Sunday, December 21, 2008

Really Really Free Market recap

The post prior to this wasn't sure what else to say before the event, but since the 'Free Market ended yesterday there is so much to say that we don't even know where to start. Expect a few rambling posts about the 'Free Market the next few days.

Needless to say, the first Really Really Free Market was a resounding success, far surpassing any of the instigators' expectations. People arrived before the start time and no one really stopped coming until just before the event ended. We never even attempted to keep a tally of how many people came, but the event drew participants from start to finish and the energy of the room never died.

We attribute some of this turnout success to unexpected (but appreciated) promotion by individual blogs, message board posts, word of mouth and unsolicited mentions in both the free newsweekly (NUVO) and daily corporate newspaper (Indy Star). We actually didn't even know we were mentioned in the Star until the middle of the event that day.

As evidenced by the amount of people who contributed and came out to the event, this 'Free Market is an idea whose time has obviously come. The appeal of a 'Free Market truly cuts through all sectors of society regardless of political/religious affiliation, cultural background or economic class as evidenced by the diversity of people who showed up on Saturday. Considering the aspects of a RRFM are practiced unknowingly by families and neighbors every time they gather in block parties, holiday dinners or sport games, it's no big step to initiate it publicly amongst strangers without a hitch. Or at least one would think.

Our biggest obstacle in the promotion and practice of the RRFM was convincing others that, YES, everything is truly FREE. Free, without a sales promotion, without a pyramid scheme, without trade, without barter, without ownership, but plain and simple free. We tried our best to continuously push the "free" concept in our emails, blog posts and word of mouth, but even on the day of the event others took it on themselves to publish the event as a bartering market....which,'s not. We even had a friend almost NOT attend the yoga session at the RRFM because they thought it was a paying class. We certainly noticed a hesitation amongst participants when the RRFM started, but after a little prodding and encouragement, people willingly dropped their inhibitions and partook of the goods. We were informed that even when some people started taking items they would sheepishly mention "This is weird. I sort of feel guilty." And repeatedly some of us were approached with the question, "So, how does this all work? If I want something, do I need to claim it or fill something out?" Our response was simply, "Nope. Just take it!"

Although we felt a small tinge of frustration that the concept that EVERYTHING IS FREE wasn't being so readily accepted, we pulled ourselves back in perspective and realized, this is the very reason we started this, to break people of the notion that in this world dominated by the capitalist paradigm that nothing is free and there is always a catch, but instead, yes, THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES. We can practice another way and do so without restriction. After all, this RRFM is the perfect opportunity to prove the possibility of cooperation and horizontalism, amongst so many other basic ideals. Soon enough, people caught on and visited the rows and rows of free goods multiple times to see if they missed anything they might have wanted.

Speaking of, for those of you that didn't attend, you might be wondering what kind of stuff was offered. Well, we made a handy dandy little list for you. Here goes.

Clothes, shoes, an imac computer, a typewriter, both a kid and adult drumset, vegan desserts, groceries, stereos, toys, books, radical literature/posters/stickers, fabric, video's/dvd's, a bread maker, luggage, chairs, paint, magazines, games, a child car seat, bike parts, cups/glasses/silverware, a polaroid camera, picnic basket, sleeping bag, comic books, a slide projector, a TV, a bike, etc. etc.

Then there were the services...

Massage (a big hit)
Reiki healing
Tarot card readings
Pencil portrait drawings from photos
A demo on primitive fire making
Bike repair
Portrait photography
A free placenta encapsulation offer
A yoga class (also a big hit)
A wilderness survival presentation table

So yeah, this RRFM certainly avoided the potential "dumping ground" of undesirables (items, not people!) that can plague events like this and we thank everyone who attended, put on a demonstration or brought items to share. The organizers were thanked repeatedly for putting on the event, but it certainly wasn't us. It was truly everyone that showed up and made the event what it was/is.

Speaking of what the event IS, we have another month until the next one. There was such a good environment at this event that most people said they were going to return next month and this time with more stuff to offer, not to mention they offered to tell their friends as well. We really expect next month to be even better than this month, fortunately we have more room to expand within the Earth House and we'd love it if we could use those other beautiful areas.

Obviously we can't promise anything this far in advance, but we did get verbal confirmation that the Wilderness folks are going to come back each month and offer another demo. When they tell us exactly what their plans are we'll let everyone know what skills they will be teaching in advance. We were also told the massage therapist will be returning as well. We also plan on courting more individuals for services and hopefully some live music (conversation enhancing styles of course). As always, if you have anything you want to offer or know of others with skills some people might be interested in, please get them in touch. We'd love to see a couple hair stylists show up and offer haircuts to participants or other activities as such.

It was also brought to our attention by an artist friend of ours that they would love to see more artists come and offer their work, as most artists enjoy collecting each others pieces, but often don't have the money to buy them. We hope to tap into this culture and see if there is any interest in participating. Any help with this would be appreciated.

Oh, there was one more problem with the RRFM I should mention. We almost burned down the building. KIdding! But during the fire making demonstration, the kindling started to smolder and the amount of smoke generated was certainly cause for concern. Sure enough, the smoke alarms went off and an Earth House member arrived just in time to punch in the code to silence them. It was a temporarily worrisome, but quite amusing moment in an already high-energy environment. We'll take more precautions next time.

Finally, again we want to thank everyone who made this event what it is. We can't wait to see you at future RRFM's and see where this thing takes us all.

- RRFM organizers/instigators

P.S. - there was a photo of the RRFM in Sunday's Star and Nuvo is doing a write-up as well. Look out for those.


Oliver Danni said...

I can't seem to find the Star photo! All that comes up when I search the website is the article from the 19th, and I didn't get my hands on a paper copy in time. Anybody got a link? said...

I've only seen the star photo in the print edition...not sure if it is on the site.

More rrfm photos to come later tonight.

Oliver Danni said...

Did you (or anyone) happen to save a copy? I'd like to see it. Especially if they got a picture of me -- I was kinda in the zone, so I didn't even realize photos were being taken for the paper until the person who was taking photos came up to me afterward and asked me for my name.