23 October 2006

No good deed ...

As I have mentioned before, I took part in the Knitters Tea Swap 2 recently. I now have a total of three swap experiences, and I've been very lucky in each one, as I feel like the person who sent me things really put time and thought into it. Likewise, I've tried really hard to put together a nice package for the person I'm sending to, and would like to think I have succeeded on some level at least.

Anyway, for KTS2, I volunteered to help host it, meaning that the coordinator assigned me a list of people for whom I would be the contact point. (When approximately 200 people sign up for something, it's nice to have some help.) My group had some issues, as one person had trouble intially, since her partner failed to contact her. Another person was sick, and wrote that they feared they might be a little bit late getting a package together and sending it. These individuals were on the ball, and contacted me right away, and as far as I know, there have been no further problems.

Yesterday, Suzie, the coordinator, sent a group of us who had agreed to help her, a note, asking if we knew if our groups had followed through with their packages. She mentioned that some people had contacted her, saying they received items in their packages that were past the expiration date, or had other problems, or that the yarn they received looked "used." She wanted to know if we had gotten similar notes, and if we had any ideas about how to get around this problem if there is a KTS3.

One of the other volunteer hosts sent back a note with a link to one person's knitting blog, where the person made a somewhat snarky remark about what they had received - and not just along the lines of "I'm not fond of purple yarn" - no, they implied that they had been cheated out of a huge haul of goodies. Then there was a comment to that post, by someone else who apparently had been "cheated" as well.

I'm sorry, but this just really irritates me. First of all, other than tea, yarn, and one treat, there were absolutely no other requirements for what you could send. The person posting on their blog had received quite a bit of stuff, and I am surprised they would have expected more. I realize that there are some people who are never satisfied with anything, and/or who feel a sense of entitlement, but if you are that kind of person, don't sign up for the freakin' swap! And in any event, if you are going to be snarky about what you did receive, then tell a friend, but don't post it on your blog. That is just plain old rude, if you ask me.

When I signed up for my first swap, I really didn't know what to expect. I did my best, within the amount of time I had and the amount of money I had, to make sure I had some things that I really felt would be appreciated by my swap partner. I had absolutely no frame of reference for what kind of stuff to include. The person who sent things to me sent me a lot of great things, and I was thrilled. I got a very nice note back from the person I sent things to, and she posted on the group blog. For all I know, she was so appalled at what I sent her, she had to take a Prozac, but she did the kind, polite thing, and though we have not really communicated since (as we didn't have a lot in common, other than knitting), I never got the impression that what I sent her was a problem.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I wish people would just suck some things up and move on. Trust me, I can whine, bitch, and complain with the best of them (I'd better not see any comments about that statement!), but you know what? I really do try to be polite, or civil at a minimum, as much as I can. No, I don't always succeed, but usually it's when I haven't had time to think about whatever I'm saying or doing - I'm on the spot. When I have a chance to take a breath, and think about what I might say or do, I can usually manage to handle it much better. Even if I am seething on the inside.

Please don't think that I am suggesting that we all become polite robots, or annoyingly positive doormats. I can't stand that kind of thing either. (Ever know someone who is so sickeningly sweet you'd just like to slap them?? Aaargggh!) But honestly, at least try to be considerate.

And if you decide to participate in a swap, be realistic. Not everyone has the time, money, or access to things that others do. I sincerely doubt that anyone signs up thinking to themselves, "Oh, I can really mess with someone here."

OK, that's today's lecture. You will not be tested on this material. :-)


teabird17 said...

Bridget, you have hit a nerve with me. I've also heard comments about the paltry packages that swap partners have received.
People who decide to join swaps sometimes have strange ideas about what they're about.

Here's what I wrote at Knit the Classics:

I mean it, too. It should not be about Stuff - we're all adults - it's about connection, sharing, and the sheer fun of shopping for someone else.

If people are that picky about What They Get, they should just shop for themselves.

(I've also been, as it were, "stiffed" twice. Once was annoying, but the other turned out way better than a package would have been, because the person I sent to has become a dear, dear friend. In fact, that's happened more than once. I am grateful. Truly.)

Carol said...

Well said. Ma once said: "If you don't EXPECT, you can't be dissapointed". The fun in swaps is definitely the shopping/creating side of it!

lmj said...

I often wonder whether people who post disparaging comments on their blogs would say such things directly to the people they find so insulting. Getting cake and shiny things in the mail is fun; if it wasn't what you were expecting, may you should do a little research on what kind of people you'd like to receive "gifts" from and join that group. Granted, swaps can be troublesome, but you suck it up and move on. You're not perfect, either. (Not you, Bridget. You rock the swell.) :)

lmj said...


"mayBE you should do a little research..."

Because correct spelling *is* important.

Bridget said...

Wow, LMJ I'm glad you made that correction, because although we are not being tested on my lecture, points would be subtracted for poor spelling ... :-)

P.S. Thanks for the kind words.