Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Living Room Guest That Won't Leave

It sounds so easy! (from eHow)

We’ve finally upgraded to a flat-screen HD TV set in our living room.  The new 32-inch Toshiba fits perfectly on the wall between two windows.

We also have another new piece of living room furniture – a 120-pound coffee table! Ok, it’s actually our old, anything-but-flat, 32-inch RCA set, circa mid-‘90s.  But we’re kind of getting used to it staying around.

Not that we haven’t tried to get rid of the behemoth.

Right off, my sister’s boyfriend told me that, when he had a similar problem, the Salvation Army was more than happy to come and pick up his set.

Apparently, the Salvation Army marches differently on Long Island than here in Brooklyn.

“I’d like to donate a giant working TV set,” I tell the charity’s representative.

“Great,” he responds. “What do you have with it?”

“Uh, I have the remote control and the instruction manual.”

“No, what other furniture are you donating?”

“Isn’t a large TV set enough?”

“We require two pieces of furniture for a pick-up.  You can drop the TV off.”

“I don’t have a car – and it weighs 120 pounds!”

No other charity seemed willing to pick up a TV set in Brooklyn, either, so we decided to give the monster away to a regular citizen. 

Having heard that Freecycle was the way to go in these matters, I joined that Yahoo group and posted the following listing: “working 32" RCA Entertainment Series TV set, complete with remote
control and instruction book -- but estimated weight of more than 100

Within a day, I’d received three responses.  The first two were extremely polite -- “Can I have it please!” and “When can I get it please?” – and the third a bit more direct: “I am interested.”

To each, I replied, “Great, do you have a way to move it?”

And that was my last interaction with anyone from Freecycle.

A while later, doing some more research on the Internet, I discovered 4thbin, dubbed “the ethical e-waste rescue solution.”  4thbin offers to pick up used TV sets in New York City – for a price.  "Well," I told my wife, "we knew from the start we couldn’t sell our oversized box. Then, we found out we couldn’t give it away. So maybe it’s time that we pay someone to take it away."

Facing the inevitable -- that nobody would ever watch a TV show again on our still perfectly functioning, but now obsolete old set -- I was now reconciled to happily paying for it to be demolished in the name of a sustainable planet.  So I filled out the form on the 4thbin website for a free estimate.

A day or so later, I received an email with the price.  My reply: “Ok, what’s the next step?”

And that was my last interaction with 4thbin.

And so this enormous “coffee table” still sits in our living room. 

The next step, of course, is to push the set out to the curb (we do live on the ground floor, after all!).  Then, inevitably -- regardless of any forecast-- it will begin to rain, forcing us to remove the “It works!” sign taped onto the TV. And the city’s Department of Environmental Protection will undoubtedly ticket us for illegal curbside disposal.

In the meantime, please wipe that coffee stain off the glass top of our table!

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