I borrowed the above picture when surfing flickr yesterday. I was trying to get my mind to a "good" place. She looks like she is going a little crazy, lost, and trying to figure out what to do next like me. You see I was a little bit miffed over a matter that seems to happen at one point or another to those of us trusting enough to join swaps. For the most part my participation has been positive. Sure I have had the occasional "straggler" here and there. The person for whom deadlines are just a sort of general"guideline" that does not necessarily apply to them. You have to nudge, beg, threaten them to get things on their way. They act surprised when you comment or ask them whats taking so long. One of the swaps I was recently in, a tag swap, Marie Antoinette to be specific, is still waiting on people. I wonder if some of these participants who make everyone wait on them suffer from what my mother used to say "Their eyes being bigger than their stomach".
They sign up for numerous swaps, envisioning that they will pump out one after another, and be able to fulfill all these commitments. Some may be able to do it, some will start off with a lot of steam then peter out leaving some waiting for months, or never completing them. I know I have mentioned names on previous posts, and yes, there are still people waiting for tags, a good two month past the close of the swap! Shameful really.
This is bad enough, these stragglers as I call them (and no you do not get to blame the post office, your life, the dog, the truth is you are just being rude and inconsiderate). When you "promise" and that is what this is, a "promise" that you agreed to, because the truth is no one made you sign up, you should act like a responsible adult and follow thru.
So many abuse the kindness, and patience of others. It is silly really these "swappers" are supposed to be adults. If their children, Employer or a Politician acted like this they would be irritated and upset. So why is it they feel they can do this to other people? The Hostess is not your "Mother" they should not have to spend countless emails and time trying to coax you to do what you promised. I am appalled when I find out that people are still waiting on these people, these stragglers, shame, shame, shame.
I hate having to "nag, cajole, and beg" someone to get my swap, but often there is little recourse. If I don't they will just stall or worse, "FLAKE".
What can I say about Flaker's that does not make me want to wretch? Seriously, it is like stealing but asking and saying "please" first. Yes I said STEALING, because taking something with no thought, or real intention of paying for it, (and doing your part is the payment), is STEALING! If I say I will give you a candy bar for a dollar, and you take the candy, eat it and never give me the dollar, you have stolen the candy plain and simple. If you say I will make you oh say, a fan, in exchange for one you make, and I do not make one for you as promised and take the one you made me it is the same thing. What if you say you did the work and it was lost in the mail? Does that excuse you ? Hmmm did saying the dog ate your homework work in school? No, it didn't? Then it doesn't work here either.
More offensive is when a Swap Partner decides not to communicate. Sure things happen, stuff gets lost in the mail, delivered to the wrong place, etc. but how is your partner to know when there is no communication? Of course you can always contact the Hostess of the swap, putting them in the middle, but really is this their responsibility? Personally I would be embarrassed if someone had to involve the hostess because I was not adult enough to address the matter, and work out a solution myself. Yet so many times I hear of people who do this. Take the item then bail. Leaving you empty handed and the Hostess with a bad taste for ever hosting a swap again.
This has happened to me very recently, and frankly I felt like I wanted to start or find a website where these people can be exposed and stopped. As luck would have it I think I have. So ladies if you, like myself have been afraid to sign up for a swap because you have been burned you may wish to join this group:
I also would suggest this site if you are thinking of hosting a swap since they only allow members to participate. They keep a close eye out for flakers. The rules are pretty generous with one exception "NO FLAKING" if you ever do, (I think it also applies to communication and timely mailing), you are banned!
If I had any advice for future swappers it would be to trust your gut feelings. I had confided to a friend early in the swap that I had reservations about my partner, with regards to this swap in question, and told her about the total lack of communication, and seeming carelessness of the person I was paired with. I even thought of holding onto my work until I received hers, but I wanted to fulfill my part of the swap and not be late in mailing it out. Now I wish I had trusted my gut. The lady has my work and I have nothing. She has not returned one email. The hostess even contacted her and requested a solution, still nothing. Now it could be that this person will try to make this right, perhaps she will even make good, but the total lack of communication indicates otherwise. So I chalk this one up to a learning experience. Although I have to tell you if I see her name anywhere on a swap list that I would consider I will have no qualms in letting the hostess know. Alright I just had to let that out. Please respect that these are my opinions, mine alone. Although I know that others have had these problems too hence the Swap-Bot and Yahoo groups (there is a Yahoo group too!).