Trading etiquette

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Trading etiquette

Post by I'm the 1 on Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:37 am

I have been lucky this past few years - because of the trading I've done, I most probably have doubled the number of plants.

When I trade, I follow some "golden rules of trading".


I've put many adds for Sempervivum exchange all over the cyber space. Not all of them were succesfull. In fact only few have been succesfull. There are LOTS of plant forums where (in years!) I haven't got an answer. Than again there are forums where members wrote to me alls sorts of (stupid) things, even insults ... And than again, there are forums where I feel welcome whenever I stop by.

I myself prefer to comunicate with future swappers thru emails instead private messages on forums. I am a member of some 50 forums and I really have no time to visit them all frequently. That's why I prefer to keep my correspondance in "center" thru one email adress. But than agian most people prefer to comunicate thru PM's to hide their identity.

When writing to someone with a swap offer, be sure your mail service will not automatically block his / her returninhg mail. People write to swap with me and I just can't send back the answer ...

Do not, under any circumstances, publish your home address (snail mail) in an open forum. The same goes for your email address. I sometimes post mine with (at) instead of @ - that's how automatic email address reader will pass your email adress by ... (I'm not saying this will prevent you from getting junk mail!).

Check the potentintial trade partner - if possible. Is he / she a long-time forum member, does he / she have a web page, does he / she let you know enough about him / her to make you feel comfortable? Or ask swappers you know about this person. I would recomend you listen to your inner voice when in doubt ...

Understand the meaning of word "No"! Everyone has the right to turn down the swap offer.


I would NOT dare to write to someone "I'd love to trade with you but I do not have anything to trade." This is undestood as "I'd like to have those plants for free." and not "Sorry, I do not have any plants to trade.".

On the other hand when people write me "I am sure you already have what I can offer for trade" I always wonder:
a) how can they possibly be sure of that? (no way!!!)
b) are they just looking for free plants?
c) or are they just a little bit confuzed about swapping?

All in all this sentence ("I am sure you already have what I can offer for trade." ) always makes me feel uneasy.


Real collectors have plant list - list of plants they have in cultivation sorted by alphabetical or any other order. It is not the lenght of the list that mattres, but the names ... I've seen some list with semp names so badly mispelled that I started wondering what does the collection look like when every other name is wrong.

Than again some people will not give you a list of plants in cultivation, only the list of plants they can swap. This is most probably so because the do not want to explain themselves why they are unable to give you one of three plants of certain rare cultivar they have ....


It is easy to post a trade offer or request to a forum or so. It is quite another thing to actually prepare a parcel will plants and get it sent. Do not post offers / requests unless you are ready to make that effort.


One must ship adequately - priority mail is a must!

Beside that, take extra care of wrapping and labeling your plants.

Post your plants in a propriate carton box, not only in the bubble envelope. When I mail my plants in bubble envelopes, I always put them in a plastic box before - otherwise they would get crushed.

Do not send wet plants or plants withing few days after heavy rain. They will most probably roten on the way ... Also NOT (and I mean NOT!) wrap plants in wet paper! They will surely rotten in 3 days!


This is a must and also the time to thank the person again.

Thank the person you got them from. - This point is self-explanatory.


Drop a line now and again - all in all, just show some respect to all of the people you trade with. I've made some succuseful trades with the same people - for three or even more times ...


Don't send:
- stressed, sick or dying plants
- u
onrooted plants
- seedlings
- mature = old and blooming plant


The reason people trade named varieties separetly from lost label ones in first the value of the plant (lost labeled are, like you might have guessed, cheaper).


If you end up with a trade that does not go well, make every effort to negotiate with each other for resolve. Expect a certain degree of misunderstanding or disappointment and be as tolerant as you can. Try to resolve the problem by PM's or emails, not on open forum.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of dishonest people out there who are looking to take advantage of well-meaning, honest people.

Couple of years ago I got this mail from a person that called herself PAUL ... She gave me a nice offer for swap and I grabed the oportunity, stupid me. I send "Paul" TWO!!! parcels full of various cacti and succulent cuttings, she was constantly mailing me - sometimes even twice a day ... asking about cuttings, arrival of the parcels etc. Once the both parcels reached the home address of so called "Paul" nothing came back - not even mail. When I asked about the reason, I got this mail, saying: " This is Janelle, Paul's wife (that was also the name used on emails from so called Paul!!!), Paul is in mental institution, he has bipolar dissorder and is locked for good. What you had with Paul is not my aware and bussines". These are her exact words. This person lives in USA.

LIST OF THOSE YOU WILL NEVER HEAR AGAIN FROM (after you mail the plants to them)

This is not the first time I've been ripped off. In fact, after swapping plants for years I've made "a list" of dishonest people
and if you are in doubt about your swap, mail me to


- maybe you can save yoursef some nerves
I'm the 1

Number of plants : 2.000 Posts : 5336
Join date : 2008-06-14
Location : Ljubljana, Slovenia, European Union

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Re: Trading etiquette

Post by JOHN COLLINS on Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:35 pm

Hi Renata,

I certainly agree with your advice above , but personally have not had a bad swap yet .People have been very honest and have made a great effort to give a fair exchange . I steer clear of even bubble polythene when shipping and prefer to use a cheap envelope for each plant or kitchen roll .

Best Wishes


Bronze Rosette
Bronze Rosette

Posts : 25
Join date : 2008-08-26

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