Wednesday, March 14, 2007

ATC Swaps, Lost In Mail, Damaged In Mail, Not Received, Etc.

I am annoyed and disappointed. I found out that one of my ATC swaps that I did through Swap-bot was lost in the mail. I finished and sent out a bunch of envelopes on one day about five weeks ago.

I keep records of what I send out and when. If I didn’t do this I’d never remember everything!

First I got a message from one person saying that my envelope was received all shredded up with the ATCs of mine in a plastic bag. The USPS had a note saying that it was accidentally damaged. That swapper was relieved that miraculously the ATCs were all there and in fine condition. She said it didn’t appear to be anything wrong with my envelope. The envelope had just two ATCs in it, which were inside of a greeting card in normal greeting card envelope. The ATCs were flat and the whole envelope was thin.

I was happy to hear that envelope did make it.

Then last week I found out that a swapper on Swap-bot rated me a “1--nothing received”. That was a surprise as I had sent it out over four weeks prior. I double checked my records and I did send it out. Other people in that swap received my ATCs in fine condition and way back when I sent them out. I also had sent those out ten days before the due date.

I corresponded with the person and explained that I really did send them. I also offered to make new ones. I had made original collages with source materials. After a couple of day she wrote to me to apologize and removed the rating. Although she says I don’t have to make new ATCs, I definitely will. Since they were original concepts and not “assembly line” ones it is not so easy to just bang them out in a few minutes. When I am done meeting deadlines I have right now I will make those for her.

Meanwhile I have been stiffed by two different Swap-bot members.

It seems that one person is ticking off a lot of people. She signed up for numerous swaps. She then did not send them out. She then deleted her profile, so no one can send her a message through the Swap-bot system. We can see her rating is down to a 3.0 but we cannot view the actual ratings that the members gave her, which annoys me. Also I worry that she is still able to sign up for new swaps. This person also stiffed the person who did not receive MY swap. So that person is mad that she got nothing from two people for the same swap—I can understand her frustration.

There is another person who is not being a good swap partner to me. I have been on the receiving end of her four times. The first time the swap was very late but she sent a note that she was sick. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and rated her a 5, even though technically she did not follow the swap rules.

The next two times I got her swaps postmarked ten days after the swap deadline, with no excuses. At that point I suspected perhaps she is one to sign up for more swaps than she can handle or else perhaps a person who is in the camp of feeling that deadlines don’t apply to them. I encountered that problem on an ATC Yahoo Group, with some saying ATC swapping is a fun hobby and that they intentionally don’t adhere to rules and deadlines as those are for jobs not for hobbies. For those two swaps I rated this person a 3 for not following the rules, which I feel is an accurate rating.

The fourth time is still going on now. I have received nothing from her, the deadline is past due. There has been no communication from her. I rated that swap a “1—nothing received”. That is accurate if you ask me.

So anyway there is some not fun stuff about ATC swapping via the mail but connected through the Internet.

When swapping mail art becomes stressful or annoying I usually back off for a while or look for different types of opportunities to swap mail art. At this point I am still doing Swap-bot swaps, trying to be picky about signing up for swaps that require high rating histories of members and also hosting my own swaps with minimum rating requirements.

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