A How-to for New Swappers

This guide was adapted from the original written by MsPicky.

How Do I Start Swapping?
1) Create a swaplist and a wishlist. Be honest when describing your swap items, and disclose the things you would want to know (is it in tester packaging? Is it a sample size? Has the eyeshadow been used wet? Is the applicator missing?). It’s okay to ask these questions during negotiations — make sure you know what you’re swapping for/buying.

The system actively looks for matches between swaplists and wishlists, and will message you to suggest potential swaps.  However, the algorithm only works when items match. Don’t use “eBay language” — words like “new” or “rare” — when you’re adding an item. When you do that, you are preventing the system from finding you a match.

2) You don’t have to wait for the system to find you a match. You can browse swaplists, and if you find an item you want, send a friendly message to request a swap. If a swaplist item says “for sale only,” that person does not want to swap their item — they’re looking to sell.

If someone sends you a request, don’t leave them hanging — if you’re not interested, kindly let them know.

3) Negotiations are concluded when the two parties exchange addresses. Backing out after addresses have been exchanged is bad form, and (depending on the situation) your swapping partner may leave you a neutral token as a result.

4) Keep your lists up to date! When you finalize negotiations for a swap, suspend those items from your swaplist and wishlist. When both parties receive their packages, delete the items from your swaplist and wishlist. Then you won’t experience the disappointment of having the system suggest a great swap involving an item you no longer have.

If you’re holding an item for someone, suspend the listing. Don’t add words like “pend” or “pending” or “poss pend” to the shade name.

5) DON’T USE the items you receive until both parties have satisfactorily received their packages.

What is a Token?
1) Tokens are a way of seeing how many successful swaps a user has completed. (Just like eBay feedback.) Each token represents a swapping event: one token per swap.

Neutral or negative tokens should be a red flag. Read what went wrong before you agree to swap with that person. One bad swap in a thousand good swaps probably isn’t cause for concern, but one bad swap in ten might be. Does your swapper have a reasonable explanation for what happened in that case? Trust your instincts. (But don’t fail to be polite.)

2) Tokens should NOT be awarded when a transaction did not take place. If someone gives you their coupon code or emails you a file or subscribes to your YouTube channel, that is not a token-worthy event. Other users use tokens to judge a swapper’s level of experience and trustworthiness. Don’t mislead them by increasing someone’s token count.

2b) If someone sends you an RAOK (random act of kindness; they decided to mail you an item without asking anything in return), it is okay to leave them a token. Just mention in the token that this was an RAOK.

3) When you receive someone’s package, and the item is as described, leave them a positive token. They have fulfilled their end of the deal; they deserve a token. You do have the ability to modify tokens later, if you need to amend your previous comment.

4) Deciding that one party should send their end first is at the discretion of the two parties swapping. But it is reasonable — and should be expected — for a seasoned swapper (30 tokens or more) to ask a newer swapper (fewer than 30 tokens, or a significant number of neutral/negative tokens) to send first.

Tokens from other swapping/selling websites do not count as tokens here. (How can you be absolutely sure that THIS swapper is who they say they are on another site?)

4b) In a sale transaction, it is reasonable that the buyer should send payment first. Keep in mind that if you send funds as a Paypal “gift,” you will not be able to open a dispute (should things go wrong).

5) Trust your instincts. When you start out, swap with established swappers (until you have enough tokens so you no longer have to send first).

How to Send a Package
1) It is the sender’s responsibility to provide adequate protection for the items they are mailing. Bubble wrap + a bubble mailer is good protection for most items. Sometimes you may need to use a box. (Toilet paper and tissue paper provide almost no protection; they are not good packing materials.)

Never send a swap item in a regular (letter) envelope. Those envelopes were meant to hold a maximum of 8 pieces of flat white paper, and they are sent through mechanical rollers for sorting. If you mail a shadow pan, pencil, or brush in a white envelope, it will very likely get crushed or snapped. Or the item may tear through the paper, and your recipient will receive only a torn envelope.

2) It is okay to reuse packaging materials, but make sure they are “seaworthy” before you use them. Bubble wrap pops over time, and flat bubble wrap doesn’t provide much protection.

3) Keep your post office receipts. It’s a simple precaution, and useful for reassuring your swapping partner that you sent an item when you said you would.

Troubleshooting
1) What if I don’t like what I got? You can swap it again with someone else. Not liking an item is not grounds for swap reversal. Swaps should be reversed only when you received the wrong item, or the item is in significantly different condition than what was described.

2) What behavior warrants a neutral or negative token? Failing to send your item, not describing your item accurately. If you are going to be delayed in sending, it is up to you to keep your swapping partners informed of the situation. You may need to make it up to them.

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