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Is the swag found in your area not worth finding?


jacksonsfind
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I am very new to geocaching. I have only looked for a handful of caches so far and still have a lot to learn.

 

All of the caches I have looked for, with the exception of one, are container sizes. One reason is that I am new and the other reason is because I do this with my younger son, who loves finding the "prize". But, I have to say that while I leave nice, clean items in the container,that is not what we find in them most of the time. Examples are pacifiers, hairbows, pen lids, etc!

 

Is it the area I live in? Does this seem to happen to a lot of you out there?

 

I want to come up with a nice, fun signature "gift" to put in the caches I find, but hate not finding nice things in return. I don't expect expensive items of course, but would like to see nicer and cleaner swags.

 

If your suppose to replace the item you take with something equal or nicer, I would love to know what the person took who left a pacifier or hairbow? :huh:

 

Thanks in advance for the feedback.

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nope... i live in SW PA...

 

All the ammocans (30 and 50mm) I have found have crap in them, post-it notes, mcdtoys, gumball machine toys... just general trash and pretty empty for such a large box

 

I put my ammo can out (7.62mm smaller box) and it was packed with about $30 worth of nice dollar store items, after day 1 of being published, almost everything was pirated out of my can and replaced with a couple packs of post-it notes... there was no real trading going on

 

That's how it is most caches around here, unfortunately... someone always has to ruin it for others.

 

I think if you were to place/find more remote caches versus closer to civilization, you might find better quality in the swag

Edited by z0mbieCache
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nope... i live in SW PA...

 

All the ammocans (30 and 50mm) I have found have crap in them, post-it notes, mcdtoys, gumball machine toys... just general trash and pretty empty for such a large box

 

I put my ammo can out (7.62mm smaller box) and it was packed with about $30 worth of nice dollar store items, after day 1 of being published, almost everything was pirated out of my can and replaced with a couple packs of post-it notes... there was no real trading going on

 

That's how it is most caches around here, unfortunately... someone always has to ruin it for others.

 

I think if you were to place/find more remote caches versus closer to civilization, you might find better quality in the swag

 

I just started geocaching but I've noticed that it's hit and miss in my area. I don't care too much about the swag except I like to bring my kids and they like to trade little toys and things so it's nice to find some clean half way decent items in the caches. Just like anything, I think as the popularity grows the quality goes down hill.

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I placed a cache in central Ohio called Just for the Kiddies GC2R3A1 filled with lots of goodies. Not that many people have visited the cache but somehow most of the good stuff was taken and trinkets left in its place. I have been there to fill the cache a couple of times already. So much for the trading even or up. I just wish others would maintain their caches, if only for the kids sake.

 

However, it does lend itself to a great teaching moment for your kids. Teaching them how to respect others, follow rules, etc. So much to learn for the little ones with geocaching. However, I do understand your frustration.

 

I hardly ever take anything from the caches but almost always add something. I used to put new toys in the caches to fill the empty ones but that was getting pretty expensive for me. Now I just add some bandaids in case someone might need one while out caching. I buy camouflag ones, sparkle ones, pacman, spiderman, etc. etc. I got an email from one mother that said I created a bandaid freak with her boy as she used one of the camouflag bandaids on a cut he had gotten in the woods and she wanted to know where I bought them because he only wanted the camouflag ones for his cuts. LOL At least someone appreciated my efforts. LOL

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The "swag game" in geocaching is essentially a myth (or perhaps a clever marketing ploy B)), if you think you will ever find anything of real value. The best reason to trade swag is to move stuff around, not to get something to keep for yourself. Some do find it fun to swap swag, but many don't bother with it after their first few months of caching.

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I was actually considering placing a "Kiddy" cache in my area for one of my first caches but reading about how the swag gets traded down so quickly has me rethinking it. It's a shame because my kids at least really seem to enjoy this and it's nice to have a "treasure" for them at the end. When my 2 year old comes along she's always saying "Treasure Hunt!". My 7 year old left something in one cache and said there wasn't anything he wanted but that's ok he would leave what he brought anyway. If a 7 year old gets it how come so many adults don't?

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I was actually considering placing a "Kiddy" cache in my area for one of my first caches but reading about how the swag gets traded down so quickly has me rethinking it. It's a shame because my kids at least really seem to enjoy this and it's nice to have a "treasure" for them at the end. When my 2 year old comes along she's always saying "Treasure Hunt!". My 7 year old left something in one cache and said there wasn't anything he wanted but that's ok he would leave what he brought anyway. If a 7 year old gets it how come so many adults don't?

Theres the enjoyment of knowing that the kids got some fun out of a cache like this. One gentleman left me $6 to replace the items his kids took as he didn't have anything to trade. That helped. I still get enjoyment from having this cache out, so don't let it discourage you. Your kids will learn alot from replenishing the cache with you I am sure. Sounds like your 7 year old already has learned. Good luck with your cache if you decide to put it out. I have enjoyed mine even tho I do get disgusted with the adults I do it for the kids.

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So far, I've never taken anything from a cache, although I try to leave something fairly often. I try to stay stocked up on items from the dollar store or target that are either useful or fun, and the caches I own, I try to keep stocked with decent quality items. But for the most part, the items I've found are junk, which I just remove from the caches I own. Not sure why people do it, putting decent quality swag in caches still makes the just about the cheapest hobby I've ever had. But I don't worry too much about it, I just make sure I'm happy with what I'm dropping in.

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I think it's unreasonable to put in more expensive items ($5/$10) and expect even trading. It's almost a tease to people who come along with kids.

 

We consider (unbroken) McD's toys or dollar store stuff perfectly reasonable swag. It's rocks from the path, soggy stickers, pen caps, broken toys, etc that we consider garbage, and that's what is in most caches. Or the cache container wasn't closed properly and everything is wet and moldy inside.

 

We've just taken to adding toys to caches that are empty or have crap in them, as long as it's reasonably dry. There's no point leaving a toy to molder in a wet cache. And the kids love trading swag too much to give up on it altogether. :)

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I too try to have fun things from the dollar store with me when I cache, simply because I do like to think about kids who might be out caching with their parents. I also like to leave shells and beach glass- things that I've collected on my trips to the ocean- because I can see items like those being of interest to people who might not live near the ocean. If I find an empty container (log book and nothing else but space), I'll often add a few things, just to give the next person something to choose from. Rarely do I take anything, unless it's something that really interests me. The only time I won't leave things is if the cache container is not weather-proof anymore or if the cache is obviously known by the non-geocachers and is continually emptied out.

 

But yes, generally I find that the items in caches around here (San Francisco area) are mostly garbage (hair ties, bandaids, handiwipes, actual garbage, etc.), inappropriate (condoms, tampons, etc.), or just random "oh shoot I should put something in the cache" items (nearby rocks, seeds from trees, and the ever-present coins... usually quarters or pennies).

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When I first started geocaching, I traded whenever I had an opportunity. But I got tired of moving junk around from one cache to another. Nothing has changed in the 5+ years since I started.

 

The only things I trade for now are personal signature items left by other geocachers. I leave one of my own trackable signature tokens for every cache I find, and leave small items (e.g., foreign coins, ceramic figures) in exchange for the signature items I take. Other than that, I don't trade.

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Holy cow! In my area there's pretty much zero swag. There used to be regular caches in the area (maybe there still are but I found them long ago) but anymore pretty much everything placed is a micro. When I started caching I always carried swag to leave in caches but these days there's no way to leave anything.

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I had a nice little surprise a few weeks ago. A micro cache I put out with no swag lost its lid, so I needed to replace the container. Next to the old container was a small toy lion, which I left where it was. I left a brand new log in the new container, so I never bothered to look completely inside the old one, but when I left and pulled out the old log, a tiny die fell out, just big enough to fit inside. Not often you get a cache in which the swag actually improves, especially one that did not have any swag to begin with, and a micro at that. :)

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It's pretty decent here in SD, but there's definitely the junk like hair ties and such. I usually leave behind something little such as die, or something small. I also trade things of course. Usually I trade and just move stuff to different caches. Occasionally I trade and keep the items I've evenly traded for. I've come across some really decent stuff and left really decent stuff in return. I enjoy the swag part of the game, but I'm still new so we'll see. :)

 

Tom Toad, I LOVE your signature and your avatar title!! Very clever. :)

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I put my ammo can out (7.62mm smaller box) and it was packed with about $30 worth of nice dollar store items, after day 1 of being published, almost everything was pirated out of my can and replaced with a couple packs of post-it notes... there was no real trading going on

 

Gonna be a while before we stop hearing about that, eh? :laughing:

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The majority is just junk, although there are a few that have a semblance of decent swag. Some of the stuff left is mystifying--a single lens from a pair of sunglasses, a rock that was clearly picked up off the ground, well used golf balls, crumpled stickers. What's the purpose?

 

I recently found a cache that also had a single lens from a pair of sunglasses. What's up with that? I usually don't take anything but I enjoy making survival bracelets and will usually leave one in caches that hold swag.

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Swag is lost on me. I've signed almost all of my logs the same way...TNSL. Although I'll take a cursory glance, I think swag is primarily for younger geocachers who love to see the "treasures within". I added a few little goodies when I initially hid my caches and I think it makes sense to put in interesting but low cost items for the kids. There are a few owners in my area that have spent very little yet have added really cool things that the wee ones go crazy for. I commend them for their efforts.

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My family and I are also new to geocaching and had noticed the swag issues. My daughter is still an infant and has been on every excursion with us and we document our outings with photos and a journal. We try to trade a trinket at each box so that when she gets older we can show her the "treasures" she has been there for. We have had our share of hits and misses but we bring with us a decent collection of goodies (cheap but clean and new) and place them into the boxes. We are planning to put out a letterbox hybrid because we like stamping into our journal and hope that even if the swag is not great on a given day the stamp will be there as a memento for people who visit our cache.

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SWAG hmmmmm, why does it go so bad - just look at the average kid in a shopping center check out line! We are doing kids no favor making SWAG a part of the game. Teach them to be observant on the way to a cache. Teach them the names of trees and plants and to enjoy nature. The cache being a tool to do that. We place all kinds of hides, but most are now our SWAG FREE type....

Edited by Frank Broughton
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SWAG hmmmmm, why does it go so bad - just look at the average kid in a shopping center check out line! We are doing kids no favor making SWAG a part of the game. Teach them to be observant on the way to a cache. Teach them the names of trees and plants and to enjoy nature. The cache being a tool to do that. We place all kinds of hides, but most are now our SWAG FREE type....

C'mon, Frank. Kids aren't interested in nature. They're only interested in video games and Facebook. Kids today can't give you the names of a dozen bird species but they can easily quadruple that in fashion logos. It's the promise of the swag that entices them to the cache. 2011 buddy...c'mon!

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I agree and disagree with the swag theory. It all depends on the kid I suppose. While I think the "fun" is in the journey to the cache and the hunt to find the cache, the swag within might be enough to entice otherwise uninterested children into partaking of this joyous activity. Just sayin' it could be used as a tool to introduce kids into nature without shocking them....haha

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I am lucky that I have a kid who doesn't play with his Wii and loves being outside all the time. Very active!!

 

My favorite part is the hunt once at the location, but I think I like the swag part as much as he does :)

 

The cache I found this morning had a few little trinkets in it, but my son didn't want any of it and we added a few to it. The one we found last night also had a few things in it, but also a hairband :)

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That's a classic lament I hear often, and have experienced myself: really poor quality SWAG in the caches.

 

I'm fortunate to be in that phase of my life where I realize I have everything I need, so I generally don't take anything from caches. At times, in a spurt of altruistic zeal, I will try to upgrade some of the neglected caches by replenishing them from the "SWAG bag" I carry in the back of my car. I have also decided to uplift my local area by planting caches close to home where I can monitor them frequently, and I often take out the junk and replace it with quality items. This results in the caches often getting "favorited" by visitor, as well as generating comments of appreciation from the community; more than enough reward for me.

 

There's a saying: "Be the change you'd like to see."

It really does pay off.

 

:rolleyes:

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I am very new to geocaching. I have only looked for a handful of caches so far and still have a lot to learn.

 

All of the caches I have looked for, with the exception of one, are container sizes. One reason is that I am new and the other reason is because I do this with my younger son, who loves finding the "prize". But, I have to say that while I leave nice, clean items in the container,that is not what we find in them most of the time. Examples are pacifiers, hairbows, pen lids, etc!

 

Is it the area I live in? Does this seem to happen to a lot of you out there?

 

I want to come up with a nice, fun signature "gift" to put in the caches I find, but hate not finding nice things in return. I don't expect expensive items of course, but would like to see nicer and cleaner swags.

 

If your suppose to replace the item you take with something equal or nicer, I would love to know what the person took who left a pacifier or hairbow? :huh:

 

Thanks in advance for the feedback.

 

How young is your son? When my kids were under 5 I could pre-find a cache to A: make sure it was there and B: had something worth finding.

 

The older they get the more they understand the benefit of a decent hide.

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My kids 9 & 10 love swag. They'll trade up every time. I've had my daughter trade money for sea shells. Value is in the eye of the beholder. My son (10 going on 11), has a treasure chest in his room. A while ago, I asked to see what was in it. It was full of rocks, sticks, rocks, marbles, broken pieces of glass, pebbles, rocks, found swag and some twisted pieces of metal. Did I mention rocks? Sure were a lot of rocks. That stuff was what he treasured. Things he found while we were doing things as a family. His money is in wads on the bookcase and dresser. He could care less for video games or TV (we don't watch TV).

 

So, when he finds a new hot wheels car or matchbox, it's something he is going to play with. Something he will use a lot. Something he'll remember for the next 30 or so years. I can ask him which cache he got which toy at and he can remember every single little detail about that day. When driving the car and pass a cache location, he'll blurt out how good it was by the swag content.

 

To me it is all about the swag. If looking for good swag locations, I've found parks and deep woods areas the best. Places the casual geocacher won't go.

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I live in the Portland area of Oregon. The bigger containers seem to have decent swag. I dont find a lot of trash in them. I always go to good will and buy the liek $25 dollar containers of random trinkets/swag in them that you can find by the jewelry. Which comes with like 60 things, its really nice for swag trading. I often just leave like 5 things at a decent cache with good swag and not take anything. But I also only cache in the suburbia area which I don't know if that makes a difference compared to forest caching. I know a lot of kids do this with there folks so I tend to leave stuff for them and mark "For the children" on the swag.

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What any one person will consider "worth finding" is rather subjective, so that's kind of hard to answer directly. The swag I've seen has mostly been stuff that might interest kids. But sometimes you'll come across an item that just makes you wonder. Like a new 16' measuring tape I saw (and left behind) in a cache. (Had I not just bought one, and had I something worth trading for that, I would have traded for it.) About the only real trade I've done was to swap an out of state keychain for a bobber that I placed in another cache.

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I'm really new to this too and so far have only found two 'swag' filled caches. I was pathetically excited to search through the treasure and decide on something to take. Nothing special as such - a plastic keyring and a small flower pin - but I plan on having a treasure chest at home for all my things - yes, I'm 31 and I don't have any plans on growing up!

 

Yes, there were some weird things in there that made us wonder what through the minds of the people who left it (shells, battery and an acorn came to mind), but then again, they are momentoes of the day and should it really matter what you get? I left some hand made goodies - keyrings, jewellery, greetings cards - as I am so pleased to find an outlet for all my crafty hobbies. I hope they will be liked by future finders. I also left stickers and toys. But everything I leave I put in a small plastic bag so that it doesn't get damp.

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What any one person will consider "worth finding" is rather subjective, so that's kind of hard to answer directly. The swag I've seen has mostly been stuff that might interest kids. But sometimes you'll come across an item that just makes you wonder. Like a new 16' measuring tape I saw (and left behind) in a cache. (Had I not just bought one, and had I something worth trading for that, I would have traded for it.) About the only real trade I've done was to swap an out of state keychain for a bobber that I placed in another cache.

 

That's a nice swag item but it would be something I'd hesitate to put into anything but an ammo can. Water will rust the tape measure up in no time.

 

That's the other problem with good swag items. I too do not carry expensive swag to trade. I suppose I could guessimate that the tape measure costs at least $5 and put 3 $2 items in the cache but then the cache swag starts to look cheap. Sometimes I guesstimate that something costs a lot, $5 or more so I don't trade. Then the next time I'm at the dollar store I see that item on the shelf for a buck. It's hard to know the value of something unless the person who dropped it off leaves the price tag on it.

Edited by Lone R
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I left some hand made goodies - keyrings, jewellery, greetings cards - as I am so pleased to find an outlet for all my crafty hobbies.

 

I'm with you on that. I leave handcrafted swag too. I like how it personalizes the game and makes it a little more creative.

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I've only been caching since my first find at the beginning of July this year and even though there was nothing "awful" about the stuff I was finding, unless the cache had been damaged and was waterlogged, I quickly decided that I would only trade for geocaching-related items. This is severely limiting since most of the truly nice things I've found were activated trackables and as a beginner I'm just beginning to purchase and collect my own cache-related items for trading. Nevertheless, I have had a really magnificent Vietnam War Commemorative geocoin pass through my hands as I helped it on the next leg of its journey, and have traded for a Caching On The Appalachian Trail In Georgia lapel pin. I've also moved along several travel bugs and sent one out myself. I try to carry small items that aren't really costly, but are of some artistic merit like the mint condition Southern Pacific Railroad lapel pin I traded once, and other items of this kind. While I recognize that I've more-or-less assured myself that I won't do much trading at all, I'm okay with that since the thrill of the hunt and the find is the main draw for me anyway. Well, and having an excuse to get out and travel and explore new places. But with a slowly ( . . . alright . . . glacially . . . ) growing collection of geocaching-related stuff and a few higher quality items at hand when I'm out on the search, if I DO run across anything worthwhile, I try to be ready.

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What any one person will consider "worth finding" is rather subjective, so that's kind of hard to answer directly. The swag I've seen has mostly been stuff that might interest kids. But sometimes you'll come across an item that just makes you wonder. Like a new 16' measuring tape I saw (and left behind) in a cache. (Had I not just bought one, and had I something worth trading for that, I would have traded for it.) About the only real trade I've done was to swap an out of state keychain for a bobber that I placed in another cache.

 

That's a nice swag item but it would be something I'd hesitate to put into anything but an ammo can. Water will rust the tape measure up in no time.

 

That's the other problem with good swag items. I too do not carry expensive swag to trade. I suppose I could guessimate that the tape measure costs at least $5 and put 3 $2 items in the cache but then the cache swag starts to look cheap. Sometimes I guesstimate that something costs a lot, $5 or more so I don't trade. Then the next time I'm at the dollar store I see that item on the shelf for a buck. It's hard to know the value of something unless the person who dropped it off leaves the price tag on it.

 

Didn't check for a price tag, but there may well have been one. (It was attached to the manufacturer's card as it would have been in the store.) And while it was an ammo box, it was a plastic one rather then a metal military surplus one. From the log comments since it either seems to be holding up well or well maintained, though it isn't quite a year old yet. :) (Might be one of those MTM Ammo Cans I've seen on Amazon, or at least something similar.)

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I'm not sure what's wrong with people. One person in my area actually had to nerve to write in their log "took (item)/ left nothing". I would be ashamed.

 

Was that a trackable by any chance?

 

No. It was a toy. Not that small toys and trinkets cost much, only the idea behind them that counts.

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My son is 13 now...We started caching in 2007 (on an old account that the ex now has, for those of you who notice my "member since" date). My son loved finding swag when he was younger. Now he just enjoys the find and occasionally will see something he will trade for. Overall he sees it just like I do....We make sure to take out all the trash and clean up the container if need be and we ALWAYS leave something for the next person to find if there is room. He knows what it was like to find a cache full of dirt and junk. If we make things better for just one fellow cacher (no matter how old) that's all that counts for us. My son does love his high tech gadgets and "2011" stuff like someone earlier said BUT he also has learned a lot while out geocaching. Names of trees, plants and wildlife in our forests and canyons nearby, what Poison Oak looks like and has pointed it out to many that were not paying attention. He knows the importance of having his 10 Essentials (and more) and I have taught him many life saving techniques while out geocaching. The "Swag" might get them out there, which is why we leave what we can for the next person and try to clean it up for them, but it is also what the next cacher learns while they are out there that also counts.

 

A clean cache is a happy cache. :grin:

 

We love this game!

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I used to carry odds and ends of interest for trade but seldom do so anymore, although if I take my daughter with me she always wants something, so we take some stuff along. I always try and move trackables along though.

I used to put some decent items in my own caches, I once had a cache listing refused as one of the swag items was a penknife!

 

Most of the items I see in caches round here are pretty rubbish. Where are the cache police when you need them?

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My son is 13 now...We started caching in 2007 (on an old account that the ex now has, for those of you who notice my "member since" date).

 

How common is that? Losing custody of your geocaching account in a divorce settlement! :o That would make an interesting episode of Judge Judy. :blink:

No "divorce settlement". :P Just one of the many things you have to start over again. :) And actually....I have found that there are many that have had to open new accounts because of a split.....and it is allowed for those who may find the need to do so one day.

 

Now if I could just find new friends to go geocaching with!!!

 

Hope everyone has had a great start to a beautiful weekend. :)

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My son loves some of the crap he finds. McDonalds toys are just fine. We make sure we leave something of equal value. Frequently he picks up a toy, plays for a few weeks then places it in the next one.

 

My wife pulled an ipod (working?) out of a cache. I made her put it back as we had nothing of that value to trade for it. A week later the river nearby overflowed and the whole cache was lost.

 

Shaun

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I've been caching for about six months, so I still consider myself very much a newbie. My adult son and I go out together. We've taken some of our Girl Scouts out a couple of times, and plan a full day trip with them to earn the new Geocaching Badge soon. Yes. The fun is mostly in the hunt, and in the interesting hides one finds. All of our girls say so. However, let me be the first adult to be brave enough to admit that I enjoy swag. It's not so much about collecting something of value that I really need. It's just fun to sort through and see what all is there. Some of the items are really creative. Yes, some of them are pure junk. We've even removed a couple of definitely adult items from a cache or two. Many cachers seem to enjoy collecting geo-coins and signature items. My son and I are considering making our own signature card or geo-coin. We, too carry swag to pep up the contents. I do collect swag for now, because I want to be able to show our girls a sample of what's out there. I think down the road I'll be one of theose signature item collectors. I don't think it's fair, however, to expect people on a routine basis to leave really cool $20 items in the cache just because they don't have anything that valuable to replace it with. That's asking for a lot of will power (not like we've ever been lucky enough to discover such an item). What may seem like junk to one person will seem pretty cool to the next. For example, we've loved it the two times we found patches as swag. Others would see no use for them at all. Didn't swag start out as trading something you had in your pocket for whatever the cache might hold? It's the playful illusion of treasure in this modern day treasure hunt game we've all become addicted to. I'm not about to let a few bad apples spoil the whole thing for me.

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I am new to this, have been reading about it for a long time but just started doing it with my 3 kids. I understand and respect the practice of leaving something equal to or better than what you take. But from what I'm reading in this thread, it sounds like many people are way too snobby about something as simple and supposedly fun as swag. We are doing this as a fun, healthy and "mostly" free family activity. I'm always hearing adults complain about how "kids these days" don't appreciate anything and have to have high dollar electronics to be happy. Yet, it sounds like this is exactly the type of thinking many are encouraging. Well, my kids might think a rock they found on a family day out geocaching is special. If my child wanted to leave it, I would let them because it means something to me and I'm not going to tell them it's crap. My kids are thrilled to find tiny but cheap objects because it was found after a wonderful hunt and we leave dollar store items in return (and not even $1 EACH). Would I take an ipod or a cell phone? Hell no. But who in the world would leave that type of thing and expect the same in return? If this activity is turning into yet another way to keep up with the Joneses, then that is a sad commentary on our way of life.

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