Swap Etiquette?

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So far I have organized 3 swaps in steepster. I have been very pleased with two of them, but for the other, I never received a thing. I sent out my tea to this person and she contacted me saying that she received my end. It’s been about 2 weeks since she received my tea and I haven’t heard anything from her. I have messaged her in hopes of hearing about what might have happened, but no reply. She has posted numerous tea notes, so I know she has
been on steepster. What I find most disappointing is not that I didn’t receive the promised tea, but that this person failed to keep in contact and let me know what happened. I spent time and money on the postage and checked in, but wasn’t treated the same in return.

I guess my little story is just saying that I do appreciate when others hold up their end and if something comes up, that they just let me know. It’s just courtesy. I am very happy that the two people I’ve worked with have been kind, generous and communicative. So I think that people are on the same page with me on how to handle swaps. I would appreciate a feedback system for swaps to praise those who have smooth transactions and perhaps warn others of those who don’t.

wombatgirl said

Frenchvanilla, you may want to write Jason or another of the steepster gurus and let them know who it was. I say this, because I had the same failed swap experience, and I let them know (while asking for a feedback system myself). And if it was the same person I had fail on a swap, the Steepster overlords would probably want to know. It would be helpful to know if the same people are doing things over and over.

Thank you, wombatgirl, for your suggestion! I will do that!

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IdentiTEA said

Now, you have me scared!

I have never participated in a swap, yet, because of the lack of time (never even bothered to look at the “swap” threads) and money (was an undergrad). However, I have thought about it recently as I have acquired a lot of tea that just isn’t my taste along with the necessary time and money to participate.

But, my faith and trust in people on (presumably intellectual) tea forums is diminishing quickly. I can’t believe only 60% of your transactions have gone smoothly. I NEVER would have guessed it was like that. I am betting that is more because of human stupidity (on the other end, of course) than the lack of quality at the post office.

It’s not like we are swapping car stereo systems… if someone gets joy out of getting maybe $10* worth of tea without giving the same amount or anything at all… that is just sad!

Thank goodness for this thread. I need to rethink my possible participation in swapping.

*This is just a guess because I don’t know how much the average person sends and receives during a single swap

I hope you don’t lose faith in the swaps because of me! They really are worth it and there are kind and honest individuals here at steepster.. But there will be the occasional “bad egg”. It is sad that people don’t fulfill their end of the bargain.. I mean really, it’s just tea (as marvelous as it is!).

aww :( it really is great fun if you find a steady tea swapping partner, there are plenty of good swappers here, and also some bad eggs-hopefully we’ll have a system for tracking that sooner or later

Doulton said

I just had an idea: maybe you could ask a potential swapper for swap “references”? Or insist that the other person send first. There are so many people I could very enthusiastically endorse to you and swapping is a superb way of trying more teas without placing a full-blown order. There are at least 15 people here for whom I could give a very very enthusiastic and positive “swap reference”. These people have given me teas to sample that I would have hesitated to purchase on my own; these people have given me so many moments of divine delight in their swaps…..It would be well worth it to pursue.

wombatgirl said

I like the idea of swap references. Good idea Doulton!

that’s not bad at all, when i was little and babysat i always had to provide a reference, why not provide a reference for a swap, and if 1 partner had a reference and the other does not, the one with no ref needs to ship first? (since everyone has to start somewhere)

It seems every community attracts its share of “swaplifters,” and the honest members need some means of protecting themselves against them.

I have done most of my swapping in the perfume realm, via MakeupAlley.com. They have a token system — when a swap is concluded, the swappers award each other a token and post a brief review of the experience (just a line or two). This serves as a formalized reference process, and members may post in their profile that they will swap only with those who have amassed a certain number of swap tokens (i.e., positive reviews). Maybe a similar system would work for Steepster?

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Doulton said

Frenchvanilla, I am very sorry but not surprised. I have found some of the most exceptional l people on Steepster—people so generous, thoughtful, and wonderful that they will bring you to tears of gratitude. I will not mention their names because I don’t want tea mendicants filling their PM boxes.

And I have also found some of the rudest and most inconsiderate behavior here. I think I started with the naive premise that people who care about the quality of their tea will be polite and punctilious. But it is not so. Some people have treated me as if I were a business set up to do them service (“I’ll have a sample of EVERYTHING you have”) and others will claim that they always send out swaps but the post office does not work. And then if you mention delivery confirmation and putting a return address on the box, they will act as if you are some sort of anal-compulsive jerk.

I was the person who started this thread because I found it was incredibly wounding and painful to have people post 3000 tea reviews but refuse to hold up their end of the deal. It felt so inexplicably hurtful that I will no longer do swaps. I might or might not do giveaways again or contests. Then I don’t have any expectations of a return. But even in some giveaways I’ve been hurt because people do not acknowledge receipt and then I’ll never know if the person received the items or not. Even if I check on Delivery Confirmation and it says the package was delivered there’s the possibility that the package got stolen or got delivered to the wrong abode.

I do feel for you, Frenchvanilla. It is a difficult kind of pain to have because people will tell you that you are crazy to swap with strangers or bizarre to expect reciprocity or a sense of conscience from an internet board. And just because the person has a very prominent presence here on Steepster, does not mean that the person honors swaps.

Ricky admin said

When I read this I thought of your cat (avatar pic). Its so sad. You need a hug.

denisend said

I’ve looked through this thread and can’t find anyone telling you that you are “crazy” or that your expectations are “bizarre”. Is it elsewhere?

Look, I don’t mean to keep picking on you, but I am frustrated that I keep reading an exaggerated dramatized account of what is going on. You don’t think you’ll ever swap again, even though by your original account slightly over half of your swaps have gone well. Why not swap with those folks, and with the folks that those folks have swapped successfully with? Why claim that “swapping on Steepster” is a doomed experience because of a few bad apples? Identify the bad apples and move on.

Not everyone here is trustworthy, and certainly not by your definition. I will admit to anyone who asks that I am chronically late. I will not take part in a swap and limit myself to a very very few expectations at any one time so I can manage things. Even so I was recently 2 months late on a package (I DID get it out, and threw in a bunch of surprises for the recipient).

That said, I certainly do use delivery confirmation and computer printed labels and all of that sort of stuff when I ship tea. (Delivery confirmation is only 19 cents!)

I know my limits, and I don’t put myself in situations where I can’t meet my obligations. Perhaps some of your “bad apples” are first time swappers who got in over their head and didn’t realize what they were getting into. That doesn’t excuse them, but does give you another criteria for “weeding out” bad apples.

Shanti said

Really sorry to hear your swap experiences have been bad, Doulton :( I feel horrible because I am one of those evil swappers…but I honestly do mean to send a package back to my swap partner, I just haven’t had a chance because I (was) living in the middle of nowhere, had no car, etc. Sucky all around. So, I understand why someone would have a hard time getting out a package on time. (And once again, huge apology to my swap partner, who is awesome, unlike me.)

That said, people who don’t even update their swapper about why the package isn’t being sent out, or are just STEALING (because that’s what it is) from their partners by not reciprocating SUCK. Seriously….who does that?

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Dan said

I have never done a swap. I really don’t know if I ever will. I have only been here since January and everyone has been very nice to me. So for me, I have to trust people until proven otherwise. So even if a person has proven to be untrustworthy I would never give their name out. I just won’t communicate with them any more.

Meghann M said

I have a similar take on it as you. I just figure it as a loss, and will not bother with that person again. I’ve only had one bad swap out of the several I’ve done on here. I will still continue to swap, although not for awhile, as I am sinning with the vast amount of tea I have. Hopefully when funds pick up, or TTB begins, I will have plenty of tea to donate/pass along to better homes!

PeteG said

Normally, I would not butt in on conversation but I feel like this is so important. Doulton had a great idea earlier and I really feel that those that take advantage of the honest swapper should be ‘outed’. Again, normally I would not be upset but with the loss of the TTB we all have to be a little more conscious of those that may take advantage of the good spirit here on Steepster. Jason should be notified via pvte messenging and then something may be corrected so that those that wish to continue in the offering up of wonderful teas to one another may do so in a positive and safe manner. Please don’t allow the bad apples to destroy your spirit…life is too short!

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i still got swaps from January and February that i sent off and never got anything back lol maybe it’s best to just not expect anything back, I just hope that everyone got what i sent to them :)

Right there with you. I got all but one persons, who I shipped out in February….
I am a little upset, but oh well I learned a lesson.

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Missy said

Doulton, I am really glad you started this thread. You have confirmed a few things for me. Now I know how a good swap should go. I always figured the swaps can’t all be perfect but it’s good to know that I wasn’t being ridiculous for not expecting any thing in return when I do try it. Now I am better prepared when I am ready to try swapping.

In my head common sense and consideration should be the standard. People meet on steepster and decide they may want to swap. The type of tea and amount should be decided. The next step is to plan the time the tea will be sent. I would send delivery conformation for my own sanity. I expect to hear from my swapper when they received my tea. I hope I also sent a tea they enjoyed. A review in a reasonable amount of time is nice, but really just a bonus.

I don’t think you are being too fussy. However, I do think you are taking it pretty hard. If you have people you enjoy swapping with, why not continue with them at least.
I find there are many inconsiderate, rude people in the world. There are only a few aspects of my life where I am not touched by them.

Perhaps some of the bad swappers you have encountered are having a hard time of it. Not to say your feelings aren’t valid. I think it would be hard to pay attention to a swap if you were dealing with a major life changing event.

I hope your future swaps, should you continue, are excellent.

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