Offerings

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Two different examples of things being offered up for free, in (Old) Amsterdam and New Amsterdam (NYC). For each, think about the offerer, and how their assumptions and context have guided their approaches to giving things away.

Each come with their own containers, which are also implicitly offered up along with their contents. The different objects inside of those containers come with their own set of embedded assumptions, though.

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What role does where these things are being offered play in how they are considered? While the hangers are being offered up in front of a clothing shop, the toys are not being offered in front of a toy shop, or even nearby any shop. Rather, they’re on the low stone ledge surrounding the garden in front of an apartment building next to a large public park (in a fairly wealthy neighborhood in Brooklyn).

The offerer of the hangers seems to consider them fairly innocuous and self-explanatory, not imagining potential for any sort of harm or sabotage from hangers you pick up on the street.

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The stuffed animals are a bit different. Perhaps in response to anticipated skepticism around why they would be being offered up to be given away, the offerer felt compelled to caveat their charity with a disclaimer about the condition of the place they’ve come from. How would you feel about these toys if they didn’t have any such disclaimer? What if the sign also included the contact information of the person giving them away?

Finally, flip the contexts in this situation: how might a Dutch resident of Amsterdam offer up their old stuffed animals? How might a New Yorker give away their clothes hangers?

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