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Getting Discouraged Here


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I got my 11yr old son interested in this hobby so that we could spend some outdoor time together and after only scoring 17 finds so far, we're already getting burned out on this. It is not because it is not fun, it is because every find we've made so far has had pure JUNK in them for trade items.

 

Granted we were not expecting $100 dollar bills or Snap-on tool sets, but give me a break, a broken Mickey D toy, a partial strand of beads, a marble, a nickel gumball machine spider ring and on and on.

 

We spent several bucks on buying mini flashlights, pocket tools, nice key chains, games and many other small items that we were expecting to leave for like trade items. We have yet to find any trade item anywhere close to an item we would trade for and most I just sign the log and go on.

 

If folks can afford the GPS units to use for this, the gas and time to drive around looking for these why can't they spend a little bit to make this a worthwhile venture of going home with some neat stuff and leaving something that someone else would be happy to have?

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It isn't quite so bad where I live, but cache contents do degrade. I began by carrying a lot of the same kinds of things that you carry.

Then I decided that I want to be part of the solution.

 

I usually carry swag in a variety or price ranges--but most importantly I carry a lot of geocaching buttons (made by Bumblebuttons), small inexpensive flashlights and other camping "thingies" such as biners, compasses, small clips, etc. I also have a major supply of teeny tiny compasses (from 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch) that really work, and a supply of "I Am Loved" buttons in a variety of languages. These things are relatively inexpensive--well within my budget.

 

I can always leave at least one or two of those things, even if I don't want anything from the cache. In fact, I seldom take anything from the cache, but I almost always leave something, whether I mention it in the logs or not. I have been known to take several junky, torn, rotten, moldy, broken things out and leave several nice, new, cool, neat things in trade (I file the other things in the first "round file" I see).

 

If I do find good swag, I will of course trade one of the more expensive items I carry. The point is ... I always leave the cache better than I find it, so the next guy can find something cool. I'm not wealthy (though I am not as poor as I once was, thankfully!) and it isn't my obligation to stock up other people's caches. No one knows I do it (well, I guess they might now, if they read it here) and I don't do it to gain brownie points with anyone. Anyway--Once I got that new attitude, I started finding more caches with cool contents and fewer caches with lame-o contents. Maybe it was just my attitude, maybe it was karma, maybe a new trend is starting in my areas, I don't know--I just know that worked for me.

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I don't remember ever taking a trade item and only twice have I left a trade item. I could care less about what's in the cache besides the logbook or TBs. Some people cache solely for the journey and the thrill of the hunt. I would bet that the majority of cachers fall into this category.

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If I am caching with my kids (2 & 4) They always want to trade items... IT doesn't usually matter, as long as they get to take something.

 

If I am caching alone, I usually drop whatever small trade items I have on hand, and TNSL. Unless it is an ammo box, In which I grab a big thing or two from my bag to drop, or trade.. I once found a medium sized cache completely empty and restocked it to the brim on a whim..

In short it is the log that makes me happy.

 

For me the urge to trade faded, and it is the thrill of the find that lingers.

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With my kids, I tell them they can choose something from the cache, or something from my swag bag. Either way they get a small token toy, and it costs me the same either way. So stock up on things your son likes, and let him take those if necessary.

 

I don't care about trade items either, but obviously kids too. Might as well keep it fun for them. :laughing:

Edited by Sevilon
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With my kids, I tell them they can choose something from the cache, or something from my swag bag. Either way they get a small token toy, and it costs me the same either way. So stock up on things your son likes, and let him take those if necessary.

 

I don't care about trade items either, but obviously kids too. Might as well keep it fun for them. :laughing:

 

That is pure genius. You're absolutely right! For me, it will be about keeping the kids interested. I let them help stock my first swag-bag from the dollar store, so I know it's full of things they'd like. If the pickens are slim, I'll just open my bag and let them have their "reward".

 

As others have stated, I'll probably become somewhat of a benefactor for light or depleted caches.

 

Thanks, again!

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I'm relatively new as well, and on my team, nobody is under 15, so a good bit of the items seem to be more for much younger children. I'm also seeing a lot of broken items. And I agree with the OP.. there are a lot of boxes filled with crap... things that you figure the owners would have thrown away just as soon as they would have stuffed them in the cache.

 

I understand that newer caches = newer items, but this is also depressing if you're thinking of placing a cache and seeing it degenerate into a trash bin for broken plastic things.

Edited by arpegio
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I don't know what the reason is that people leave junk in caches, but I can tell you it is not a new phenomenon. When I first started caching I noticed there were people who left broken candles, half used crayons, jokes from bubble gum wrappers, and variouis other assorted things. Back then (boy, that sure sounds like a long time ago) most caches, at least in my area, listed what the contents were when it was hidden, and it didn't take long to see how much the cache had deteriorated from what it originally was. If you weren't one of the first four or five finders, what you found was junk for the most part....there were some exceptions, of course.....there always are.

 

Anyway, I think the folks here who have posted are on the right track...keep improving the quality of the contents of the caches you visit, and maybe eventually those folks who use caches as places to clean out their junk boxes and car ash trays will get the idea not to do it. I forget who came up with the saying, but it is a good one: Trade up or trade even.

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I let my kids have their own GC accounts in the last year. That way, they are also excited about just finding the cache, and not just about trading things. They used to always want to trade. Now that they have their own accounts, they're glad that they can make a "found it" log, and not quite so interested in the trade items.

Edited by Boot Group
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In their heads they think it's good swag, otherwise they would TNLN. We have people leaving the little plastic scoops that come in kool-aid containers. Oh well. What can you do besides take the junk and leave extra of your good stuff. I think kids would have fun making that their mission.

Edited by Kacky
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If folks can afford the GPS units to use for this, the gas and time to drive around looking for these why can't they spend a little bit to make this a worthwhile venture of going home with some neat stuff and leaving something that someone else would be happy to have?

Assuming a cache started out with 'good' stuff, after its been out for a while its contents have probably degraded a bit. Why??? As far as I can tell the number of people that trade down outnumber those that trade even, trade up, or don't trade at all.

:grin: Unfortuntly this has been an ongoing problem, if there was an easy answer it would have been fixed by now.

I tend to think that people that stick to caching do it for some other reason then the trinkets (maybe they like road trips, nice views, figuring out puzzles?, find the whole search/journey an adventure). If you planning on taking younger childern with you, it might be good to bridge them... or promise some reward after finding the cache (not from the cache, a store on the way home or something).

You might also consider leaving some of those cool trinkets you bought and take the knowledge that the cache was Better after you found it, then before. The next visitor might take it and leave a rusty bottle cap, but at least you did best thing you could.

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I got my 11yr old son interested in this hobby so that we could spend some outdoor time together and after only scoring 17 finds so far, we're already getting burned out on this. It is not because it is not fun, it is because every find we've made so far has had pure JUNK in them for trade items.

 

Its unfortunate that this happens, but it does. I just did a maint run on a popular cache of mine and it was filled with garbage. The only decent things I was able to salvage from it were a marble and a polished stone. The rest went in the trash can. I re-filled it with some nice, new swag, but I know that in a few months I'm going to have to go back and do it all over again (this is the 4th time I had to refill it and clean out the trash).

 

The key is to forget about the contents and enjoy the hunt and the places it takes you. If you find a cache with decent swag consider it a bonus.

 

If you really are into finding nice contents, concentate on new caches and more remote ones. Not a guarantee, but the chances are significantly better of finding decent stuff.

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I don't have an answer, but you can always help to improve the caches with junk in them. We almost always trade (I'm 24, but a kid at heart!) even when there is junk. We only leave new items, or like new items from other caches. If a cache is filled with geo-litter, destroyed items, or broken things, we try to clean out the garbage and replace the trades with new items.

 

It won't cure the problem, but you can certainly leave items to help make hte cache a little better for future finders.

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if you are going after caches only for the swag contained within, this may not be the hobby for you.

 

I've never been a trader, I've only made a single trade that was not a sig or TB swap. It's the locations that are rewarding for me. Go out, just enjoy the hunt and don't expect good stuff. Every once in a while I'll open a larger cache and be surprised with nice stuff in it. But if you go out just hoping to find cool stuff, well....no offense, but you are kinda missing the point of the hobby altogether.

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Well, I think much of the poor trading comes from folks who had no intention of trading in the first place. They see something in the cache that catches their eye and decide to take it. Suddenly they have a slight guilt twinge and decide to toss something in the box, problem is that they don't have anything considered decent or they left it back in the car so they toss in something that was hiding in their pocket or rolling around inside their pack. In their eyes they traded and they are good to go.

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I don't generally trade, but leave my calling card, my sig item, and now, i've started to leave goodies. I'm a stationary addict and whenever i go to other countries i tend to buy loads of small stationaries that you can't get locally, and now i put them in caches, afterall, you can never have enough pens and note pads!

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I'd just like to thank those who have the same opinion in this matter that I have had. As for the sport of trade, I too could care less about this. It is the getting out, moving around from a sedentary life and seeing things that you might normally have never seen or discovered is what it means to me.

 

It is my 11yr old that I am feeling sorry for. He was so excited to get our GPS's, to go shopping for cool trade items and looking so forward to opening a treasure box and finding good stuff inside to meet his expectations. He is the one that has come to the conclusion that it is not fair for him to leave his good stuff for garbage.

 

I do and I try to show him that it is always better to give than to receive but in his eye, I can see where he is coming from too.

 

Thanks for the responses.

 

Rick

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It is my 11yr old that I am feeling sorry for. He was so excited to get our GPS's, to go shopping for cool trade items and looking so forward to opening a treasure box and finding good stuff inside to meet his expectations. He is the one that has come to the conclusion that it is not fair for him to leave his good stuff for garbage.

 

I feel like generally we parents are the ones creating that expectation. If he goes out with the right attitude, he won't be disappointed, and he'll find joy in improving the stashes. If he likes widgets, maybe he could buy cool swag and save one of everything for himself.

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It is my 11yr old that I am feeling sorry for. He was so excited to get our GPS's, to go shopping for cool trade items and looking so forward to opening a treasure box and finding good stuff inside to meet his expectations. He is the one that has come to the conclusion that it is not fair for him to leave his good stuff for garbage.

 

Well you have all that great swag, perhaps consider starting your own cache using it.

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I got my 11yr old son interested in this hobby so that we could spend some outdoor time together and after only scoring 17 finds so far, we're already getting burned out on this. It is not because it is not fun, it is because every find we've made so far has had pure JUNK in them for trade items.
You might want to try this cache. But you better have reasonable trades. :unsure:
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The question that is begged to ask is.... from the logs can you tell who the deadbeat cachers are? I've asked this before because I've looked at logs and it seemed clear that some people snatched stuff left and didn't make note, or did improper trades. If there is no repurcussion or public humiliation of those who engage in unfair trades, then what's the motivation behind following the rules? Nobody wants to be called out on this stuff, but there is undoubtedly evidence that shows who plays nice and who doesn't. Is this the dirty little secret of this hobby that nobody wants to call attention to?

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The question that is begged to ask is.... from the logs can you tell who the deadbeat cachers are? I've asked this before because I've looked at logs and it seemed clear that some people snatched stuff left and didn't make note, or did improper trades. If there is no repurcussion or public humiliation of those who engage in unfair trades, then what's the motivation behind following the rules? Nobody wants to be called out on this stuff, but there is undoubtedly evidence that shows who plays nice and who doesn't. Is this the dirty little secret of this hobby that nobody wants to call attention to?

 

If we take it that seriously, people are going to shy away for fear of being ridiculed. And the ones who are ridiculed will be publicly humiliated and quit. Is that what we want?

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I will leave the better swag in the better caches .... those where the owners are taking me to an interesting place. I have been known to remove all the broken swag and geo-trash. Koikeeper and I spent at least $25 stocking our first multi ammo can final with swag ..... and we intend to make frequent visits to keep it well stocked. We REALLY enjoy geocaching and want to keep it enjoyable for those who do our caches!

 

We laugh at the NEW caches we visit where the owners cleaned out a junk drawer at home to stock it.... but at least they tried. Sometimes you just have to show your generosity and help others out.

 

Trade up! .... or not at all. Usually we TNLNSL. It's the hunt .... not the swag that interests us the most.

 

:D ImpalaBob

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The question that is begged to ask is.... from the logs can you tell who the deadbeat cachers are? I've asked this before because I've looked at logs and it seemed clear that some people snatched stuff left and didn't make note, or did improper trades. If there is no repurcussion or public humiliation of those who engage in unfair trades, then what's the motivation behind following the rules? Nobody wants to be called out on this stuff, but there is undoubtedly evidence that shows who plays nice and who doesn't. Is this the dirty little secret of this hobby that nobody wants to call attention to?

I think the motivation is supposed to be doing the right thing. Most of geocaching is on the honor system, people should not report fake caches, not report fake finds, not take someone elses cache, not steal swag, etc. But considering the number of geocoins that go missing maybe a bunch of us are slezebags who usually only do the right thing because we might get caught?

I also think you might need to do seperate out the groups for any punishments. One group is those that want to steal things and just take it and don't log about it (what happen to that jeep tb??). The other group is those that log their actions, either somehow don't realize they're supposed to trade fairly (took new Something, left cool piece of gravel I found on trail) or they've diluted themselves into thinking that even thought it clearly wasn't fair trinket trade it was ok for them do in this case.

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The question that is begged to ask is.... from the logs can you tell who the deadbeat cachers are? I've asked this before because I've looked at logs and it seemed clear that some people snatched stuff left and didn't make note, or did improper trades. If there is no repurcussion or public humiliation of those who engage in unfair trades, then what's the motivation behind following the rules? Nobody wants to be called out on this stuff, but there is undoubtedly evidence that shows who plays nice and who doesn't. Is this the dirty little secret of this hobby that nobody wants to call attention to?

 

I don't think calling out the unfair traders would be productive. It could only create animosity in the local community. We just have to accept that in life there are givers and takers and both kinds of people geocache.

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Sometimes I'll drop a note to the owner and to let them know that their cache needs some restocking. Sometimes I'll restock it for them.

 

Even if it's a lousy cache, what was good about it? Read some of the log entries. Leave the cache a little fuller, a little cleaner. Leave with a memory.

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The question that is begged to ask is.... from the logs can you tell who the deadbeat cachers are? I've asked this before because I've looked at logs and it seemed clear that some people snatched stuff left and didn't make note, or did improper trades. If there is no repurcussion or public humiliation of those who engage in unfair trades, then what's the motivation behind following the rules? Nobody wants to be called out on this stuff, but there is undoubtedly evidence that shows who plays nice and who doesn't. Is this the dirty little secret of this hobby that nobody wants to call attention to?

 

I don't think calling out the unfair traders would be productive. It could only create animosity in the local community. We just have to accept that in life there are givers and takers and both kinds of people geocache.

 

I just wet myself, Briansnat.

 

Take pride in what you are placing in the cache. Your positive actions will weigh far heavier than the lesser acts of others. This game is played by all levels of income... some have great stuff, soe are wandering with drek. Just the way it goes. Consider the treats and good stuff to be a bonus for the day.

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Oh, yeah ... That's a keeper, Briansnat!

 

Don't be shy about upgrading a cache's condition, especially the extra-sad ones that perhaps got muggled. I regularly visit a local auction house and routinely walk away with boxes of quality goodies for a dollar. "Free" promotional items are handy as well, every year I raid the give-away tables at the county fairs for advertising items... sewing kits, little first aid kits, pens, pencils, notebooks, etc... I've got too much carp at this point.

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One thing that's crossing my mind is that I'm getting ready to place a few caches and for weeks I've been collecting loads of really interesting trinkets to put in them. I've been afraid that the first few people who find the cache may completely raid all the unique items (i.e. I put 10 items in, and after 2-3 finds, almost none of the original items are there, replaced with more boring things), so I've been wondering if I should populate the cache with more modest trinkets? Or add more interesting things as we go along? I think if my first cache got severely raided disproportionate to how many people logged finding it, that would really discourage me. Thoughts? Yea, yea, I know it's about about giving, but having people take or execute grossly unbalanced trades can be demoralizing no matter what.

Edited by arpegio
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One thing that's crossing my mind is that I'm getting ready to place a few caches and for weeks I've been collecting loads of really interesting trinkets to put in them. I've been afraid that the first few people who find the cache may completely raid all the unique items (i.e. I put 10 items in, and after 2-3 finds, almost none of the original items are there, replaced with more boring things), so I've been wondering if I should populate the cache with more modest trinkets? Or add more interesting things as we go along? I think if my first cache got severely raided disproportionate to how many people logged finding it, that would really discourage me. Thoughts? Yea, yea, I know it's about about giving, but having people take or execute grossly unbalanced trades can be demoralizing no matter what.

In situations I can't control, I always assume the worst.

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If I ever win the lottery, I'm going to set up a multicache where the first leg you find a key, and second leg you find a big padlocked storage unit full of new furniture, and electronics. :blink:

....... at the end of a long downhill hike. Sort of cache and carry. :blink:

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I plan on leaving decent things even if the cache doesn't have cool stuff. Granted, I just started 'caching, but the reason I got interested in this is the treasure hunt, not necessarily the treasure.

 

First cache we went to was last night, and all it had was a bag clip, some kind of religious tract with a camo cover, a pair of scissors, some batteries, and a used thing of cherry lip gloss. Yes, it was used. I left a inexpensive but nice light flasher like joggers or bicyclists would wear.

 

If I find cool stuff, great, otherwise it's about the thrill of the hunt :blink:

 

- LC

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Just got back from an ammo can cache in a popular vacation spot. The 50 cal ammo can (placed within the last month!) was practially empty! There was a log book, a few sea shells, and some broken toys. Granted, people are on vacation and may not have their normal caching trades with them, but still!

 

So, I signed the log, added a tb and our signature item, and then filled the cache with all new trades. I added necklaces, stencils, notepads, and some other toys. None of my trades were expensive, but they were at least new, and it was definately an improvement over what was in there!

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Does your 11 year old tell his peers of the cool adventures he and dad have treking the woods with this satellite gizmo, or his disapointment of finding a cheap happy meal toy?

It is hard to believe that you don't get enough satisfaction out of just navigating to the cache, findind it, and the time together shared on the activity.

The first thing I remember learning about geocaching is that the stuff that is swapped is typically worthless do-dads.

I did get excited when I found a travel bug in a cache and I knew that within a week I would be 600 mile away from where I found it, so I swapped for it, and helped it on it's way.

I rarely find anything in a cache that I want to take, frequently leave something that someone else may or may not find interesting. and always get a kick out of finding the cache.

of course...

your mileage may vary

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If I ever win the lottery, I'm going to set up a multicache where the first leg you find a key, and second leg you find a big padlocked storage unit full of new furniture, and electronics. :laughing:

 

Yah but put it somplace so remote the only way to get there is to walk and (unless you have a big copter). The only way to get the stuff out it to pack it out and the things are to big to do that.

 

That would be funny.

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My GPS is in the air as we speak on the way here. It's due to arrive by 10:30 this AM. I was planning to go cacheing this afternoon. OK what would be good? I was thinking of getting plastic dinos and plastic cows. Depending on the size of the cache I'd leave ones that would fit. Hmm maybe I'll have to look for different stuff. What would YOU think if you found some plasic dinos or cattle (The dinos because I can get them today ... the cattle are special order items) and may take longer to get here.

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My GPS is in the air as we speak on the way here. It's due to arrive by 10:30 this AM. I was planning to go cacheing this afternoon. OK what would be good? I was thinking of getting plastic dinos and plastic cows. Depending on the size of the cache I'd leave ones that would fit. Hmm maybe I'll have to look for different stuff. What would YOU think if you found some plasic dinos or cattle (The dinos because I can get them today ... the cattle are special order items) and may take longer to get here.

I don't think I've ever been to a cache that didn't have a plastic dinosaur in it :P

 

(plastic frogs, on the other hand... I have an incredible weakness for those, and will always pick them up. I have no idea why.)

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My GPS is in the air as we speak on the way here. It's due to arrive by 10:30 this AM. I was planning to go cacheing this afternoon. OK what would be good? I was thinking of getting plastic dinos and plastic cows. Depending on the size of the cache I'd leave ones that would fit. Hmm maybe I'll have to look for different stuff. What would YOU think if you found some plasic dinos or cattle (The dinos because I can get them today ... the cattle are special order items) and may take longer to get here.

 

Little dinos (and frogs) are really popular around here, and that's the type of stuff I like to find. A little momento of the cache hunt to go on my shelves. You might want to bring little baggies with you so if the cache looks like it could get wet or dirty your critters will stay clean and dry.

 

I think that may be part of the problem with junk in caches - it starts out good but gets wet or dirty in the cache or broken from being pulled out or jostled around too much. Not that it was good quality if it broke easily, but the cacher placing it didn't put it in broken, but with the best of intentions. At least the broken ones I've found seem to have all their parts in the cache, as if they were together when they went in.

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