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Gold or Garbage? The cache hider's dilemma


Rigour
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I see an occasional thread about people wishing caches contained less McCrap, a view I well understand.

 

As a general rule I work hard to "trade up" if I can. On a good portion of my finds, I take nothing and leave something. Sometimes I take nothing because I see nothing I want - at other times I take something and replace it with something which is physically smaller, not because I want the object, but mainly to make room in the cache.

 

I personally take pride when the booty nuggets I leave are grabbed by the next visitor - that's a sign I've done what I wanted to do.

 

When setting a cache, my thoughts are usually like this:

1. In terms of "prizes", that is really more something that kids are interested in, so I try to make sure that my cache contains stuff kids will like.

2. For the adults, I want to leave nice stuff, but not TOO nice, because I'm always afraid the cache will get looted. So I try more for what I'd call "neat" stuff - things that may not cost a lot, but which are kinda cool.

 

My question to the group, and specifically to cache placers, is: does the fear of looting also discourage you from leaving great booty?

 

By the time I get the container, log book, booty, etc in place, I'm usually out the best part of $20. I'd LIKE to leave better booty, but if a $50 cache went missing, well, that would kind of tick me off.

 

Also, I notice there's a kind of phenomenon of "cache deflation". People generally don't EXPECT that the cache will contain nice stuff, so they don't bring nice stuff to trade. So you could start with a great pile of booty to begin with but chances are within a few visits it would look largely as if you'd started with McCrap anyway.

 

I'm interested in what others think about this. I agree 100% that it's about the hunt not the prizes, but still... what possible good are all this crap to anyone? Is there some way we could do better?

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I try to leave things that cachers could actually make use of, when I place caches.

 

I stocked up a cache box yesterday, with the following: plastic mini ice scrapers (useful here in about four months), a metal match container, hand warmer pads (the kind that heat up when you activate them), an emergency whistle, and other various outdoor items.

 

I also included a $1.99 grabbag of plastic dinosaurs, for those who like taking that sort of thing icon_biggrin.gif

 

Fear of looting doesn't dissuade me; lack of extra money does. I'm planning to put some "nice" (read: "expensive") items in more difficult caches that I place.

 

snazzsig.jpg

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I try to leave things that cachers could actually make use of, when I place caches.

 

I stocked up a cache box yesterday, with the following: plastic mini ice scrapers (useful here in about four months), a metal match container, hand warmer pads (the kind that heat up when you activate them), an emergency whistle, and other various outdoor items.

 

I also included a $1.99 grabbag of plastic dinosaurs, for those who like taking that sort of thing icon_biggrin.gif

 

Fear of looting doesn't dissuade me; lack of extra money does. I'm planning to put some "nice" (read: "expensive") items in more difficult caches that I place.

 

snazzsig.jpg

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I go for the (hopefully) cool stuff that's not too pricey. In our area, $2 is about tops on most of the cache loot pieces, although occasionally you'll see something really nice.

 

Sometimes I include "mom" sort of things -- like individually packed wetwipes which are great if you've run into pine tar or just need a refreshing way to wipe the sweat from the brow.

 

Tiny individual bottles of water are also nice in the summer, although these would not be appropriate where they might freeze. Usually they are traded out right away, but I put them in a ziploc in case they sit there for a while.

 

I'm making buttons right now as cache loot. I figure they would look cool at a geocaching meeting or stuck on a hat or backpack or just collected (I have a dozen designs or more). You can see them by clicking here. These are remarkably inexpensive to make and are well-received.

 

-honeychile-

 

'*+.,_,.+*'`'*+.,_A joyful heart is good medicine!_,.+*'`'*+.,_,.+*'`

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I like to bring a whole bag of goodies with me from the cheap (McToys from other caches), to the nice, to the homemade, to the stuff out of my costume jewelry drawer. When I get to the cache, I trade fairly and usually try to make room in it as well as I can depending on how full my bag of goodies is. I wear a small belly bag with a jug of H2O, a camera, binoculars, sometimes flashlight and all the cache items, etc.... And sometimes I grab stuff at the store I think I'd like to find in a cache. I picked up a tiny clip art atercolor color kit from a cache the other day, it's a kid's item, but I had a wonderful time painting a tiny picture of a wolf I know, with the tiny little paint and the tiny little brush, so you never know what will make people happy.

Planet

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Wow, those are really beautiful, nice work!

 

I'd like to start a custom of business card sized geocachers trading cards. Pretty easy to make fancy ones with your computer and card stock, or even easier making plainer ones at the stationer.

 

Trade one you have a dup of with one you don't have yet at each cache. No great loss if they get looted. Put your geocaching name and ID on it and some hometown or area information.

 

If you are artistic, offer a design to a local cacher to help get the custom started.

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or McToys are pretty easy to come up with. For more adult fare, I usually leave or stock a cache with things like:

 

Used cd's, either my own or purchased from a used cd store (these usually get taken first and seem to be a "hot" item). I like finding them in other caches too.

 

Used Nintendo/Gameboy/Playstation games

Disposable cameras

Lotto tickets

US $$

Foregin $$

Movie Passes

Home Depot Gift Card with maybe like $20 on it

Pre-paid long distance cards with like $20 on it

Small flashlights for the car

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I like the idea of having a signature item. That is, something unusual and useful that you always leave when you visit a cache. One of the cachers in this area (NE PA) leaves small bottles of water. I leave insect repellant towlettes.

 

Come up with something useful and easily within your budget and you'll always be trading up.

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Around the Portland area where we usually cache we tend to find a lot of "junk." Just today there was a cahe that had rocks in it. What's up with that. We just took a trip up into Washington and went to some remote type caches. These had better items than we have seen before. I think the decreased likelyhood they would be found by an alien and the lower traffic added to the value of the items in the cache. I fill a whole pocket on my backpack with a whole range of cache items so there are always a variety to trade with.

 

Just couldn't take those rocks though. I know there will be a big time rock collector right behind me.

 

icon_wink.gif

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Around the Portland area where we usually cache we tend to find a lot of "junk." Just today there was a cahe that had rocks in it. What's up with that. We just took a trip up into Washington and went to some remote type caches. These had better items than we have seen before. I think the decreased likelyhood they would be found by an alien and the lower traffic added to the value of the items in the cache. I fill a whole pocket on my backpack with a whole range of cache items so there are always a variety to trade with.

 

Just couldn't take those rocks though. I know there will be a big time rock collector right behind me.

 

icon_wink.gif

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Geocaching can get a bit expensive if you're as obsessive about it as some of us. I usually only take very inexpensive stuff from caches. Mostly pins. Probably half of the time or more, I take nothing, leave something small. The rest of the time it's take a small item, leave a better item or two equivalent items (1-for-2).

 

When my kids come along, it's usually take a McToy, leave a small, nicer item. My son (Curly Tiger) will usually take a golf ball if he finds one. You really can't trade down for an old golf ball...

 

Funny how little kids actually WANT some of the stuff the adults are always complaining about. I think I'll go find a preschool class to visit every 1/1 cache in the area and clean out all the McToys and plastic jewelry...

 

25021_1200.gif

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I'll admit it--I'm an adult and I almost always make a trade in a cache. I usually like to find something cool or unusual. Today I found a brain . . it's one of those foam stress balls, shaped like a brain, given out by some medical rep as a promo for some drug. Cool.

 

But I'll admit, I feel like I'm sort of stuck in a rut. My trade bag usually contains a few disposable ponchos, some pin-on compasses and my lighthouse pins (signature item). I'm glad to read some new ideas here. As the winter months set on, I'll try to pick up some of those hand warmers.

 

Bret

 

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.

When a man found it, he hid it again." Mt. 13:44

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quote:
Originally posted by Rigour:

I personally take pride when the booty nuggets I leave are grabbed by the next visitor - that's a sign I've done what I wanted to do.


 

Interesting... My first few finds I left a DVD and a nice ratcheting screwdriver from Home Depot. I was kinda ticked when the person behind me took both and left a buck...

 

Maybe your way of thinking is better. Someone behind me thought "Wow, someone left something cool!"

 

I like to always leave something. Tho if it's small I won't mention it my my log (tnln) I collect pins so that's what I always take, and I always leave some sort of stuffed something (my latest being those stuffed Cardinals they sell at REI, where you squeeze their *** and they chirp...)

 

geosig.jpg

Contents Under Pressure...

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I like to try and swap something each time I go to a new cache, even if I just end up rotating stuff between caches. I think it would be a thrill for someone to find one of their items in a cache they have never visited. Although I haven't placed a cache myself yet, I am in the process of getting one together to put out in the wild. The stuff I am putting in I feel I am giving away so I don't really expect alot in return so if people swap down it won't worry me. I will probably even keep the cache topped up with goodies so future visitors have a good time.

 

When I visit a cache I have to admit I sometimes swapup and sometimes swap down. Or at least that how it feels. As has already been mentioned, one mans trash is another mans treasure so I think it all evens out in the end. How even, there are some caches around here where the contents literally are: half of an old vibrator, an empty packet of cigarettes, a tampon and a few other odds and ends. In this cache we left a few goodies and took nothing.

 

For those that "took nothing, left nothing" at every cache, remember that the creators of the cache left that stuff there for you to take and it adds to their thrill to see you found something nice and decided to swap it. I think I would feel like someone rejected a present I gave them if they left my cache without taking anything. After all, it is part of the game.

 

Just my 2 cents. Tony.

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quote:
Originally posted by Acceptable Risk:

 

Interesting... My first few finds I left a DVD and a nice ratcheting screwdriver from Home Depot. I was kinda ticked when the person behind me took both and left a buck...


 

Keep in mind the person may be new to caching and they didn't really have all that much to trade or weren't expecting anything that good in the cache. When we first started we had nothing and had to run around the house to find a few nick-nacks so we would have something at least to leave. We had no idea of what would be in the cache so we didn't know the value of goodies to take. Having said that, we now have a box full of goodies that we have traded at caches and of stuff that we have brought for out new cache (coming soon). We often trade objects around between caches so I guess in the end we take very little ourselves. Topping up the neglected caches, take from the rich and give to the poor sort of thing.

 

Of course, the other theory is the person was a bastard. icon_wink.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by Acceptable Risk:

 

Interesting... My first few finds I left a DVD and a nice ratcheting screwdriver from Home Depot. I was kinda ticked when the person behind me took both and left a buck...


 

Keep in mind the person may be new to caching and they didn't really have all that much to trade or weren't expecting anything that good in the cache. When we first started we had nothing and had to run around the house to find a few nick-nacks so we would have something at least to leave. We had no idea of what would be in the cache so we didn't know the value of goodies to take. Having said that, we now have a box full of goodies that we have traded at caches and of stuff that we have brought for out new cache (coming soon). We often trade objects around between caches so I guess in the end we take very little ourselves. Topping up the neglected caches, take from the rich and give to the poor sort of thing.

 

Of course, the other theory is the person was a bastard. icon_wink.gif

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Stolen idea from the "Are others doing this?" thread:

On your way to a cache, do a quickie-hide of something worth a bit more than the usual, let's say a dollar. Pin it to a tree maybe. Or be more creative with the prize.

Write down the coords on a card and leave it with your log entry at the cache when you get to it.

This is a one-time, for-the-next-finder bonus prize.

If you don't find the cache, or do and think that it is lame or susceptiple to looting, take it back.

This gives you a little extra caching activity (the quickie hide), a little extra caching activity for the next finder (which is the real prize), a sense of spreading good will to your fellow cachers especially local ones, and minimizes looting-exposure of your gifts.

Add this to your trade-up policy at the cache.

If you maintain a cache and it's easy to do so, refill your bonus prize with different locations after each find, or just periodically.

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When I place my caches I try to think of everyone involved. 1) An interesting hike or location, something off the beaten path, for those who like the hunt. 2) Kids like to trade most and I always include kid stuff, usually not junk, but something with a lot of "geewiz". 3) Most of my caches start out with great items but get traded down quickly. What's odd is it isn't usually the local that trade down, but newbies and out of towners. I had a recent cache that I placed that had a $30 pair of binoculars in it. The first guy to find it was from out of town and he traded silly putty for the binoculars and even logged it that way.

The other thing that I put in all my caches, micros included, are custom numbered cache cards. Usually about 20, thats what alot of the folks around here really go for.

 

He who angers you, controls you.

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