I never wanted a “smart phone” in the first place but my husband surprised me with a Blackberry three years ago – basically becoming a co-dependent in what has become my ever-growing email addiction. I admit it: At first I loved it, forever hypnotized by the subtle vibration and blinking red light, indicating that I received email, or, better yet, a text. I was constantly connected to whomever was reaching out to me from all corners of the universe and cyberspace. I was never alone. Blissful with my Blackberry.
That is, until my techno-savvy, trendsetting brother started flaunting his iPhone and its countless “apps.” The seeds for what would soon become a classic case of “iPhone Envy” had been sown.
At first there was denial: “Who needs the distracting sideshow?” I convinced myself. Phones should just be phones (and delivery systems for email, of course). I did a pretty good job buying into this logic for about 2 years until my phone service contract flirted with expiration. Then I started to cave. It didn’t help that my son’s iTouch could outsmart my Blackberry. It had GPS, an app that helps you find ATMs and restaurants when you’re on road trips, and instant access to iTunes, of course. But the internet access and video quality really blew me away. I could watch cherry-picked news stories at my own convenience – wherever and whenever I wanted to! I HAD to have an iPhone!
So, my very generous husband hooked me up last Christmas. I was elated. I could go on and on about the countless apps that now “complete me” (Shazam and Lose-it, how did I live without you????). Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you already know. But what you may not know is how to dispose of your outsmarted technology in a “green” way that could also bring in some green.
Enter Gazelle.com. This website allows you to enter the specs of the stuff you want to unload (laptops, digital cameras, phones, gaming systems). Once you do that, you simply hit enter, and the site calculates how much they’ll pay you for it. Then, Gazelle fires off a free shipping label to your inbox . All you have to do is pack up your item -along with any chargers and extra cables- and then drop the box off at your nearest UPS store. That’s it. I received a check in 7 days for my Sony digital camera.
There is, of course, stuff they won’t pay for (my outdated “his and her” Eriksson phones, for example). But Gazelle will recycle those items for free. You just toss them in the box with the gadgets that have value and Gazelle takes care of all the shipping charges. Another bonus: they have a specialist trained to remove all of your “private” data so it’s no longer in circulation.
I checked out Gazelle’s warehouse in the Greater Boston area last summer. It’s simply amazing to see the sheer volume of phones, laptops, and cameras that are passing through the facility. Most of the used technology is shipped to new owners in South America and Asia. “The demand is insatiable,” says co-founder Israel Ganot (who helped launch ebay). According to him, Gazelle diverted 10 tons of the so-called e-waste from landfills in 2009!
Bottom line: if you want that iPhone, buy it. Then “sell” your jilted phone to Gazelle. Someone in Belize is probably fantacizing about your bargain-priced Blackberry right now.