The ATP Beta "First Swap" Swap: Deadline to receive seeds arrived, not all seeds are in

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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Dec 10, 2015 8:32 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Well, I am still missing one package that hasn't arrived yet. I am hopeful that it'll arrive tomorrow.

The deadline was for it to be in today. I am going to wait and see if it gets here tomorrow but this delay will postpone my turning these around to everyone else.

We'll probably need to think of a solution to this. What does the host do if one (or more!) person doesn't send their stuff in a timely manner (or at all?) If we had a late sender in this beta, surely this problem will be a common one in the future. We'll need a policy or guideline for future hosts to follow.
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
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Horntoad
Dec 10, 2015 9:11 PM CST
The deadline on the swap page say the 11th, that's tomorrow. Is there tracking so you can verify that it is in route? One thing to consider is that it is a major holiday and the postal service can be as much to blame as anyone. Although I am anxious to get my seeds, I don't mind waiting a little longer. As far as future swaps are concerned I'm not sure want the answer would be.
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Dec 10, 2015 9:14 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

The deadlines in the swap are based on UTC time. The seeds are supposed to arrive by midnight Dec 11th which is actually 6:00pm CT Dec 10th (3 hours ago.)

Anyway, it's not a big deal for this beta swap but this issue WILL be a big deal if it occurs in future swaps, and the deadline is missed by more than just 1 day.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Dec 10, 2015 9:15 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I checked and the tracking says it'll arrive on Saturday. That's way way past the deadline. I was hoping to have these turned around and mailed back out by then.
Name: Duane
Gresham OR (Zone 8a)
Life began in a garden.
I helped beta test the first seed swap Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Salvias Hummingbirder
Hostas Cottage Gardener Annuals Echinacea Container Gardener Dahlias
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duane456
Dec 10, 2015 10:01 PM CST
I don't mind waiting, either.
Name: Ronnie
Southeastern PA (Zone 6b)
Morning Glories Garden Photography Region: Pennsylvania Charter ATP Member Orchids Dragonflies
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1 I helped beta test the first seed swap Bookworm Bee Lover
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luvsgrtdanes
Dec 10, 2015 10:16 PM CST
One thing a host can do about late arrivals would be allowing yourself more time for sending out in the first place. Anyone that joins will be agreeing to that so it shouldn't be an issue.

I do think tracking is important and it doesn't cost much. I would think a host could make that a part of the swap that tracking must be added. At least you have an idea of where they are


Not much anyone can do for no shows unfortunately. I guess that is one chance you do take when you join.

It happens in a flash, but the memory of it last forever. It can not be borrowed or stolen, and it is of no earthly good until it is given away. So if in your hurry you meet someone who is too weary to smile, leave him one of yours, for no one needs a smile quite as much as he who has none to give...

Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Dec 10, 2015 10:31 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

One idea I am toying with is the possibility of taking the money up front from all participants. This would cause them to have some skin in the game. If they already paid for the return shipping ahead of time it might motivate them to be sure to send their part of the seed deal. I could program ATP to collect the payments automatically and disperse them to the host. But there would be processing fees associated with electronic payments so things could get a bit complicated.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Dec 10, 2015 11:00 PM CST
I agree with Jay that shipping during the Christmas holiday season can be slower than normal. I also agree that there are a lot of things that can cause problems for the host of a swap... which I think we discussed a bit way, way back when this idea was first being entertained. I think if I was hosting a swap I would set the deadline for about a week before I felt it necessary to receive the packages (although I wouldn't state that), and adjust the time for the seeds to be distributed accordingly. Or maybe it would be better to state that the packages must be sent to the host by a certain date, rather than received. And requiring a tracking number could only be a good thing, IMO.

Packages can go astray -- I once had an order from Gardeners Supply delivered to a neighbor's house by mistake; the tracking said it had been delivered, but I clearly had not received it. Called our (very rural) PO, the postmaster talked to the mail carrier and she had delivered it to the house across the road. There are about 6 people living there, but they stuck the package in a corner (apparently without looking at the address label), thinking someone else had ordered it. Shrug!

But what to do about packages not sent out on time? Not send that person any of the seeds they dibbed, and use the postage to return their late-arrival seeds? That doesn't really benefit anyone.... Maybe some sort of "registry" could be compiled of people who participate but don't follow the rules?

At any rate, I think there are a multitude of problems that can potentially arise -- one of the reasons I would not be eager to host a swap. Maybe it should just be left up to the individual hosts to determine how they will deal with things?
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
Seed Starter Winter Sowing Garden Photography Greenhouse Container Gardener Region: California
Cactus and Succulents Annuals Garden Art Butterflies Seller of Garden Stuff I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DomehomeDee
Dec 10, 2015 11:51 PM CST
I'm afraid a lot of the problems that come up might be best dealt with by the individual host. Circumstances are different in each case. If someone has joined a swap but doesn't seem to be "present", that would have bearing on what would be done if they didn't get their seeds in on time. I wouldn't feel bad about just telling them "sorry you missed the ship out". On the the other hand if someone is participating but for some reason is a little late on shipping, well it's a judgement call. I'm afraid paying ahead of time might be more hassle than it's worth.

Weedwhacker - I love the missing package story. I've gone over to the neighbors two days in a row now, they are out of town and my new greenhouse cover is late arriving. I keep thinking it's got to be sitting over in their yard somewhere.
Name: Alana H
(Zone 7a)
Frogs and Toads Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter I helped beta test the first seed swap Keeper of Poultry Garden Ideas: Level 1
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poisondartfrog
Dec 11, 2015 5:39 AM CST
I agree with Dee that it should be case specific. Someone that has a health issue or emergency that delays their sending a day or two or who suffers postal delays deserves more consideration than someone who just changed their mind and did not tell the host, or someone who bit off more than they could chew and procrastinated.
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
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Horntoad
Dec 11, 2015 6:36 AM CST
I agree that the final decision on how to respond should be in the hands of the host. But I think the host needs of few options to help. A few options could be added to the control panel. You cant' control the postal service delivery.Earlier this year I sent some seeds that the member said had not arrive after a couple of weeks so I resent the seeds but added tracking. They received the second package in a few days and then received the first one about a week after the second. So a mail by date rather than a receive by date would be better. Also some drop down options to the control panel could be used. Tracking required/Not required, Must be sent to host by Priority Mail required/Not required. After these features are in place the host would need to state in the Swap description, what their response would be for failure to comply with the rules.
wildflowersoftexas.com
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Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
Dec 11, 2015 8:23 AM CST
I agree that a "Send by" date would be better. Most swaps I've been involved in give a much broader time frame, both for sending seed and for receiving seed back. The mail delivery issues may very well have played a big part in that.

I believe the tracking is now provided at no extra charge for all first class packages; the tracking number will be provided either with a sticker or on your printed receipt.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Dec 11, 2015 8:48 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

I'll change the system so that the "Received by host" date becomes the "Deadline to send" date.

Tracking required/Not required, Must be sent to host by Priority Mail required/Not required.


These don't need to be dropdowns in the control panel. Only things that I program events on need to actually be in dropdowns. That information can and should be given in the welcome/rules infoboxes.
Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Dec 11, 2015 11:06 AM CST
I cannot think of anything to add to what has already been said , but I am ok waiting for my package. And I would be ok with sending the money up front in any future swaps I participate in here.

It really must be the time of year because Priority was early for the most part, but with recent packages arriving late, I know I cannot always count on the 3 day delivery.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Dec 11, 2015 11:24 AM CST
I'm fine with waiting - I'm not a winter-sower, don't live in a warm-winter zone, and hugely busy at this time of year.

I'm sure it is a huge hassle for the host, juggling dozens of boxes and not knowing when they can get their living room back.

it might be worthwhile to have a generic rule stated up front for all swaps. Something that most hosts would agree to but might not know how to word gently. Something like "If you don't have it in the mail by the 'ship by' date, or don't send the tracking number to the host by that date, the host MAY take you out of the swap. Communicate with the host ASAP if you might be late! Unexplained dropouts may be barred from future ATP Swaps."

Individual hosts might ease that if the member Treemailed an explanation and the host accepted it. Like being a few days late or forgetting the tracking number.

'Tis the season for depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder and long lines at the PO.

Does anyone have an online way to print postage that they like? PayPal's "multi-order shipping" used to be awkward to use, but it did the job very cheaply.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Dec 11, 2015 11:29 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Taking the money for return postage up front could also discourage scammers who could be attracted to this seed swap system like a moth to a candle.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Dec 11, 2015 11:33 AM CST
I just use the online version of the post office. Has always worked great for me, and you get a discount for doing it online.
https://www.usps.com/
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Dec 11, 2015 11:39 AM CST
dave said:Taking the money for return postage up front could also discourage scammers who could be attracted to this seed swap system like a moth to a candle.


I agree -- and it would also eliminate the possibility of someone actually forgetting to put the payment in their box of seeds, which could result in further delays in wrapping up the swap.

"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Hybridizer Peonies Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Organic Gardener
Composter Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
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bxncbx
Dec 11, 2015 11:39 AM CST
I like the idea of generic rules so this way every host doesn't need to reinvent the wheel. Of course any emergencies can be forgiven but they need to communicate with the host as soon as possible.

I didn't send my package priority so I mailed it really early. It ended up getting there early which was what I expected. I always send important packages from the post office in a wealthy suburb of NYC. They make sure the packages get to their destination with time to spare! Also, if there is a post office that is also a sorting facility I'd use them also. Packages go out much quicker.

I have to say that I was hoping to get these seeds before Christmas. I was planning on giving some to friends that are just getting into gardening as stocking stuffers.
Name: Ronnie
Southeastern PA (Zone 6b)
Morning Glories Garden Photography Region: Pennsylvania Charter ATP Member Orchids Dragonflies
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1 I helped beta test the first seed swap Bookworm Bee Lover
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luvsgrtdanes
Dec 11, 2015 11:39 AM CST
I use the PO too. Even for small packages if I can't get out. A scale helps for weight.
It happens in a flash, but the memory of it last forever. It can not be borrowed or stolen, and it is of no earthly good until it is given away. So if in your hurry you meet someone who is too weary to smile, leave him one of yours, for no one needs a smile quite as much as he who has none to give...

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