The value of…

Mr Snail is currently writing a few blog posts on “The value of value“. The other day I asked him whether he was going to write one about the value of a secondhand Kindle and he said that he wasn’t, so here is one from me….

A few weeks ago Mr Snail’s Kindle died. He worked hard to try and fix it, but had no success. So, he wrote a blog post about it (take a look if you want to see what all the electronics inside look like). This post was read by writer and artist Kate Murray, who contacted him with the offer of her old Kindle (slightly physically damaged, but fully functional). Mr Snail asked what she’d like in return and she replied that she’d like to learn to make cheese. So that’s what we did… she came over on Thursday and I showed her how to make soft cheese. It sounds like I got the rough end of the deal (after all the Kindle wasn’t for me) but, in fact, she also gave me a dozen or so balls of yarn and so we were all winners.

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What is a lesson in cheese-making worth?

I love this sort of exchange – everyone gains, indeed everyone gains more than the object or skill acquired. Mr Snail has a functioning Kindle, which means that he can progress with his latest book (he wanted to be able to read the current draft away from the computer and make notes). Kate can now go and try cheese-making on her own with a bit more confidence. In addition, she has off-loaded some ‘stuff’ that was of no use to her (she can’t work with the yarn as she has an allergy to wool and anyway it felts severely when washed so has few uses) and she couldn’t sell the Kindle for much because of the superficial damage. And I not only got some yarn, which is already well on it’s way to being a snuggly blanket (that won’t matter if it felts and shrinks), but also I got to spend some quality time with a friend.

How do we assess the value of this? We’ll, I suppose we could look at the monetary cost of a new Kindle, and of the yarn and we could find a cheese-making course and see how much that would cost, but that would be missing the point. The only money that was really involved was the cost of 3 litres of milk, some cheese culture micro-organisms and 12 drops of rennet, plus Kate’s fuel to get here; but the value was high for all of us. As Mr Snail wrote in his first ‘The Value of Value’ post:

We don’t know the value of anything, only the pounds and pence cost.

So, lets reclaim value and appreciate what things are really worth.

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20 Comments

  1. I had so much fun making the cheese and I’m glad the wool and kindle are in use. 🙂

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  2. what a lovely lesson for all of us. Great post. Thanks!

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  3. Fabulous way of sharing skills and unwanted items which has a value to others. Love this… well done to the three of you.

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  4. What a wonderful exchange. Value is like beauty. In the eye of the giver and receiver or beholder. If all are content, it’s more valuable. 🙂

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  5. I think we do have an innate sense of value, though. You all feel that you got a good deal out of the transaction, which sounds typically Snail; combining social, educational, ecologically responsible and profoundly practical!

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  6. Everyone is a winner in these situations – long may the tradition continue

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  7. I enjoyed your post D >

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  8. Maybe we’d see better the value of things if we returned to a barter system and removed the monetary value from things. After all the incalculable things like friendship come without a cash value.
    xxx Huge Hugs Jan xxx

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  9. This is great! And it shows the value of a bit of imagination as well… I know people who would have just binned the Kindle and the yarn, and who’d never consider trying to make their own cheese. Thank goodness there are folk like you to balance them out!

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    • It was great that Kate specifically asked about cheese-making… I would not have thought to offer it in exchange for something.
      I cringe at the amount of stuff that simple gets thrown away… a trip to our local recycling company is a real eye-opener – I can’t believe the things that some people consider to be ‘rubbish’.

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      • I know! My awesome vintage sewing machine was a landfill rescue… All it needed was a new plug! And some of the people my brother works with throw out the most unbelievable stuff too – but that makes for some great freebies for those of us who know better 😀

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  10. How wonderful is all this?! The key, I guess, other than being open to such exchanges, is locating the people who want to do the swapping with you and have what you need. Your example worked out so well!

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