Jump to content

The "SWAG Factor"


texasgrillchef
Followers 5

Recommended Posts

I started another thread about "Why do you hate Nano/Micro caches".... So far I am very pleased with the results I am getting back.

 

It did bring up a new topic of discussion that I didn't think was appropriate to discuss in that thread as it is off topic from what I want the thread to really be about.

 

The reason for this thread, and the other thread is simply this. I have been geocaching a little over a year & half. I currently have almost 1800 caches. Will have way over that by the end of January. (I hope.. LOL). I also currently have 150 caches hidden.

 

I want to place some more caches in the next year. Sadly, one of the things that lacks in MOST peoples logs (Not all though)is any comment on the cache itself, other than if it needs maintnance. I am one who likes to place caches to cover a wide assortment of different groups of geocachers. This includes those who do it for the "numbers", or like the "Search Factor" or the "Where it takes me factor", At one time even the "Swag Factor".

 

Therefore I have started these two threads to hear what YOU the geocacher who search for caches have an opinion about. This thread though relates to the "Swag Factor"

 

My deffinition of the "Swag Factor". Those caches that have swag, or could contain swag (Other then a TB or GC), the quality of SWAG found in a cache, as well as the TYPE of swag that is in the geocache. The "Swag factor" is those who like to find geocaches that have swag.

 

Of the 150 caches I have placed, a good number of them are able to have swag. To date, when I placed them. I spent over $250 in SWAG material to put in these caches when they were published. Now, when I recently made my rounds of those caches... All the original swag is obviously gone, and what it was traded with is what I would otherwise call "crap". Even from a kids POV. Even the TYPE of Swag found in a few of them were questionable. In one I even found a 12 gauge shotgun shell! Unused! (Obviously I removed that piece of swag. Thus because of "Crappy" swag & the cost involved, I can very easily understand and see why many CO's place geocaches that prevent, or even limit having swag!

 

I had one cache, that I wanted to use to trade key chains. No key chains exist any longer in that cache. Another one I wanted to use for those who are "Coin Collectors" as well, and of course no more coins in that cache exist!

 

So now I am asking YOU. How many of you come across "Crappy" swag? How many of you HONESTLY trade swag of EQUAL or better quality?

How many of you HONESTLY keep with the SWAG theme of the cache? (Assuming the cache has a SWAG theme)

 

If you don't why? How many of you feel that the CO should occasionaly go in and "Refill" their cache with new swag?

 

How many of you have the "SWAG factor" because you ALSO have the "KID factor"? That is if it wasn't for the "Kid factor" you wouldn't have the "Swag factor".

 

Again... this isn't meant to be a thread for people to be rude or agrumenative. I am just wishing to hear the opinions of geocachers that you don't always get in the logs.

 

TGC

Link to comment

So now I am asking YOU. How many of you come across "Crappy" swag? Fairly often but I'm not a SWAG collector.

How many of you HONESTLY trade swag of EQUAL or better quality? I trade up or even when I do trade, usually I'm just adding to the SWAG (great way to get ride of some of my odds and ends)

How many of you HONESTLY keep with the SWAG theme of the cache? The one cache I've done with a request like that I brought something specific for it.

 

If you don't why? How many of you feel that the CO should occasionaly go in and "Refill" their cache with new swag? I don't really like the idea of themed SWAG but I do think it is a neat idea.

 

How many of you have the "SWAG factor" because you ALSO have the "KID factor"? If I've got kids it is news to me, I just like looking at the little odds and ends. I'd probably look at the rocks around the cache while waiting for my team member to sign the log if it wasn't for SWAG.

Link to comment

I normally do not take anything from caches except for cool geocoins or TB's to show my kids when they are not with me. My kids will generally trade for items and we always trade even or up but most caches that we visit do not have anything of value to us. Generally the newer caches or ones that are maintained well by CO's have decent stuff.

 

I remember one time a new cache was published that consisted of a 5 gallon bucket and inside the bucket were new stuffed animals. My 2 daughters took an animal each which left one in the bucket. We did not have anything of equal value at the time but I posted a note saying I would restock what we took. I then went to the store and bought 3 animals to replace the 2 we took and again posted a note on the cache page that we were able to trade for what we took.

 

I have around 30 caches that are out there. Of those, about 20 can hold trade items. I usually go out every 6 months or so to check on them to replace swag, logs, remove junk, see if they are where I hid them, etc. I also carry a few goodies with me to stock up some caches that we come across to keep them nice. But in general, I do not go to a cache for the "swag factor". I go to a cache for the outdoor experience of just getting out an walking with my dog and kids.

Link to comment

I don't have "Kid Factor"... well, atleast not that I can remember... there was that one weekend in Cabo San Lucas... I believe margharitas were involved... I could be wrong... I digress.

 

Okay, so SWAG...

 

When you have no Kid Factor (I'm going to start refering to parenthood like this from now on, BTW), you don't really worry too terribly about the quality of the toys anymore in your standard caches. It's not like I roll up, ankle deep in mud, and be all like, "aww, man... McCarp again."

 

I trade up-ish, or I don't trade at all. Pathtags (ooooh, I said the forbidden word) and other signature items are what I leave behind and only if the cache is cool. My recent finds have made me interested in another personalized swaggy things: geocacher pens.

 

To the people who did personalized pens for the geocache teams: you are awesome and I'm jealous of that idea. I covet it actually. Cov.et.

 

To me, a pathtag or siggy item for a pen is a fair trade because I want the pen.

 

I would love to do a themed geocache where you trade specific items. Then again, I can see how the evil cycle of themed-swag-for-whack-swag starts:

 

Imagine if you will a happy go lucky new cacher, who's just downloaded their first PQ to their shiney new GPSr. They have a backpack full of nifty items they found at the dollar store. They also raided their Kid Factor's recent goody bag from that last Chuck E. Cheese party. They now depart for their first all-day cache run!

 

Four or five caches in to their day, they've abandoned the notebook with all their notes about the caches they're hoping to find and the battery on their smartphone (with the GC app) went dead. (potty language deleted by moderator).

 

While being eaten alive by mosquitos, nursing a twisted ankle from jumping deadfall, and trying to write on a damp log with a broken pencil, they just dump the plastic dollar store toys and head for the first Sonic/Starbucks/TGIMcFunsters/strip club they can find.

 

The Evil Cycle begins.

Edited by mtn-man
Link to comment

I'm not looking for SWAG. If I find something I like, I may take it for my grandson. I carry a backpack full of SWAG and try to trade up, but more often than not, the search is the fun for me.

 

What I DO like, however, is TBs. I always move them along, but wonder why the several that I've left go one or two places, then go missing.

 

EDIT- in one case it took me 3 years to move something along (long story - a cross country move, major heart surgery, I lost my GPS and the TB for a while, etc, etc,), but it was worth it - I place it in Alaska. I got it from PA.

Edited by aintnorock
Link to comment

I really enjoy packing an ammo can with cool swag. It's fun to find them full of treasure also. I try to promote that by keeping my caches maintained with good trade items.

It's kind of a let-down to find a great cache and then have it be full of nothing but broken stuff and weird plastic thingies. The worst was one that had some expired grocery store coupons... really??? Let's promote creative and useful swag!

No kids here, and yes, I do re-swag my own caches to keep them fun.

Edited by a2nren2e
Link to comment

I used to enjoy trade items, but I don't like the materialistic bent this aspect of the game has taken in recent years. Trade items used to be mostly junk drawer stuff, kind of an "I was here" thing - not a "here's some free stuff" thing. I find it really appalling when I see cachers railing against "McToys" or complaining that their kids were "disappointed" because a cache wasn't full of toys. I used to make a point of buying or finding neat little things to put in caches, but I've just given up.

 

My partner and I favour small containers for our hides - big enough for most trackables, but too small to encourage trades. I don't stock my caches with any swag, but I usually put a Tim Horton's gift card in as a FTF prize.

Link to comment

How many of you come across "Crappy" swag?

 

Frequently, as I'm sure all geocachers do.

 

How many of you HONESTLY trade swag of EQUAL or better quality?

 

I don't trade unless I see something that interests me, which means I don't trade very often. In those cases I try to make a roughly equal trade. I'm not bringing an appraiser along to determine the value of each item, nor am I going to worry if I'm taking an item worth $5 and leaving something worth $4. As long as I'm not making a terribly mismatched trade like taking a Mini Mag Light and leaving a marble I'm happy.

 

How many of you HONESTLY keep with the SWAG theme of the cache? (Assuming the cache has a SWAG theme). If you don't why?

 

I'm often not aware of any theme. I usually don't even look at the cache page unless I have a reason to. If I am aware of the theme and I happen to have something with me that fits the theme then I will keep with it, but I'm not going to go out of my way to do it because swag is not that important to me.

 

How many of you feel that the CO should occasionally go in and "Refill" their cache with new swag?

 

Whether I trade or not, finding a well stocked cache is nice. It tells me that the cache owner really cared and put some thought into his cache. If they do replenish it regularly, great but it's not something I expect. As a cache owner I used to do it. I still will sometimes, but not as a regular practice because the original expense of hiding a cache is enough. I'm not rich enough to go out regularly and replenish each cache, nor do I expect it of others.

 

How many of you have the "SWAG factor" because you ALSO have the "KID factor"? That is if it wasn't for the "Kid factor" you wouldn't have the "Swag factor".

 

No kid factor here. I have cached with my nieces and nephews when they were younger and enjoyed the delight on their face when we opened a well stocked cache and noticed their disappointment when we found a cache full of garbage. So when I hide caches are likely to be found by families, I make an effort to stock them very well with kid friendly items.

Edited by briansnat
Link to comment

My geocaching bag always has a good series of signature items or random little swag in it. If I take something, I make sure I go even at the very least. I do see a lot of people leaving business cards or whatever they found in their car door. Honestly, I don't trade anything out unless I have something even to throw in. My kids geek out on Swag, just as I do, but they are more about the find and less about what is in it (although they love finding cool stuff in there too).

As to my caches, I only have a few and recently took a trip down to Goodwill and grabbed some really neat stuff to throw in our only regular cache.

Link to comment

Swag often adds to my enjoyment of geocaching. I enjoy looking through the contents of caches but I don't trade much. I'll trade for sig items and I'll take TBs and GCs. There are a couple of times over the years where myself or my kids may not have traded evenly as I've been caught without anything (and no dollar bills). On the flip-side most of my caches are regulars or smalls. I always try and fill them with interesting things. If I do a maintenance trip I'll refill and clean out trash. I dont worry too much about what happens to the swag in my caches. I expect the quality to degrade. Many of my caches require a fair hike so the degredation is slow on those.

Link to comment

That is a lot of questions...

 

How many of you come across "Crappy" swag?

We come across "Crappy" swag all the time.

How many of you HONESTLY trade swag of EQUAL or better quality?

We generally don't trade swag. The couple of times we have it was for something approx. equal.

 

How many of you HONESTLY keep with the SWAG theme of the cache? (Assuming the cache has a SWAG theme)

Themed swag must be pretty rare in our area. I don't recall coming across a SWAG them in 900 finds.

 

If you don't why? How many of you feel that the CO should occasionaly go in and "Refill" their cache with new swag?

CO's shouldn't be expected to "Refill" their caches. However, we do notice when a CO takes that extra time & expense and will often compliment the CO on the swag. (Mr. Volkswagon in Colorado is exceptional with his swag.)

 

How many of you have the "SWAG factor" because you ALSO have the "KID factor"?

Our kid is grown up so that isn't a factor.

Link to comment

Imagine if you will a happy go lucky new cacher, who's just downloaded their first PQ to their shiney new GPSr. They have a backpack full of nifty items they found at the dollar store. They also raided their Kid Factor's recent goody bag from that last Chuck E. Cheese party. They now depart for their first all-day cache run!

 

Four or five caches in to their day, they've abandoned the notebook with all their notes about the caches they're hoping to find and the battery on their smartphone (with the GC app) went dead. Mur.Ther.Fur.Ker.

 

While being eaten alive by mosquitos, nursing a twisted ankle from jumping deadfall, and trying to write on a damp log with a broken pencil, they just dump the plastic dollar store toys and head for the first Sonic/Starbucks/TGIMcFunsters/strip club they can find.

 

The Evil Cycle begins.

laugh.gif That was the funniest thing I've read all day! Thanks. (And accurate as well.) laugh.gif

Link to comment

I've gotten to the point where I'd rather people didn't leave swag in my caches at all. I have a cache in a nearby park and no matter what, the swag degrades to trash in no time flat. I think the cache would leave a better impression on newer cachers if it were empty, vs. what it contains on the days I don't visit and clear it all out.

Link to comment

I have both, the "kid factor" and the "swag factor." Geocaching began for us as a way to get the little noonies to move their feet down the trail, but it has evolved into something much more. If the kids are coming along, we make a point to find larger caches that are more likely to have 'stuff' in them. Notice I did not say 'GOOD stuff', I just said 'stuff'. Some of the things my kids pass up, and some of the 'treasures' they do pick defies all understanding, LOL! One thing I have learned, though: I used to think I could eventually (when they were not looking and after they tire of the item) "reswag". Is that a term? Well, I'm making it one. I planned on re-trading all of the junk they picked up for newer junk down the line. HA HA HA on me! These girls remember each and every item of swag they have picked up, and if asked can tell you which cache it came out of (and it has been a year and a half now)! We keep swag of many different values in our pack so we can trade up or even. If we open a container that is mostly empty, the girls like to pick out items to leave in it for the next kids, so they won't be disappointed. The only time we DIDN'T trade time was when my 7 year old found (and REALLY wanted) a 14k gold charm in a cache, and I made her leave it behind 'cause we didn't have anything of equal value with us. She is still mad at me over that one, but I thought it would set a good example.

Link to comment

As far as cache swag depletion, it's unfortunate but it's a fact of life. I fought it for years, spending quite a lot of money on nicely stocked caches, replenishing my and other's caches when I found them depleted, and giving away stocked caches at events, partly because that's what I enjoy doing but also in an effort to set an example. Eventually it was proven to me that the vast majority saw that as a give-away, that trading even was part of few cachers habits, and I can't even remember the last time anyone traded up.

 

I wish I could be more optimistic about the future of 'trade even or trade up' but I think it will just set up players for disappointment when the caches degrade, and further believe that replenishing depleted caches that I find just teaches folks that it's okay not to maintain their caches, that someone else will do it for them.

 

As far as 'I remember the old days, long before this rush to prove that geocaching is, in fact, about the numbers.' I believe it's more about the majority being lazy and cheap than it is about numbers. Geocachers being no different than the rest of society it should come as no surprise that the fast easy inexpensive hide and junk swag will prevail.

 

Instead of the swag bag I used to carry I now keep two unactivated geocoins in my wallet as trade items on the off chance that I see a trinket worth trading for, but they've been in my wallet for quite a while now!

Link to comment

Interesting questions. Most of the time forums irritate me but I still hang around them because every once in a while something like this comes up.

 

My answers in no particular order.

 

Do we find "crappy swag"? Pretty much every time we go out unfortunately. Less in new caches but even those have been known to be full of trash.

 

Do we trade even or up? To the best of our ability. Since value is such a subjective determination I am sure that some people would feel we have traded down on occasion but I don't feel we have. Sometimes my grandson gets irritated with me because I make him add more than he wants to BUT I'm trying to instill a set of core values in him that too many people lack these days. One of those core values is a sense of fair play.

 

Do we follow the "theme"? If we can. Sometimes we simply don't have anything that fits the theme and it those cases we either trade for "off topic" stuff or don't trade at all.

 

Do I have the swag factor because I have the kid factor? Usually, but not always. I don't go looking for swag but I have been know to trade for something that interests me (signature items and such) and I always trade for trackables despite the fact that they are considered "Outside of the trade game".

 

Should Cache owners refill swag? There's a fine question with no right answer. They shouldn't need to but the sad fact is, if the cache is going to have decent trading material in the CO will have to refill it from time to time. We only have one cache out and we adopted it. We have plans to place some more but I doubt we'll ever have more than five or six and those close enough to home so we can get to them on fairly short notice. My intention is to do maintenance runs every six to eight weeks and clean out the garbage and refill them at those times. I also try to keep a bit stuff that will interest adults too, but most will be kid oriented simply because kids are the most common traders. Do I expect others to do that? It would be nice but no, I don't. On my hides it would be nice to get a note in the log letting me know that one is full of crap so I can take care of it.

 

And a question that you didn't ask (I think). Will my hides contain swag? If at all possible, yes. My main reason for wanting to hide caches at all is to encourage people, especially kids, to get outside and do something instead of parking their tails in front of the TV and in my opinion caches with trade items will do a better job of that. My second objective is to show people neat new places and if a micro is the only possible hide for the area then that's what we'll use but only as a last resort.

Link to comment

I only trade swag these days if the cache is very memorable or if there is a collectible item. I always trade equal or better. Most of the time, I forget my swag bag, so I usually will drop quarters or dollar bills. I like theme swag. TGC, you know the Smurg cache up in Shady Shores where all items have to be blue? That one is cool and when I found it cachers had honored the blue request. I dropped a blue cell phone holder.

Link to comment

As someone who does go caching with kids I appreciate a nice SWAG filled treasure. That said my partner is only 4 and has already learned that not all items are worth the good stuff he brings. As for the theme based SWAG we have a group of Boy Scout placed caches that contain misc SAWG as well as Boy Scout badges these have been fun to trade for my older boy. Thanks to those of you who trade up and keep your caches full of fun prizes they make our day. :grin:

Link to comment

The swag factor is not the greatest weight in my geocaching equation. I have had a great time seeing the things that stay in a cache I found a pair of yellow sunglasses and was able to trace them to the dropper who had dropped them three years previously. I then contacted them and showed them a pic with their log entry for the shades and the shades beside the entry. They loved this little reminiscence and gave their geocaching battery a boost. The glasses were terrible but the story they are generating is cool.

 

The larger factor is getting out of the hotel my blimp crew is staying and doing something. I like the larger caches for the opportunity to look at stuff. I have a bag loaded with swag to drop, I am always in new places so I know that the signature items (pens, chips, dice, eh..... and something else) will be a blast to find. For me the first cache capable of holding stuff will get loaded down. But I really love to leave my signature swag in as many caches as possible. I have met a few people who actually recognized my handle and showed me "X" (X is what ever I had left) that they had found.

 

What depresses me is the largeish lock and lock with a rolled up scroll for a logbook. Hey! I like to say a bit more than date and signature. I like to use my signature stamp and leave my turtle to be seen by finders later down the line.

 

Swag = look but leave mostly unless a personal link to another cacher

 

Logbook = That is the real thing for me

 

Kid Factor = We all have that otherwise why are we playing in the mud looking for the next adventure?

Link to comment

I dont let cache degradation become a problem for my caches, I just stock them with things NOBODY will want to take, like old pretzel pogs, worn out slap bracelets, or dead batteries, greasy pennies are a nice touch, so is broken glass from beer bottles I found along the way. I dont even bother trading, I just leave my treasure so that the next cacher can enjoy it.

Link to comment

Rather than dwell on the poorly stocked finds, I prefer to nurture the memories of the special trades I have made for swag treasures. Such as the hematite charm that looks great on my hematite necklace (from separate caches). There is a painted stone that I wish the artist had signed. Trading for the glasses case when I forgot to pack my case during a vacation. Even a small blue bear with rust and dirt stains, that now sits upon a shelf on my desk. The bear was traded for during the height of the old forum thread about the blue bear and the osprey nest. It still makes me smile. I always strive to trade fairly or over, or I don't make the trade; sometimes a return trip to the hide is required if the item is worth the effort.

 

I try to follow the CO's theme if even one of the cache's contents still follows the theme, and I am aware of the theme while at the cache. Themes seem to have a very short life span, unless they are broadly adaptable--such as yellow swag.

 

No, COs don't need to refill their caches with swag. But I have spent quite a bit of money refilling my hides with trinkets because I want my caches to have swag for finders. That said, the freshened swag may last anywhere from a couple of weeks to many months, depending upon who visits. Experience has taught me to try to put in items with a range of value, not to put all of the better-quality swag in at once and to expect the disappointment at how quickly it will all be converted into stuff I'll throw away.

 

The only kid factor here is when someone writes in their log that the inexpensive item I left in a cache somewhere made their kid's day; which, in turn, makes my day, too.

Link to comment

I really enjoy packing an ammo can with cool swag. It's fun to find them full of treasure also. I try to promote that by keeping my caches maintained with good trade items.

It's kind of a let-down to find a great cache and then have it be full of nothing but broken stuff and weird plastic thingies. The worst was one that had some expired grocery store coupons... really??? Let's promote creative and useful swag!

No kids here, and yes, I do re-swag my own caches to keep them fun.

 

Same here. I think the swag part of the find is fun and one of the things about game that provides a full caching experience. It's one of the fundamental parts of the original caching experience - the bucket with stuff in it (Delorme Topo CDs, George of the Jungle VHS, etc.). Lately I've been into personalized swag (finding them and leaving them - see my geoswag link in my tagline).

 

When we began caching in 2001/2002 you could expect that when you found the cache it would be big enough for a logbook (not logsheet), a pencil and some swag pieces.

 

As a CO I want cachers to open the container and be pleased with the condition of the box. Ideally, I try to provide finders a relatively clean container with a few baubles in decent condition to paw through. I try to get out to our caches at least twice a year (seasonally if I can) to wipe down the inside of the cache, take out the messy stuff and put in a few more inexpensive items in baggies - to help keep them clean longer.

 

Although I don't feel a CO has to replenish the cache I do feel that they need to clean out the messy stuff even if it means there's no swag left in the box. I prefer finding an empty clean box to a container full of dirt-covered/rusty/moldy stuff that's been there for months/years. And I don't think a CO needs to spend much on trinkets for the container, nor should they. Quoting Narcissa, 'If you want new stuff, go shopping'. We usually spend from $3-$5 to stock our caches.

Link to comment

Not owning a cache myself (because I'm waiting for the right location), I don't expect COs to restock swag in their caches everytime someone makes a snarky comment about the crummy contents. I'm way happier to find a clean, dry container with a tiny bit of clean, dry swag (which is why I carry papertowels with me now).

 

If I take my god-daughter and god-son caching with me, I'd prefer not to bring them home to their mom clutching something slimy and broken. Then she gives me that look. That Bea-Aurthur-as-Maude look that says, "Thanks for taking them out and bringing them back covered in mud, holding broken (potty language deleted by moderator) and calling it 'treasure.'"

Edited by mtn-man
Link to comment

WOW.... Thanks for all the wonderfull responses... Keep them coming.

 

I noticed that everyone who made a response in this thread was a PREMIUM member. One was even a moderator.

 

Now I could be wrong here... but I am going to make a hypothisis (sp?) being that:

 

Premium members take geocaching more seriously, partly because they paid $30 for a membership, & possibly even the additional money for their smartphone app as well. From my POV, one has to be pretty serious about geocaching to shell out that much money.

 

Premium members though don't make up the majority of geocachers though, the non-paid members make up the majority.

 

Since so far... I would be willing to guess that as a general rule of thumb (Exceptions do apply I am sure), that premium members do take more effort and pride in trading even or trading up for swag.

 

As far as non-premium members go, I would be willing to guess that they as a general rule (with some exceptions of course) aren't the ones that generally will trade even or trade up.

 

Like I said... my hypothis could be wrong.

 

Now ADDING a question to my allready numerous list of questions that I started this thread with...

 

Comparing caches with swag for PREMIUM MEMBERS only caches, with those caches that are available to everyone with swag. In your opinion do you think the swag in a premium cache is better than a cache that is available to everyone? (As a general rule, obviously exceptions will apply sometimes)

 

I ask because I am wondering that if I place any more caches capable of holding swag, publishing those caches as "For premium members only".

 

TGC

Link to comment
As far as non-premium members go, I would be willing to guess that they as a general rule (with some exceptions of course) aren't the ones that generally will trade even or trade up.

I don't think non-premium members are less likely to be fair people.

 

My own unscientific observation / conclusion re the relationship between premium members and swag is this:

 

- There is a somewhat positive correlation (not 100%) between premium membership status and length of time caching

- There is a somewhat negative correlation (not 100%) between length of time caching, and the importance of swag as it pertains to cachers

- I believe there is a somewhat negative correlation (not 100%) between premium membership status and the importance of swag is it pertains to cachers

Link to comment
As far as non-premium members go, I would be willing to guess that they as a general rule (with some exceptions of course) aren't the ones that generally will trade even or trade up.

I don't think non-premium members are less likely to be fair people.

 

My own unscientific observation / conclusion re the relationship between premium members and swag is this:

 

- There is a somewhat positive correlation (not 100%) between premium membership status and length of time caching

- There is a somewhat negative correlation (not 100%) between length of time caching, and the importance of swag as it pertains to cachers

- I believe there is a somewhat negative correlation (not 100%) between premium membership status and the importance of swag is it pertains to cachers

 

So your saying that the longer a premium member has been a geocacher, the less significant swag becomes? Same for NON-Premium members?

 

Your also saying that the odds of a NON-Member leaving junk for swag, or not trading even or trading up, is the same as for Premium members?

 

TGC

Link to comment

So now I am asking YOU. How many of you come across "Crappy" swag?

I come across it all the time. I generally ignore it.

 

How many of you HONESTLY trade swag of EQUAL or better quality?

I cannot remember the last time I traded for something in a cache. I do remember it was a pair of zircon encrusted tweezers. Sadly they broke last fall. I'm sure I traded fairly.

I do carry some small swag items and will leave them behind on a cache that made me smile wide so someone else who gets enjoyment out of swag has another option.

 

How many of you HONESTLY keep with the SWAG theme of the cache? (Assuming the cache has a SWAG theme) See above. I don't even worry about it on the keychain cache I own. I do tend to clear larger non trackable items out of my TB hotel and drop them in other caches to make sure there is room for the trackables. That listing requests that swag not be left in it.

 

If you don't why? How many of you feel that the CO should occasionaly go in and "Refill" their cache with new swag? I expect the cache owner to keep their cache stocked with a clean dry log in a container that works well for the surroundings. Everything else is above and beyond the call. Cache owners who restock their caches with swag enjoy that part of the game and probably have kids who enjoy that part of the game.

 

How many of you have the "SWAG factor" because you ALSO have the "KID factor"? That is if it wasn't for the "Kid factor" you wouldn't have the "Swag factor". See above. I don't have kids, I don't cache with kids often, and my nieces and nephews have pretty much outgrown that part of the game too.

 

My sense of entitlement merely desires that you provide me with FUN seeking your cache. :rolleyes:

If I am on a run with friends, anything goes-even LPC's and NRM's can be fun. It all depends on what our agenda is for the day. If I am on my own I will probably avoid those and head out into the woods/parks. Keep the inside of your caches clean and dry, especially the log and you will satisfy my demands. YMMV

Link to comment

I have ran across a lot of Crapy swag, or no swag where I felt there should have been. I have started carrying a lot of swag with me. Not really nice stuff (I'm a poor man), mostly stuff that kids would like. (Stuff for kids from dollar general) I usually put 3 of 4 items in the caches I find and usually don't take anything for myself (except TB's and Coins).

 

I have a mentally disabled Son and Daughter. He is 23 years old, but in development he is around 8 years old. She is 20 and at a development age of around 8 also. They love Geocaching, They call it "Treasure Hunting" When I take them (which is most the time) we get to GZ then they start the hunt, and are the ones that find the cache (Treasure) They love both large and micros, but when they find a good size container, they expect it to have "Treasure" so I know what it is like to find empty caches. I let them have anything they want, but I replace it with several items from my "Swag Bag", so the cache always hase more in it than it had when we found it. If everyone would put more in than they take, my Son and Daughter would never be disapointed.

Link to comment

As far as cache swag depletion, it's unfortunate but it's a fact of life. I fought it for years, spending quite a lot of money on nicely stocked caches, replenishing my and other's caches when I found them depleted, and giving away stocked caches at events, partly because that's what I enjoy doing but also in an effort to set an example. Eventually it was proven to me that the vast majority saw that as a give-away, that trading even was part of few cachers habits, and I can't even remember the last time anyone traded up.

 

I wish I could be more optimistic about the future of 'trade even or trade up' but I think it will just set up players for disappointment when the caches degrade, and further believe that replenishing depleted caches that I find just teaches folks that it's okay not to maintain their caches, that someone else will do it for them.

 

As far as 'I remember the old days, long before this rush to prove that geocaching is, in fact, about the numbers.' I believe it's more about the majority being lazy and cheap than it is about numbers. Geocachers being no different than the rest of society it should come as no surprise that the fast easy inexpensive hide and junk swag will prevail.

 

Instead of the swag bag I used to carry I now keep two unactivated geocoins in my wallet as trade items on the off chance that I see a trinket worth trading for, but they've been in my wallet for quite a while now!

 

Well of course. I have no expectation that my swag drop will encourage others to do the same. I just put it out there. Although I am more likely to leave stuff for the kids rather than adult simply because these adults aren't trading fairly. Or maybe they are. I don't care. I'm going to assume that the puzzle, the bag of marbles, the yo-yo, the dinosaur model was enjoyed by someone.

Link to comment

Imagine if you will a happy go lucky new cacher, who's just downloaded their first PQ to their shiney new GPSr. They have a backpack full of nifty items they found at the dollar store. They also raided their Kid Factor's recent goody bag from that last Chuck E. Cheese party. They now depart for their first all-day cache run!

 

Four or five caches in to their day, they've abandoned the notebook with all their notes about the caches they're hoping to find and the battery on their smartphone (with the GC app) went dead. (potty language deleted by moderator).

 

While being eaten alive by mosquitos, nursing a twisted ankle from jumping deadfall, and trying to write on a damp log with a broken pencil, they just dump the plastic dollar store toys and head for the first Sonic/Starbucks/TGIMcFunsters/strip club they can find.

 

The Evil Cycle begins.

laugh.gif That was the funniest thing I've read all day! Thanks. (And accurate as well.) laugh.gif

 

I remember my first geocache trip with my kids. We had downloaded a group of caches, and were very excited,heck I was excited. (still really enjoy caching btw) I also remember having a "swag" bag. Of course we didn't call it swag back then, just treasures. Most of my inventory was a group of polymer clay trinkets I had made myself (now a sort of calling card for me), my daughter carried unique marbles and cartoon figurines, my son was a little more serious in his choice and liked figures and trinkets made of metal (loves coins), glass gems, etc... We must have searched for over 3 hours for our first cache. We were WAY off. We hadn't developed a "geosense" yet, or where to look. When we did find it, they were so proud of themselves. I remember reading the "letter" in the cache stating what the game/sport was to non-cachers. It was exciting! We signed the log with one name, with our choice of three good working pens, on a newly replaced dry logbook (right next to the old dry logbook). The swag we encountered was important to the process. To think that there were treasure troves of caches hidden all over our city, right under our noses, and we passed them every single day. Just wow... We wanted to find more, not to mearly sign the logbook, but to see the interesting things inside, to go through the trading process again. At that moment I knew we were hooked. And while our GPS might have been almost dead, it wasn't...we had also prepared for the "skeeters"...we walked away with some minor scratches from thorns, and clutching not only our own swag, but our newly found treasures.

 

The first time the kids found their first nano, they were severely disappointed, and so was I to an extent. I had to explain to them that some caches will be this way... Now I want you to think about what they had rolling around in their mind, "Some caches will be disappointing". I knew this fact the moment we started looking for more caches to hunt. They would say, "whats the size?". I would say nano or micro. They would say "Oh well maybe another time dad.". So then I would say oh here is a regular, or a small, and they would be all over it. I have to admit, back then when this was rolling around in their head, I was thinking the same thing. Seeing items in a cache is interesting, and while nanos and micros are unique in their size, they didn't excite me as much. I would avoid them and go for the smalls and regulars. Not because of my children, but because of my own interest as well.

 

It wasn't until much later that we realized that some cachers actually had the forsight to want to share places with beautiful scenery, or geographical points. While the nanos and micros still didn't interest the kids as much, I researched the areas even more and what people had to say about their experiences while there. I wanted to know if the micro or nano was worth the trip. Numbers are nice, but caching isn't about just numbers. Its about seeing whats in the box (swag, TB, coins, etc...), to appreciate and see those who have come to sign the log before you, and to view the most beautiful places I have ever had the priviledge to see.

 

I have since tried to restore their faith in the smaller caches by creating interesting containers for micros and smalls. I used polymer clay on one to create a steampunk feel on a micro. I also placed polymer clay trinkets inside, and a fun scroll as a log. They were interested to find it once I hid it. Another small cache I did had double compartments, and the whole thing coated in cloth. I made the log inside a scroll, and partially coated it with the same cloth. I placed the whole thing in a double freezer bag with a couple pens to protect it, and then placed it in an area that didn't get wet. I keep a close eye on it to make sure it stays dry.

 

So anyway... your discription...not so accurate.

 

To answer the post questions; we trade equal swag, we restock our caches on a regular basis, and stick to the theme of the cache as close as we can (meaning we sign the log in the theme, and if we don't have themed items for the cache we don't take anything either.). As far as the kid / swag factor, I suppose I have a bit of both. Im a kid at heart, and love to see smiles on little faces. I honestly think swag is important to the game. When it all began, it was sort of on that basis. "Hey I hid this stuff here, at this location, come and get it". Just my opinion. :)

Edited by mtn-man
Link to comment
So your saying that the longer a premium member has been a geocacher, the less significant swag becomes? Same for NON-Premium members?

That roughly approximates my experience. I know a number of cachers who have been caching for a while, myself included, for whom the swag part of the game has decreased in importance over the years, sometimes dramatically. I haven't yet met a cacher who didn't care much about swag in her first year, but later developed a passion for it.

 

It doesn't mean that counter-examples don't exist. But my gut tells me that they are not typical.

 

Your also saying that the odds of a NON-Member leaving junk for swag, or not trading even or trading up, is the same as for Premium members?

I think with the exception of people extremely new to the game, who don't understand how it's supposed to work.

 

For those who understand the concept of trading, I'm not sure that someone spending $30 a year on a premium membership is strongly correlated with ethical trading. I'll allow that many people extremely new to the game may not understand trading at all, and sometimes think that swag in a cache is a reward for finding the container as opposed to items they are supposed to trade for. But I don't think the driver is whether or not someone spends $30 a year on a premium membership - I think the driver is simply being brand new to the game and the culture.

 

For those who have been caching more than those first few weeks or months, I am not sure that there is a real difference. I have met a lot of basic members who love trading with their kids and do it well, and I have met premium members addicted to instant notifications who seem happy to leave expired coupons in caches. Maybe I'm wrong and someone who has been caching for three years with a basic membership is less honorable than someone who has been caching for three years with a premium membership, but I'd like to see more evidence of that before believing it.

Link to comment

"So now I am asking YOU. How many of you come across "Crappy" swag? How many of you HONESTLY trade swag of EQUAL or better quality?

How many of you HONESTLY keep with the SWAG theme of the cache? (Assuming the cache has a SWAG theme)

 

If you don't why? How many of you feel that the CO should occasionaly go in and "Refill" their cache with new swag?

 

How many of you have the "SWAG factor" because you ALSO have the "KID factor"? That is if it wasn't for the "Kid factor" you wouldn't have the "Swag factor"."

 

I frequently come across crappy swag such as rocks, seashells, cigarettes and broken toys. When I went to do maintenance on one of my caches, somebody had left that packaging from a trade item in the cache when they took it (they had traded a trackable for the trade item too). In another of my caches, somebody traded a bunch of safety pins for something better (the cache was placed with great swag!)

 

I HONESTLY trade equal or better. In fact when a cache is low on swag, I leave a few things without taking anything. I carry around small Smokey Bear items from work that I leave in depleted caches.

 

It's the responsibility of the caching community to trade fair. I don't think cache owners should have to burn a hole in their pocket keeping their caches full of great swag. It's futile!! When I add things to my caches on maintenance runs, the things that I add are never as nice as the things that were originally in the cache (but they are way better than rocks and broken toys).

 

I don't usually trade for swag unless I find something neat. Sometimes I trade for signature items. I always look for trackables to move. I rarely have a child caching with me (just my niece when she visits once a year) so I don't have the "kid factor". She enjoys finding caches when there are kid things in them. This Christmas she was hoping to find a bouncy ball. I'll be picking some up at the dollar store and leaving them in depleted caches. Most of my swag is geared towards kids but I leave a few things for adults like fishing gear, car air fresheners and camping gear. Adults seem to like unique hand-made stuff so I started making drink glass charms to leave in caches.

Edited by Bucephala
Link to comment

The "treasure hunt" is what keeps my kids interested. I bookmarked the larger caches in the area so that I can plan around those when we go caching. The smaller ones are fine for me - I have a love/hate relationship with them - but my kids get tired of finding micro after micro. They like finding the swag. We've had a mixed bag of stuff in caches. A few have had nothing but junk, and I do mean junk.

 

I bought Disney pins off of ebay. These retail from anywhere of about $6 and up in the parks. On ebay I paid less than a dollar each. I feel good about trading these for just about anything. If a cache doesn't have anything I leave this behind regardless. A couple of times I've inventoried the cache for the owners, although I didn't see that they did anything about it.

 

I wish more people were conscientious about trading.

 

Patti

Link to comment

I am the "Crap-Swag" Terminator! I often go caching with younger children (being a manny and all (male-nanny)) and they, more-often-than-not, want to take all of the broken McCrud toys, half-eaten bouncy balls, etc. while I swoop in behind with nifty loot like LEGOs, Star Wars miniatures, and the like. Before I put something in I always ask myself, if I wasn't already cool enough to own something like this, would I dig finding it in a cache? If the answer is "Yes!" I place it in my swap pool.

 

When I am out kidlessly caching, I usually just put cool stuff in, while leaving the thoughtless junk to gather a little more rain water. Sometimes I'll even dispose of the broken walnut shells or soggy candy in the bottom. On the rare times when I come across something kind of cool, I'll snag it for another cache while trading it for something equal or better.

 

As far as themed swag, I'm all for it, especially when the cache has a great story (my favorite was a cool pirate cache on the Oregon coast). Sometimes, however, I won't happen to have something on me that fits the theme, so I'll either give nothing as not to disturb the theme, or, if the theme has already been despoiled, I'll do my usual upgrade of loot left behind.

Edited by Suzalynn
Link to comment

I'm generally about the find and not about the SWAG. Occasionally I have youngins with me and of course they trade. But I rarely trade for myself and when I do, always equal or up. My experience is most caches devolve to geojunk pretty quickly. It wouldn't bother me if that aspect of the game just went away.

Link to comment

I rarely take swag, but when I do I tend to over-trade. If I don't have 1 item that is "equal" in value, then I leave several behind.

 

I bet that happens a lot. The CO leaves a couple of items each worth $5 but the finders don't have a $5 item to trade so they leave 5-$1 items. Later when the CO looks at the content he sees a bunch of $1 items and nothing worth about $5. It seems like people weren't trading fair but in essence they were.

Link to comment

We have no kid factor. We don't chase swag. Even being really new to this, it has become clear that if you were totally focused on swag, you would burn out pretty quick.

 

I guess that I geek over sig items. My wife seems to love finding stuff. Yesterday she found a hand-made kind of friendship necklace thing that she flipped out about.

 

We always trade up or even. Most caches are TN but we always leave something. Since we have been running mostly grab and go's because of snow and weather, we have been "upgrading" or adding to caches......kind of a pay it forward thing I guess. Since newer folks and parents with kids hit these, we wanted to help ensure that they have something to remember their adventure. The only exception is that we don't leave swag on stated log only caches, although cool caches demand at least a token or coin as a show of respect to the CO.

 

We just hid our first cache which isn't even published yet. I guess it would be considered unappealing for most vets as it is an easy in town grab and go. We wanted to place something that was easy for those with kid factor as well as provide a good easy cache for premium members taking someone new out. We will keep it well stocked for the youngsters and are awaiting some good adult stuff to arrive via mail. Definitely something for everyone. It's close so very easy to maintain.

Link to comment

For what it's worth...

 

My wife and I got into Geocaching last summer and when we started, it was more about the thrill of getting outside, away from the t.v. and doing something different together. it was about seeing sights and discovering areas in our own backyard that we never new existed. Geocaching helped us find a common interest together and to get rid of that lazy weekend mentality. The thrill of it was and still is for us in the actual finding of the cache that someone else had hidden as a bonus to the scenery we get to enjoy. Each cache was/is memorable for us, and we have hundreds of photographs of each of us with excited looks on our faces.

 

As we find the cache and dig through it, yes, sometimes we are a bit disappointed in the things that we discover. There is just something about finding a lone toy soldier that the family dog has chewed up that to us is aesthetically unappealing. As we found more and more of these types of caches, we decided that we were going to try to do something about this. Like so many others, we went to the Dollar Tree and bought things that we thought would be more appealing...soap bubbles, neat little pencil erasers, bells etc. That lasted for 2 trips out because I realized that I was doing exactly the same thing that I had begun to hate.

 

I figured out that I was going to change my own behavior. I understood that hey...I'm out here Geocaching...why am I going to put junk when I can put actual geocaching swag. Diligence paid off and I was able to find places that I could order things specifically related to Geocaching over theinternet. Groundspeak sells a multitude of things that I could buy and put inside caches...and yet not break the bank. So..now in the caches that I find...I will only put geocaching specific items.

 

I practice CITO on every cache I find...those bubble gum wrappers are replaced with compass zipper pulls, or those chewed up lone toy soldiers are exchanged for travel racers.

 

I remember the basics of what got us into Geocaching in the first place. The lure of treasure...whether it be a beautiful view of a lake I never knew existed...or that treasured trackable coin that started out in The Netherlands and has been moved to New Hampshire because My wife and I discovered it on The Cape and moved it along to the White Mountains on a weekend getaway.

 

Pardon my long winded posting...but I just wanted to say what was on my mind.

 

If everyone remembered back to when they first started Geocaching...and what drew them to it...then we might all be rewarded with Treasure...

Edited by GerryandJoy
Link to comment

Not sure what Swag means but if it just the items and collectibles owners put in their

caches then I am a big believer in it. But with worthwhile stuff.

 

I usually put a crisp million dollar bill for the FTF with my new history caches.

 

Christmastime I put in little rubber erasers shaped like food items.

 

All the time I put in laminated historic picture cards related to the cache

that many say, " I was here at..(the name of historycache). Anybody remember seeing

"Kilroy was here"?

 

-RKO

"Live from Cape Canaveral"

HistoryCaching

Edited by History-Cacher
Link to comment

Not sure what Swag means but if it just the items and collectibles owners put in their

caches then I am a big believer in it. But with worthwhile stuff.

 

I usually put a crisp million dollar bill for the FTF with my new history caches.

 

Christmastime I put in little rubber erasers shaped like food items.

 

All the time I put in laminated historic picture cards related to the cache

that many say, " I was here at..(the name of historycache). Anybody remember seeing

"Kilroy was here"?

 

-RKO

"Live from Cape Canaveral"

HistoryCaching

 

SWAG It's been around for a long time, Long before Geocaching.. It stands for Stuff We All Get..

Link to comment

I personally don't trade swag often, though I have friends who cache with kids so I do keep some handy to refill empty caches or let them trade when they cache with me but have nothing to trade.

 

One thing I have seen a growing trend of though is trading swag for your signature item. Sig items are a neat idea, but few are of the value to trade. I understand those wooden nickels and other items are not cheap... but cost does not equate to value, they really have no "value" to anyone else. Taking a nice tradeable that anyone would enjoy and leaving such an item degrades the cache in my book as I've never seen someone say "Cool a wooden nickle/rock/etc. with another cachers name on it, I want that!". Personally I see signature items as something to be left in a cache for others too enjoy looking at, but not taken. Pathtags are similar, they can be taken but they are not really Trade though I leave something anyways in the fear it was originally traded, or just to make the cache better.

 

Signature pens are a neat idea I haven't seen yet, I may order some as they are pretty cheap in bulk (under $0.50 each for a few hundred), but again I wouldn't feel right taking something in trade for them as I don't see them as having "value" over anything but the cheapest McJunk.

Link to comment

I've seen signature pens and pencils but the pens tend to not survive the elements where I cache. Too much freeze and thaw going on.

 

On a side note signature items (nickles, little painted rocks, pathtags etc.) are some of the few things I try to get from caches. And they actually have a pretty high value to me as they aren't found that often where I am.

 

Value is in the eye of the beholder. Small animals and signature items probably hold much higher value to me than other items that might have more monetary value.

Link to comment

I've actually taken something from maybe 10 of almost 2900 caches. Not enough trading to justify carrying around a swag bag so I freely admit that I have only traded for one or two of those ten things. I justify the theft by packing my caches to overflowing with top notch swag when I place them. When looking at the full picture, I've contributed far more swag than I've taken away. Some may say that starting caches full of swag does not justify taking items from other peoples caches without trading, but I say that thats just how I roll.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 5
×
×
  • Create New...