I’m Not Being Seedy, I Just Want to Give You an Apple

Fruity Giveaway- Saturday 26th November

The Free Sheffield lot have been thumping the streets with the soles of

their feet once more.  As autumn dozes off, we’ve been celebrating the season’s pickings with the urban harvesters of Abundance.

On Saturday morning, the Abundance mobile was spread with the last crates of Russets, Bramleys, Coxes, cookers and eaters, ready to be handed out on Fargate for free.

I’ve come to realise that for most of us, ‘free’ as a monetary concept has become about as convincing as a Robbie Rotten alter-ego. We all know that every freebie is a poorly disguised imposter:

  • Ernst and Young will give you ten pocket calculators and a squidgy frog stress ball at a Careers fair.  And then you’ll be on their mailing list forever and ever, amen.
  • This hot-pink lipstick will make you look like a babe-atron, for sure, but you have to buy a copy of J17 to get past the cellophane.
  • Travelodge adorn your room with complimentary digestives and several Lenny Henry action figures.  Somewhere along the fiscal line they will be discreetly factored into the bill. Fact.

Naturally then, as one lady hurried away from my invite she voiced a suspicion that we were going to try and make her do a survey.  This was a pretty typical reaction, made worse by the fact that Saturday in town is always a battle between those with clipboards and those without. More often than not, people wouldn’t take an apple for fear of being conned out of something.

So what I think Abundance is doing when they give away fruit is to help reclaim the definition of ‘free’.  They give it a hearty meal and some warm clothes until it’s back to its old textbook self again.

Offering someone something for nothing is almost always a moral act, a gesture of defiance towards society’s priorities and a challenge to the belief that everything of worth has to have a price. When ‘free’ is fighting fit it is a useful tool in provoking the rough and tumble of an intellectual exchange.

As such, when you ask ‘Would you like a free apple?’, you’re actually posing a number of implicit questions. ‘How willing are you to talk to a stranger?’ ‘How open are you to new ideas?’ ‘Do you want something even if it isn’t worth money?’

Given this, it seems fitting that Abundance invited apple-grabbers to share a story, an anecdote, joke or song with them.  My favourite was from a bloke involved in Love Music Hate Racism.  It went something like this:

“I was on the bus yesterday, and a guy got on and didn’t have quite enough change for a ticket.  It was only a few pence but the bus driver wouldn’t let him on.  There was a child in front of me, and he turned to his mum and asked why he couldn’t just get on.  The mum responded that wouldn’t be fair.  He replied that there should just be one bus ticket that we all could share.”

I’ll keep that story in my pocket for far longer than he’ll have that apple.

Disclaimer: I’m not expressing opinions that are necessarily held by the Abundance crew.  This is just my experience.  The best place to keep up with their new ands views is here.

Quick note: It’s been three weeks since a blog-shaped morsel was last offered up to the Sheffield money-dodging brigade.
Suffice to say, this dimly shaped landscape of lost time (its hills rendered sluggish-smooth by sloth-inducing illness; its cliffs roughened by the sad and fleeting blooms of doomed love) will not be revisited.  In short, I promise never to get sick and then leave you for a girl again.

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3 responses to “I’m Not Being Seedy, I Just Want to Give You an Apple

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