At the Brooklyn Free Store, All Items Are $0

A new collective in Brooklyn, New York, lets customers pick up items for free, and donate whatever they don't want.

People in Brooklyn, New York are used to paying a fortune for rent, groceries, and subway tokens. If you’re set on living within a stone’s throw of Manhattan, it’s simply the price you pay.

Yet Brooklynites are getting respite from the high price tags at one particular store in Bedford-Stuyvesant: the Brooklyn Free Store, which is exactly what it sounds like. The large white tent on Walworth Street houses a huge variety of items, along with a sign that says, “Take what you want. Share what you think others may enjoy (not limited to material items).”

Don’t go looking for anything in particular there: you’ll never find the same thing twice. Merchandise can range from canned vegetables to flashlights; books to fur coats. Along with taking what they like, visitors are encouraged to drop off items they no longer want. Because there is no need to hire a cashier, and no risk of theft, the store is never locked, and is open at all hours.

The store opened in early July, and is proving to be a smashing success, with customers coming in at all hours to sort through the collection and drop off their own donations. And, even though the Brooklyn Free Store is the first of its kind, it’s not likely to be the last.

“New York is world renowned for having the best garbage,” Myles Emery, an organizer of the store, told the New York Times. “There could be free stores everywhere.”

First New York—next, the world?

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