground’ for people to get rid of things they don’t want; rather it is a space where people come together to provide for each other, inspire each other, and share together in the abundance of goods, skills, and creativity of our community. People are encouraged to take responsibility for any goods they bring that are not taken by the end of the event.


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