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Greetings - I am relatively new to geocaching so excuse my ignorance here...I have found that the contents of many caches are what a friend of mine refers to as plastic junk. We made up packets of toys and new items including signature pieces but find broken and old stuff including hand me down McDonald's toys, etc. etc. Is this the norm? Around our immediate area - where we obviously started - we were happy with the items but I'll just log my finds and move on if this is what is usual. Thanks for the feedback! Happy geocaching all. Lady Bug Lady

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You'll find that in any game, and in life that there are people who feel they're above the rules.

 

So I guess what I'm saying is:

 

The crappy stuff like broken toys are definately looked down upon.

 

The crappy stuff really isn't how most people trade, but it seems that there's a fair ammount of people in every area that use caches as garbage cans.

 

If you put some good stuff in a cache, the good stuff may just multiply...

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I think that some of the old toys and plastic junk is a result of some of the "Ubercachers." Some of these people have found 2,000 caches. If they spent $5 per trade prize that would add up to $10,000 in trading pieces alone.

 

I had talked with another geocacher about this, since it is my practice to leave AA batteries in every cache I visit. You know, for the next person's GPS, if they want them. I mentioned how spendy it might get if I kept it up and he said he believed that the "ubercachers" just kept 10 items that they rotated around, using them to trade constantly, and taking new items just to put them in the next cache. Basically, they still swap, but they're really taking nothing and leaving nothing.

 

All in all, I've decided to keep leaving my batteries, and forget about "fat lewts." The hunt is reward enough for me.

 

However, in a perfect world, it would be nice if it was more treasure hunt than "tupperware of trash" hunt.

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The best way I have found to handle this is to do two things.

 

1. Get involved with your local caching group. You will be able to discuss this with the people who set up the caches in your area. You will also be able to see what kind of stuff is most desireable so you don't spend money on stuff that others don't think much of.

 

2. Always leave something nice behind. If you lead by example, caches will tend to improve. Also if the members of the local group see this as a problem, and most of us do, then the quality of all members' trade items will tend to improve.

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Echo...Echo....Echo...

 

Like others have said...

 

Here's what you do:

1) Don't expect to find anything great

2) Be in this for the fun of it

3) Leave nice things and watch the cache for the next finder so you can see what he/she had to say about your item (wow, took a great....)

4) Realize that you will probably not affect what others do and how they behave (hate to sound pessimistic, but I'm being a realist)

 

If you head out with this in mind you will never be disappointed. When you do find something nice, it will be that much more of a surprise.

 

Oh, let me say that you can't blame this on the "uber-cachers". There are many in my area that have 1,500 + finds and leave nice things every time.

 

Don't let this spoil your fun, though. For me it's fun to be searching for and finding things that are under otehr people's noses.

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My general rule of trades is, "The harder a cache is to find or get to, the better the item(s) that I leave behind and expect to find."

 

If I'm going to hit a 1/1 cache in a park I usually leave good items that I have laying around or that I've gotten out of previous caches. However, if I'm hiking up to a 4/4 (etc) I may go so far as to buy something totally new and of good quality.

 

If there's one item, thoug, that I hate to find in a cache, it's a filthy old golf ball.

Edited by Black Mage
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I only take stuff if the kids are with me, and it's always trading up. Don't expect to find anything of value, though. All this talk of trading up pretty much only lasts until the next person gets there...

Do it for the hunt/exercise/finding that excellent spot right up the road you've never seen before :blink:

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If there's one item, thoug, that I hate to find in a cache, it's a filthy old golf ball.

Found one today. All beat up old golf balls do is hold the lid open to let moisture in and ruin everything else.

 

I think the broken toys come from from kids who are trading and don't understand that broken doesn't equal new.

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I recently ordered some stuff, cool buttons from honeychile's company and some stuff from that Walk Softly (name changed to avoid promotion on forum, if you don't know who I mean, email me).

now, they don't cost much, the buttons were approx 55¢ and the items from the other website were even less expensive, but I still think they are cool. Little decals that only cost 30¢-50¢ or so, but that are outdoors related. :blink:

I really really like the buttons though, especially the smaller ones, as they fit in most micros...not nanos, but micros (which we actually call minis in our house. Micros are even smaller than altoids, as we all know :ph34r: )

sooo, if you are curious, or have found similar stuff that geocachers might like for the nice price, please email me.

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I think that if I found a cache full of total junk I would clean it out, even if that only left two or three items in it, just so other newbie cachers don't think junk is the normal trade.

I've been using cheap 'biners mostly (ones not for climbing). I've always found them useful and I can get 10 for $8.00 at the surplus store, so they are cheap but a nice find.

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I was thumbing through my cache page the other night and discovered a horrible situation.

 

When I was first introduced to geocaching, MAN! I thought this was the greatest thing! I still do, but have learned alot about trades personally and on the forums.

 

My first twenty to thirty finds I have seen that I have left collectors items that are vulnerable in moist conditions. I had placed Dale Earnhardt cards in most of these caches, some in ziplocs, some not. The price value of each card ranged anywhere from $12 to $50. I wanted other cache finders to look through the "loot" and hopefully pick my cards out. For the first year or so ( I still look back), I beat up my keyboard looking and hoping that some future cacher took my trade item first.

 

Now, as I look back, I see that I have went through a fortune of my collection only to find that they weren't the first pick. Or the second. Or the third.

 

Water damaged some of the containers, and you guessed it. The pricey Earnhardts succumbed to the moisture as well. Not all of the cards perished, but a few did.

 

I don't place the cardboard collector pieces anymore, go figure.

 

Upon finding a cache, I used to take an item, but I don't anymore. I still leave something always. I still am in hopes that someone will pick what I leave, and I put alot of thought in my trade item.

 

Goes back to the old saying "it all lies in the eye of the beholder".

 

If you like something in a cache-take it. Leave something in it's place that you think will suffice.

 

If nothing suits you, then sign the log and move to the next cache. Surely you'll find one that has what you're looking for.

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2. Always leave something nice behind. If you lead by example, caches will tend to improve. Also if the members of the local group see this as a problem, and most of us do, then the quality of all members' trade items will tend to improve.

Wishful thinking. :D

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I left a bunch of marbles in one cache recently and someone found it later and said that their kid took the marbles and liked them. That made me happier than me finding any 1-3$ item.

 

I'm still on the lookout for something cheap yet cool that I can leave in caches. If anyone has suggestions on what has worked for them let me know. I cant afford to drop 20 dollars a day filling caches hehe.

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I left a bunch of marbles in one cache recently and someone found it later and said that their kid took the marbles and liked them. That made me happier than me finding any 1-3$ item.

 

I'm still on the lookout for something cheap yet cool that I can leave in caches. If anyone has suggestions on what has worked for them let me know. I cant afford to drop 20 dollars a day filling caches hehe.

Try Ebay's Wholesale lots section. In there, I have been able to get precision screwdriver sets, mini fm radios and glow sticks for under $2/unit. They come in various sized lots, and I just buy one a year of some item that looks good and use it as my trade item for the season and supplement that with smaller items that I find in other caches and use to trade into caches that are too small for my item. Seems to work pretty well.

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One man's junk is another man's treasure. My son recently traded a brand new baseball for an old, worn out one. He was thrilled. Same goes for other stuff that in my mind's eye is total junk. The kids were thrilled.

 

From an adult point of view, it's nice to find something cool or useful (I try to have something worthy of trading that I bring along in case this happens), but generally it's just the kids that get excited about the cache contents.

 

I wish more adults would consider trading, instead of just TNLN. I personally will occasionally take a McToy and replace it with a book or CD (used, but in good shape) just to start the ball rolling. Maybe I will do that more often, instead of just letting the kids trade.

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The Boot Group kids just love the novelty of the whole sport. They are happy to get a McToy or a used matchbox car. They will trade with something similar. If, however, they pick something that is new, and in packaging, we leave behind something better. If we notice that the cache is mostly filled with "kid" stuff, we try to leave something that an adult may like. No matter what it's just good fun to hike in the woods and find a treasure box.

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I think that some of the old toys and plastic junk is a result of some of the "Ubercachers."  Some of these people have found 2,000 caches.  If they spent $5 per trade prize that would add up to $10,000 in trading pieces alone.

 

That's a pretty broad statement for people you don't know and I've seen you make it a couple of times. Let's set the record straight... I personally know more than a handful of ubercachers and they are nothing like the way you describe. In point of fact they have taken to leaving some fairly nice signature items including personalized and numbered coins. They trade only if there is an item that interests them and then they usually trade up.

 

==edited to fix my statement==

Edited by TotemLake
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