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KandDGregory

Whats the deal with degeneraing swag?

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We have only found four since getting the GPS last weekend. In all four cases, in spite of the owner having mentioned good swag, it's alway full of old Happy Meal toys and just worthless junk. It's not like I'm in this for real treasure but its kinda anti-climatic when I've brought along some really decent swag for trade and the whole thing is full of the junk you clean out of the bottom of your kids toybox once a year or so. I think it's wonderful for parents to bring their kids along on geocache hunts but why let them put that stuff in there?

I was thinking about places to hide a cache. Is it proper to put a note to please do not put worthless junk into it?

Kathy

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I've been caching since 2006, and in my experience it's always been that kind of SWAG, and I don't necessarily have a problem with that. We think it's fun, for us it's not about the SWAG, we're into the finds and the places they take us to. I also like to collect sig items, and do coin challenges. Bug then SWAG, meh it's never been that important to us anyway.

 

-Rozie

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As long as there is a dry logbook or sheet, I'm happy. I almost never trade anything.

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It's not like I'm in this for real treasure but its kinda anti-climatic when I've brought along some really decent swag for trade and the whole thing is full of the junk you clean out of the bottom of your kids toybox once a year or so.

 

Define what you think of as "really decent swag" please....

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I've been caching since 2006, and in my experience it's always been that kind of SWAG, and I don't necessarily have a problem with that. We think it's fun, for us it's not about the SWAG, we're into the finds and the places they take us to. I also like to collect sig items, and do coin challenges. Bug then SWAG, meh it's never been that important to us anyway.

 

-Rozie

 

I know, truthfully, like I said, I'm not humpin' my butt through the woods to find treasure. It just seems like there shouldn't even be such a thing as trading swag if that's what it all ends up as. I think if I do one, it will just have a logbook and a nice prize for first, second and third to find.

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It's not like I'm in this for real treasure but its kinda anti-climatic when I've brought along some really decent swag for trade and the whole thing is full of the junk you clean out of the bottom of your kids toybox once a year or so.

 

Define what you think of as "really decent swag" please....

Well, I have a brand new combo lock, packs of batteries, a Mozart CD, a lens cleaning kit and a couple of compasses that you can put on your zipper.

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It's been my experience that swag degeneration is limited to those caches which require little effort to reach.

The caches I've hidden which require several hours to get to all have a slowly increased overall swag value.

Best solution? Avoid P&Gs if you don't want to paw thru broken McCrap. :laughing:

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Most urban / suburban caches go through cache swag degeneration rather quickly. Any cache, easily accessible to all geocachers experiences the "The Tragedy of the Commons."

 

My experience as a hider and finder is that caches requiring more effort (usually terrain 3.5 to 5) rarely ever degenerate into storage units for broken toys/trash. 98% of the time they retain high quality trade items, and in many caches, the swag actually improves.

 

Perhaps cachers who put more effort into seeking remote caches, have more integrity, or geocache with fewer "sticky fingered" kids.

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It's been my experience that swag degeneration is limited to those caches which require little effort to reach.

The caches I've hidden which require several hours to get to all have a slowly increased overall swag value.

Best solution? Avoid P&Gs if you don't want to paw thru broken McCrap. :laughing:

 

I'm sorry. Forgive me for being a newbie. What are P&G's???

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It's been my experience that swag degeneration is limited to those caches which require little effort to reach.

The caches I've hidden which require several hours to get to all have a slowly increased overall swag value.

Best solution? Avoid P&Gs if you don't want to paw thru broken McCrap. :laughing:

 

Yes this is soooo true. The best SWAG we have ever seen was in caches that we had to either hike a few miles to, or in puzzle caches that required a lot of effort to solve, etc. Plus, I mentioned coin challenges earlier. I'm really into those. A geocoin is a fabulous prize for a challenging cache. A lot of thought, effort and money goes into those. I love 'em.

 

Riffster is right, usually the less creative the hide the less creative the SWAG.

 

-Rozie

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We have only found four since getting the GPS last weekend. In all four cases, in spite of the owner having mentioned good swag, it's alway full of old Happy Meal toys and just worthless junk. It's not like I'm in this for real treasure but its kinda anti-climatic when I've brought along some really decent swag for trade and the whole thing is full of the junk you clean out of the bottom of your kids toybox once a year or so. I think it's wonderful for parents to bring their kids along on geocache hunts but why let them put that stuff in there?

I was thinking about places to hide a cache. Is it proper to put a note to please do not put worthless junk into it?

Kathy

I honestly think it's a sign of the times, combined with a fact of the game that has been going on for a while. I actually saw a discussion on another geocaching forum talking about how the economy is changing how they stock caches, or what swag people carry to trade. There have been some really well-stocked caches that I would find, but as I found more and more caches, it seemed like the quality diminished. I think it's more about the different style of the hiders and what they are willing to place for swag. It became easy to focus on the caches that didn't have good swag, and not on those gems I would find every once in a while.

 

In many of my first cache hides I would go shopping for good swag, and a couple things of more value. I'd also carry a swag bag with new and nice things to trade. I became more and more discouraged to do so when I watched the swag quality fall off in those caches. Some folks just take things, some don't trade up or even. I think having decent swag also has a lot to do with the increase in micros. No swag to buy, just drop a logbook in a tiny container and that's it. It's cheaper, and less to maintain for some.

 

I don't even make trades anymore, and often just put a TNLN on the log and get the smiley. However, I look forward to the non-urban caches that take a bit to find, as they usually have longer-lasting and higher-quality swag as a payoff for all of the effort. That's what I save my good swag for now...

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I'm sorry. Forgive me for being a newbie. What are P&G's???

 

Park and Grabs

 

-Rozie

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P&G is a "Park and Grab". Pull up, jump out, find it, sign it and replace. On your way you go!

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I'm sorry. Forgive me for being a newbie. What are P&G's???

It's all good! Everyone here has been a noob at one time. P&G is a term you'll see in here quite a bit. It stands for Park & Grab.

Different folks have different ideas on what constitutes a P&G. I figure anything less than half a mile from ground zero is a P&G.

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If you want to find a cache with better quality swag, you have some choices.

 

Look for a more difficult cache. Two weeks ago I was so exhausted after climbing up a long hill that I emptied my swag bag to lighten the load on my way back down!

 

Look for a recently hid cache. Since most new caches have good quality swag, hit those before they deteriorate.

 

And one more suggestion ... always TRADE UP! Leave better quality swag than you take, and leave more items than you exchanged for. It won't help you, but it will help the next cacher.

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We have only found four since getting the GPS last weekend. In all four cases, in spite of the owner having mentioned good swag, it's alway full of old Happy Meal toys and just worthless junk. It's not like I'm in this for real treasure but its kinda anti-climatic when I've brought along some really decent swag for trade and the whole thing is full of the junk you clean out of the bottom of your kids toybox once a year or so. I think it's wonderful for parents to bring their kids along on geocache hunts but why let them put that stuff in there?

I was thinking about places to hide a cache. Is it proper to put a note to please do not put worthless junk into it?

Kathy

You can post a note if you like, but good luck on people complying. There is an old saying; "One man's junk is another man's treasure." - unknown. I guess you could turn that around to, "One man's treasure is another man's junk."

My first three hides, I tried to place, what I thought, were useful items. For instance screwdriver sets that people could leave in their car in case of an emergency or even use around the home. Both of these were swapped out for an NBA team nerf ball. I rarely swap swag any more. I sign the log and move on. But occasionally I'll leave a lottery ticket for the person who finds that cache after me. It doesn't cost me a lot, but it could be worth a lot.

It might be wise to keep some decent swag with you. Who knows when you might come across a great find in a cache. Like the Spitfire flashlight I got for being the FTF.

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We have only found four since getting the GPS last weekend. In all four cases, in spite of the owner having mentioned good swag, it's alway full of old Happy Meal toys and just worthless junk. It's not like I'm in this for real treasure but its kinda anti-climatic when I've brought along some really decent swag for trade and the whole thing is full of the junk you clean out of the bottom of your kids toybox once a year or so. I think it's wonderful for parents to bring their kids along on geocache hunts but why let them put that stuff in there?

I was thinking about places to hide a cache. Is it proper to put a note to please do not put worthless junk into it?

Kathy

Kathy, I do believe that you've just stumbled upon one of the worst kept secrets in geocaching and that is that, unfortunately, it's often more of a hi-tech scavenger hunt than a hi-tech treasure hunt. The fact is that most people lack either the resources, the motivation, or the imagination to trade up or even and the quality of cache contents inevitably declines as a consequence. I've also found that many people seem to have this mindset that cache items are really just for kids, hence the preponderance of McToys and plastic junk, etc. As others have said, the better quality caches (as far as the contents are concerned) tend to be those that are more challenging to find, and that includes puzzle caches as well. I rarely bother to trade items anymore but I do on occasion leave unactivated geocoins in caches that I've enjoyed finding (or been FTF!). :unsure:

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Or, you could save up all those McToys until you are lucky enough to visit this cache in Nebraska. The location makes it all worthwhile!

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You can post a note if you like, but good luck on people complying. There is an old saying; "One man's junk is another man's treasure." - unknown. I guess you could turn that around to, "One man's treasure is another man's junk."

My first three hides, I tried to place, what I thought, were useful items. For instance screwdriver sets that people could leave in their car in case of an emergency or even use around the home. Both of these were swapped out for an NBA team nerf ball. I rarely swap swag any more. I sign the log and move on. But occasionally I'll leave a lottery ticket for the person who finds that cache after me. It doesn't cost me a lot, but it could be worth a lot.

It might be wise to keep some decent swag with you. Who knows when you might come across a great find in a cache. Like the Spitfire flashlight I got for being the FTF.

 

Lottery tickets are a good idea! The next cacher might possibly get a very nice thing for little cost to myself.

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for the adults point of view "meh mcdonald's toys, oh well"

from the child's pint of view "MCDONALD'S TOYS! YEEEAAA!!"

 

I could really care less about the swag, but for the children the mcdonald's toys will make their day....just be sure to wash the toys before use sometimes

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It's not like I'm in this for real treasure but its kinda anti-climatic when I've brought along some really decent swag for trade and the whole thing is full of the junk you clean out of the bottom of your kids toybox once a year or so.

 

Define what you think of as "really decent swag" please....

Well, I have a brand new combo lock, packs of batteries, a Mozart CD, a lens cleaning kit and a couple of compasses that you can put on your zipper.

 

OK well that makes sense! That's good swag indeed. :unsure:

 

I gotta tell you - and don't think this is a slam - I am kinda struck that you've found 4 caches and you're ragging on the swag.

 

I have only hidden 7 caches but what I've done is this. For the FTF I leave something like what you think of as "nice" - usually a pack of batteries. They always seem to be very appreciated. And I do have a multiple cache that I stock with "sort of nice" - a pack of Superman playing cards - nice Sharpies - and there is some "kids" stuff in there, too. But the other ones I don't put "nice" stuff in after the FTF because, as so many have said here already, trade up doesn't happen so much with urban and all of mine are urban.

 

I can tell you that if there is room for swag I do almost always trade but I generally go for the stupid stuff. I found a cache recently that had cool stuff in it but I didn't take any of it. I just took the little yellow smiley face bouncy ball. I take stuff like that because it's just fun. I put it all in a zip-lock bag and it's fun to remember the caches. "Oh yeah - the rubber reindeer head! That was a funny cache." "Remember that green spider cache? Thought I'd never find that one."

 

But I can say you juuuuuust never know. Recently I was out with Harusee and we came across a cache with a Barnes & Noble gift card in it. I figured - eh - it's trash. Harusee took it. It turned out to have $90 on it. After that I hated him. :D

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Personaly, I let my kids traid, but I almost never do. When my kids are traiding it is alway a fight. "No you can't take that because I don't have anything good enough to traid" "No you can't take that because it is just junk, and you have two at home"

 

I am acctualy carrying a high quality pedomitor with me that my wife bought a few years ago and never used (probably worth about $20). Looking for something good to traid it for. Not sure if that will ever happen.

 

Recently I found a Lego cache that was supposed to have cool lego dudes. So me and the kids brought a cool guy, but when we got there, there was only 3, all of which were trashed (no hands, paint rubbed off, and plain old broken). I guess we should have just left our guy, but he is worth probably $2, so we just signed the log.

 

Last story I promis. I found a multi puzzle cache. It had 4 DVDs, and lots of other stuff worth more than $2. Best swag I have ever seen. Some P&G I have seen with garbage; stuff that should have acctualy been in a garbage can.

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It's not like I'm in this for real treasure but its kinda anti-climatic when I've brought along some really decent swag for trade and the whole thing is full of the junk you clean out of the bottom of your kids toybox once a year or so.

 

Define what you think of as "really decent swag" please....

Well, I have a brand new combo lock, packs of batteries, a Mozart CD, a lens cleaning kit and a couple of compasses that you can put on your zipper.

 

OK well that makes sense! That's good swag indeed. :unsure:

 

I gotta tell you - and don't think this is a slam - I am kinda struck that you've found 4 caches and you're ragging on the swag.

 

I have only hidden 7 caches but what I've done is this. For the FTF I leave something like what you think of as "nice" - usually a pack of batteries. They always seem to be very appreciated. And I do have a multiple cache that I stock with "sort of nice" - a pack of Superman playing cards - nice Sharpies - and there is some "kids" stuff in there, too. But the other ones I don't put "nice" stuff in after the FTF because, as so many have said here already, trade up doesn't happen so much with urban and all of mine are urban.

 

I can tell you that if there is room for swag I do almost always trade but I generally go for the stupid stuff. I found a cache recently that had cool stuff in it but I didn't take any of it. I just took the little yellow smiley face bouncy ball. I take stuff like that because it's just fun. I put it all in a zip-lock bag and it's fun to remember the caches. "Oh yeah - the rubber reindeer head! That was a funny cache." "Remember that green spider cache? Thought I'd never find that one."

 

But I can say you juuuuuust never know. Recently I was out with Harusee and we came across a cache with a Barnes & Noble gift card in it. I figured - eh - it's trash. Harusee took it. It turned out to have $90 on it. After that I hated him. :D

 

I know...it's sounds petty. And really, I'm not out doing this because I think I'm going to find something awesome. I'm out getting some exercise, getting my dog some exercise and enjoying the challenge.

I'm just saying, I went crazy searching through my house for good stuff to trade but after seeing the caches, I realize that it is human nature to take and not to reciprocate in kind. Just sad, that's all. I will continue to carry the swag with me and leave something based on how great I thought the hide was. If I get lucky and get a winning lottery ticket, well, that will be frosting. Thanks for letting me vent! Happy caching!

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I've only found two and I've been disappointed! :unsure:

There's a really easy one to find in my hometown - which means a lot to me since it's across the street from a business my parents used to own, plus it's a very historical site.

I'd be HAPPY if there were mctoys in it - I love silly toys! But it's GARBAGE!

A broken balloon. a pacifier. a plastic car that doesn't roll, etc -

What's the protocol on dumping junk? This cache is so fun to find that I think it's great for newbies - and I'd like to leave several fun things for new cachers - is it bad form to trash all the junk?

It's not MY cache - but I feel like it could get kids excited about the game.

Should I contact the owner and ask permission to get rid of the junk?

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I just wanted to say, this thread really got us thinking. In my first post, I mentioned that we never trade for SWAG anymore... and since we've thought about it, it's because the SWAG is often times cruddy, except in those caches that require a little more effort to get to.

 

Well, I realized that my attitude about it wasn't helping the situation any. So my hubby and I went out and got some really great SWAG. :unsure: We're excited to help the situation by trading up, or adding our SWAG to caches. Even if we don't want to get something in return, we can still add to the quality of the cache.

 

Especially since we're doing that Anti-Micro Challenge.

 

We got small items that will make others' caching experiences better, waterbottle holders, a small screwdriver set, bungee cords, etc.

 

Thanks to this thread for renewing our attitude and interest in SWAG. :yikes:

 

-Rozie

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When I go caching with my 4 year old "McToys" are apparently, "The Bomb", she love em. I am a rep. for a company that sells keychains at hardware stores, and I use the discontinued keychains as swag for my hides and trading. They are so nice and heavey, Some people think they are TB or Geocoins. I ger logs saying took New York Jets Geocoin, and I have to write them back to say, Its not a geocoin< its a keychain> LOL

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As a newbie who's only cached in the city so far, the SWAG hasn't been anything interesting so far.

 

I have ordered a whole bunch of swag. All decent enough stuff. i bought it wholesale so it's inexpensive.

 

Out of the eight i've found so far, the SWAG has consisted of things such as an expired fast-food coupon, a dirty rubber worm/fishing bait. nothing really made me say "hey, nifty".

 

I plan on throwing SWAG in the caches even if i don't take. just to help. I also plan on putting each one in with a note to remind to replace with equal value SWAG.

 

Most likely going to be fairly pointless, but i want to try.

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There is some pretty crappy stuff out there. The worst we found was a couple of caches in the same area that were filled with springs, nuts and bolts. Weird. I thought it was really odd on the first one, completely surreal on the 2nd. Why would someone leave such things?

 

Regardless of whether the items are cool for me to keep, I try to trade with every cache that has items. I have my bag of TIs, some of which are really great and some of which that are just ok. I try to trade up all the time, but if it is not possible I try to leave 2 items for every 1 I take. If I take something I don't want for myself, I put it in the trade bag for the next cache.

 

I really like the swag aspect of caching even though I haven't really found "treasure" so much. I think it's fun to see what other people leave. I especially love SI's and leave mine in addition to any other swag I might trade. Of course I also love finding trackables, but that's not swag.

 

Anyway, I really like the person on this thread that said they realized they weren't helping alleviate the problem and decided to try to contribute towards good cache swag. Great attitude, I wish more people could be like that!

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Simple fact is that the vast majority of cachers lose interest in trading after a few dozen finds. Brings home that one's treasure is another's garbage. As one example -- trading CDs? Got any idea what percentage of published CDs I'd bother taking home? Maybe 0.1%? You'd probably take about the same %, but it would be a different 0.1% from me.

 

The best way to avoid swag deterioration in your caches is to hide micros.

 

I've recently hidden a couple of caches which will only be found by either experienced cachers or experienced hikers -- usually both. I decided to stock them with items which might be of interest to those groups, and to label them as "finders' prizes, no need to trade". At least some have been taken.

 

Yes, I remove obvious trash from caches. I do not bother to contact the CO first. I seldom post that I've done it, but I'm pretty sure all the owners would have thanked me.

Most urban / suburban caches go through cache swag degeneration rather quickly. Any cache, easily accessible to all geocachers experiences the "The Tragedy of the Commons."
One of my all-time favorite essays. I first read it about 35 years ago and was blown away, and still consider it one of the important guides to life. Thanks for posting about it. The original is here.
My experience as a hider and finder is that caches requiring more effort (usually terrain 3.5 to 5) rarely ever degenerate into storage units for broken toys/trash. 98% of the time they retain high quality trade items, and in many caches, the swag actually improves.
Hmm, I'd have to disagree about the "many improve" based on my experience. I agree that most retain their quality, but that's because the swag never changes. The people who find high-terrain caches seldom trade. I've found 5-year-old caches which still had most of the original contents -- sometimes intact, sometimes degraded by water and heat.

 

Edward

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The one trouble with keeping caches stocked with good quality items is the expense. We hit a good dollar store near us, and picked up first aid kits, eyeglass repair kits, toys, stickers, mini radios, pens, reflectors...the list goes on. We also frequent a telescope and science shop where we pick up lots of polished pebbles, and lots of other neat stuff. Finally, we get trackable coins etc., from a dealer here.

We often TN L something or two or three, especially if it is a cache designed for families, and SL. It amazed me seeing a little boy thrilled to have a shiny pebble to take home. If we are on a roll, it is TNLNSL. For me it is the hunt that is my prize and all the lovely views.

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I'm still a newbie so not sure if my opinion counts for much! My son now has his own geocaching rucksack and to be honest it's mostly filled with swag that I've bought over the last few weeks.

For me and other half it's all about the walk and find but for my 10year old it's about the find and swag! However he is at the age where he's not too disappointed if it's full of rubbish, he just says I don't need anything but leaves something nice anyhow.

With my second hide Evil Ivy I told a story and ok, it's only been out there a few days but the FTF didn't even take the FTF badge as they did not have anything suitable to trade. I emailed them to say they were welcome to the badge without a trade and if they couldn't get back to the cache I would post it to them. Not sure how long my cache will remain rubbish free but we can but try. :anicute:

Edited by Redema

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The one trouble with keeping caches stocked with good quality items is the expense. We hit a good dollar store near us, and picked up first aid kits, eyeglass repair kits, toys, stickers, mini radios, pens, reflectors...the list goes on. We also frequent a telescope and science shop where we pick up lots of polished pebbles, and lots of other neat stuff. Finally, we get trackable coins etc., from a dealer here.

We often TN L something or two or three, especially if it is a cache designed for families, and SL. It amazed me seeing a little boy thrilled to have a shiny pebble to take home. If we are on a roll, it is TNLNSL. For me it is the hunt that is my prize and all the lovely views.

 

You, as cache owner, should not have to keep your cache stocked. You stocked it once, and that should be good enough. And it would be good enough if finders would be honest about trading up or even.

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Large caches = tat!

Micros = no tat!

End of discussion. :o

 

tat? :anicute::anicute::anibad: what's tat?

 

I have a cache that is a huge Rubbermaid storage tub. When I stocked it, it even had one of those 18" tall robots, a couple of jigsaw puzzles... stuff like that (drove past a garage sale on the way to hide the cache LOL!). A year later, it contained some quarters, a few dirty golf balls, a stick, and some plastic soldiers.

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The best way to avoid swag deterioration in your caches is to hide micros.

 

Yep, and if you don't want a toothache you can pull all your teeth out.

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Lets get to the crux of the issue: Whats the deal with degenerative swag cachers?

 

It is just how it is. Seek newer caches or look for cachers who maintain their caches more to your liking.

 

I usually trash crap in caches. McToys (unless broken or dirty) are not garbage. Kids love 'em. I like to leave things even if we don't trade because I think of the happiness a kid might get for a few minutes before he loses what he found.

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tat? :anicute::anicute::anibad: what's tat?

 

 

Tat is what we call it in the uk! Tat = trash, crap, cheap nasty stuff!

 

"Full of old tat!"

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Knowschad, you should know all about being full of tat.

 

 

 

Sorry, I just couldn't help myself.

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Knowschad, you should know all about being full of tat.

:anicute: Tat's really mean. :anicute:

 

Tat didn't bother me a bit.

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So can you trade tit for tat? :anicute:

I'll have to ask my wife. (I know what the answer is already though.)

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So can you trade tit for tat? :anicute:

 

If so, I think you may well have found the answer to micro madness!

 

Large caches = tat!

Micros = no tat!

 

:anicute:

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Hubby and I bought a decorative glass jar and when we come home we throw our trades in it. It does nothing for us but when nieces and nephews come over they like going through the jar to see what treasures we have found.

 

I have never found a cache that had any useful type of adult items. (maybe that is because thus far our hunts have been easy) They were all filled with little trinket items. I thought this is the kind of stuff that are in all the caches. Guess I thought wrong.

I just placed an order through oriental trading co to buy more of what you guys consider junk. LOL wish I would've seen this post earlier. Oh well!!! At least I will know better for when I stock caches to hide.

 

Like my 10yo nephew said "Even tho this stuff is useless junk . . . it's still fun to find!"

 

Happy hunting!! :anicute:

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