By now I’m sure you’ve heard of “nail mail” which is when the postman actually brings you pretty parcels of nail related products, instead of those evil bills.
Swapping is one of the easier ways to get your hands (and nails) on items that are not easily sourced in your neighbourhood or online. Once you’ve found yourself a swap partner, there are a few common sense precautions that you can take to make sure that you don’t walk away disappointed and empty handed.
Find out a bit about the person you are swapping with!
There is no harm asking questions or asking for swap references if you don’t know a person. It’s hard to tell over a screen if people are trustworthy or if they’ll complete a swap quickly but it pays to do your research. There are forums and facebook groups set up for the purpose of exchanging references, such as the Safe Swap Society.
Mutually discuss what items you are swapping for!
Are you after 1 item? Or a full envelope? Are you swapping bottle for bottle, a dollar amount, or a single Hard To Find (HTF) polish for a bunch? Make sure you are both happy with the arrangement so that there are no unhappy surprises when you open your half.
If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
Trust your spidey senses. If you don’t feel right about the swap then you can always say no (provided that no parcels have yet been sent). There are many generous people out there but there are also a few who just want to take advantage of others.
Always tell the other party the condition of your swapping polish and find out the condition of what they are sending you!
Are they brand new? Used? Swatched? Half full? If you let your swap partner know, then they (and yourself) can make an informed choice on if they want to swap for that item. You don’t want someone accusing you of not sending what you promised.
Wrap your package well!
Is the parcel secure? Is it taped closed? Will it survive travelling ? Have you used plenty of bubblewrap on any polishes? Not sure if ‘any” is the right word here, maybe use “the” or just “have you used plenty of bubblewrap?”.
Cover your butt!
If you can afford tracking then pay the extra charges. It’s always handy to have peace of mind and know that you can look up delivery details. If you can’t afford that (especially internationally) it’s a great idea to take photos of the package when it’s wrapped and addressed, the post office receipt and any customs numbers. If the worst happens and your package doesn’t turn up you can never have enough info to show that you did everything you could and it was actually sent. You can also get your swap partner to send you a photo of your package and receipt.
Communication is the key!
Make sure you keep in contact with your swap partner. We all understand that things don’t always go to plan but letting them know sooner, rather than later, really does help. Remember to message when your parcel arrives so that they know it’s safe and sound.
If you haven’t heard from your swap partner for a while and your parcel hasn’t arrived after a reasonable amount of time, you could email or leave them a Facebook message letting them know. If you still can’t get hold of them, leave a message on their Facebook wall or on their blog asking them to contact you.
When the worst happens…
If a swap package doesn’t turn up, it’s up to yourself and your partner to work out an agreement. Some people are happy to just let it be, providing there is full proof of postage. Others want their goods. Together work out something so you are both happy.
If your swap partner has vanished and you have had little success after trying to contact them, then you are on your own. Where to go next is up to you. Some like to name and shame online, others keep it to themselves but will speak up if a swap reference is asked for. It’s a horrible feeling but chalk it up to experience, and learn from it.
Stay tuned for next week’s installment, group buy precautions!
Sarah Claire is a South Aussie mum of two, and holos and flakies are her weakness. She’s a dab hand at conjuring up frankens (mixed polishes) and is a polish collecting, hunting, swapping and blogging veteran. She keeps things running smoothly in the background at Lacquerheads of Oz. You can find her blogging away at Shatter Me Claire and snapping pictures at @shattermeclaire.