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The Blog—

By Richard Romano
Published: November 27, 2012

The Blog—or specifically, The Blogger—refuses to use terms like “B----k F---y” or “C---r M-----y” to refer to the initial rounds of shopping carnage associated with the holiday season, much less actually participate in them. (The Blogger can’t recall the last time he actually started Christmas shopping before December 20th, and admits he often ends up incurring more in shipping costs than in actual gift costs. He is not proud of this, but c’est la vie.) The Blogger also has grown weary of statements like X is the new Y.” Anyway, I came across some news stories about a new service called yerdle (and, yes, spelled with a lowercase “y,” for reasons passing understanding), that aims to make retail more environmentally friendly by connecting Facebook friends who are looking for certain items with others who actually have said items. Says the San Francisco Chronicle:
So, for example, instead of buying a new chain saw to cut down a tree, a yerdle member can find someone in their area with a chain saw to loan or give away, without charge.
This assumes, perhaps, there would be anything environmentally friendly about a chainsaw or, especially, cutting down a tree, but we grok the point. yerdle Yerdle (I’m sorry, but I don’t care about your branding and I cannot start a sentence with a lowercase letter) was cofounded by former Sierra Club president Adam Werbach and former Walmart exec Andy Rubin.
progressive-thinking retailers should be “looking at ways not to just sell more things,” [says Werbach]. “In San Francisco, we’re struggling with getting the last 20 percent out of the waste stream and a lot of this comes from new products you buy and the packaging,” he said. “If you can borrow that chain saw from the person next door, the retailer’s job is to help you with what you're trying to do, not just sell you another chain saw.”
The idea is “sharing not shopping,” although I wonder how this really differs from Craigslist or any of a number of other online ways of exchanging goods. Also, how do you give someone something borrowed for Christmas? Isn’t that something George Constanza might do?

Please offer your feedback to Richard. He can be reached at richard@whattheythink.com.



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