If your household has any large unwanted items that still have a little life left in them-- what do you do with them? I think most of us would say, "Just put it out on the curb!"

As is commonplace these days, you'll often find everything from stove ranges, wood pallets, or Little Tikes cottages out by the curbside. These signs typically have a "FREE" sign on them-- but what if they don't? Does that mean they're still fair game?

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A west Michigan recently got burned when her mower went missing from her front yard and the whole dilemma has sparked a big debate on social media. So, who's right?

Parchment woman Lynn Hammel Phelps posted in her local Facebook group on Sunday afternoon, 

To the man and girl with the red truck who took the mower without asking it was not free. We just hadn't gotten a sign on it yet. Feel free to make an offer or return it.

I'm sure it's no surprise to you that fellow members of the "We Are Parchment" Facebook group were quick to respond to Lynn's accusations. You know how social media is!

Many commenters suggested Lynn's mistake was putting the item out on the curb before she put a "For Sale" sign on it. Some members said they would have assumed the same as the father and daughter, that the item was free and up for grabs! Saying:

  • "Normally ppl dont put things they're going to sell on the curb before they get a for sale sign but good luck.." - Bp Phillips
  • "Hate to tell you but the city would have taken it also thinking it was for City pick up if out by the road." - Lisa Edwards-Hensley

Two Sides to Every Story

Conversely, there were also members who were angry on Lynn's behalf who argued:

  • "If it’s in my yard, and there’s no sign, it means it’s mine!! Just because I have something in my yard that’s near the road does not mean anyone can take it."  - Chris Thompson Snyder
  • "If something is meant to be taken for free, most people put a sign on the item that says so. It’s absolutely not typical or OK to take property that isn’t yours without explicit permission to do so." - Natalie Ann

Who's Right?

I must add that I hope this is all just one big misunderstanding and the pair that was involved in taking the mower wasn't intentionally planning to commit theft. I wasn't there to see it, but I'm assuming the mower was placed directly on the curbside and I can't say I wouldn't have made the mistake in thinking it was free. What do you think?

Says Bp Phillips, "#LifeLesson101: DONT LEAVE THINGS AT THE CURB w/out a sign if you plan on selling them."

Pick-Up in Parchment

Just for the record, the City of Parchment does offer bulk trash pick-up every spring. Kalamazoo also offers a free quarterly bulk pick-up for its residents, the final two dates for 2022 will fall in September and December. More details here.

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