By Napo Devesa
In June 2015 the first “boutique sans argent” (shop without money) opened its doors in Paris in the Reuilly train station. The idea is simple: anyone can leave an object in the store that they no longer need (as long as it is in good condition), and in turn anyone can take whatever they want. There is no money or barter involved. In the business you can find: clothing, tableware, small furniture, books, ornaments, toys, etc.
Le Follow-Follow - Paris
This moneyless store, called "Le Siga-Follow", is an initiative of a non-profit association. In 2013 they got together to create spaces where gifts could be made without money. The objective is to promote coexistence and solidarity; and a less consumerist attitude, inspired by the circular economy.
The initiative has the support of the municipality of the 12th arrondissement, which is where the store is located, and the Paris mayor's office. They give them the premises for free. Although they have a fixed location, the association continues to organize one-day events, which they call “free zones”, where they promote “gifts” to be made and collected in the same spirit.
The good news: the store receives so many donations that they no longer have storage space!
Share - Frome, England
The idea for “Share: a library of things” comes from a group of young English people. It is a store opened in 2015 in Frome, England. In Share, people can borrow objects that must be returned after 7 days, upon payment of one or four pounds sterling (1.5 or 5.7 euros). The question that arises from this project is: why do we have to own something when we can share it?
The purpose of this initiative is to get people to spend less, create less waste, and connect more with one another.
“In our first three months we have had over 150 new members who have signed up and started borrowing. It's amazing how receptive Frome has been to this new idea. The community has voluntarily come together to take this space forward. They have helped us to set up the store and have attended the painting sessions and the exchange of skills ”, said one of the creators of the initiative.
Currently, Share has 15 volunteers working in the store. Some serve customers directly, while others are dedicated to fixing donated objects and participate in workshops organized in this community space. To keep the store open, the Share team proposes that people collaborate with them in three ways: money, objects or time (as volunteers).
Open Sesame - Madrid
In Madrid we can also find a similar project in this case related to barter: The “Ábrete Sésamo” store. This store was created with the purpose of helping Madrilenians to face the economic crisis. "The waste of some can be the treasure of others", as things work in nature. In this store you can find: decoration products, jewelry, toys, music, appliances, movies, clothing, etc. What is useless for some becomes something valuable for others. In this way, a virtuous circle of exchange and responsible consumption is generated.
It works as follows: those who wish to participate bring the objects they wish to exchange to the store. There they are given a score (from 1 to 50) which varies according to the state and quality of the product. The total points that a person accumulates is enrolled in a personal card that will allow them to spend their points by choosing the items in the store.
"It is not a store to earn money, but to help others in these times of crisis and turn its back on consumerism", says Manuela, one of the promoters of the project. The store also runs workshops to make natural soaps, natural cosmetics and recycling waste materials. In addition, the clothes that cannot be changed are donated to an NGO in the neighborhood that, in turn, provides them with the space to hold the classes: barter and more barter!
These types of projects and ideas call for a new type of values, the so-called post-consumer values. They are the new values we must put first to replace the dominant values of consumerism, individualism and waste. According to Latouche (philosopher, economist and ideologue of degrowth), altruism should replace selfishness, cooperation with unbridled competition, the pleasure of leisure and the habit of gambling with obsession with work, the importance of social life to consumption irrational, the local to the global, the reasonable to the rational, the relational to the material, the qualitative to the quantitative. These values imply a decisive option for being and against having. In order to get away from the "homo consumens" (of whom the philosopher Eric Fromm spoke) whose only goal in life is to possess the greatest possible number of goods.
Napo Devesa for Muhimu