Like most people, I belong to a few mailing lists, some devoted to certain bands. For the last two years, the Goo Goo Dolls contributed to cds that were only released locally. Of course, Goo fans everywhere wanted copies of it, so I volunteered to get them for anyone who paid what the cd cost, tax, and postage. Just like they went out and bought it themselves, just needed to add postage.
This year I coordinated the Everclear White Lightning t-shirt printing and distribution. For the first round of shirts, postage was grossly underestimated. But thanks to the generous and kind hearts of many on the list, I came out minus only $7. People rounded up to the nearest dollar, $2, or five. They said 'thanks for your trouble,' or as one person said, 'in trading, someone always comes up short somewhere. Here's hoping it evens out,' or some such thing. These are the people who made the whole hassle worthwhile.

I didn't do this for profit, obviously. But if you are a fan and want to get something, you know how it is. For someone to hold it over you with an 'I have it. I'll dub it for you if you send me 5 extra tapes and $10,' or an 'I found it but copying is prohibited, just wanted to announce to all that I have it just to brag' ... that's just ridiculous. I know what it's like to want a rarity and not be able to find or afford it. I would hope that someone would be nice and help me out, not scam me over. This is what I try to do.

Time isn't figured into the equation. The fact that I don't drive and have to sometimes ask someone for a ride to be able to get what people are looking for (a cd, tapes to dub, international mailing rates). Or, if I did drive, the gas to get to said location.

For me, things have worked

out. The Goo folks sent videos and tapes of tunes I didn't have. Someone on the Everclear list (who I will forever think is the most awesome guy ... just won't mention his name because I don't want him to get hassled) dubbed me several hours of rare stuff.

But lately, things have taken a downturn and I wonder about my future as a trader.

Some people posted to the list, looking for Everclear videos & specials. My collection is by no means rare, but I had what they were looking for. Plus I offered my whole collection, if there was something else they didn't have. About 4 people asked me for things. One sent a tape. She was all good, the tape and return postage. She later requested an audio tape on the list, which I happened to have, volunteered to send, and threw that in too. She's reimbursing me.

On the other hand, the world's worst speller also sent me a tape. Let's call him Mike. Mike is L-A-M-E. He mailed the tape priority mail, $3. He sent me just $2 to return it. Hello?? I tried e-mailing him, but his address coincidentally didn't work. Hmmm. So I couldn't keep the tape, it would make me a bad trader. It did only cost me $2.39 to mail it, but why should I pay for it? I already took the time to make it. Sigh. I made up the scenario that he was just 10 years old and that's all the allowance he had. I still included a note telling him his spelling sucked & he was lame.

Finally, the latest guy, Steve. He posted that his VCR had destroyed his EC tape, could someone dub him [these videos]. I told him what I had (more than he'd had or asked for), if he wanted it. He said yes, cool, thanks, he'd send a tape and return postage (which he specified as $3). He hadn't mailed the tape out, yet he e-mailed me to say he'd be

sending it in a couple days. Then he e-'ed to ask if I was sure I still wanted to do it. Next he sent a big PLEASE REPLY mail. Then he e-mailed the whole freakin' list asking if anyone knew me or was in touch with me. This was all in a span of 2-3 days. Hello?? Not everyone is constantly at their e-mail! Well, it just so happens I am, but my e-mail was down for 6 days. That was no reason for him to post to the list, making me seem like a questionable trader. Sigh. Did I ever want to slap him. He could've just not sent the tape, if he thought I was running a rip off scam. Who starts a scam before they get your stuff, anyway?

So I wrote Steve, explaining my lack of connectivity, and stating my concern over his post. Well, thank you, Steve: he managed to make it worse with a 'jennie is the nicest, sweetest person and IN NO WAY WHATSOEVER is a bad trader' post to the entire list. Does that not sound like I hacked in and wrote that myself? (on a list known to be full of liars and people who send fake e-mail from emulated addresses) Not only did I want to slap him, but now kick him as well, and not dub the tape. But since my mail had been down, that letter was backed up in a queue, and I didn't get it until after I'd mailed him explaining things, saying I would still do it. Sigh.

This is a rants page. That's what I'm doing. I'm not saying don't trade with people, because it's not all bad. Particularly for me, it's been more rewarding than not, I think. Maybe it's catching up, or maybe I'm just burned out.

by jennie

Side note for non-EC fans: 'YMMFLAW' = "You Make Me Feel Like A Whore," an Everclear song. Thought it was appropriate.

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