Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Trading Stamps

I have the following for trade:
Coty Wild Musk, 1/2 full spray bottle
Chanel No. 5 EdT, probably about 1/3 full

BBW Juniper Breeze Body Spray, 3/4 full
and lotion

I am looking for:
Coty Chypre, Chergui, Mitsouko body cream

Unfortunately, I have nothing for trade but would like that Fracas parfum you have on the swap page.

I see on your profile that you list Lipstick Rose, Penhaligon Ellenisia, and Gobin-Daude Sous le Buis. I'm dying to try them. Could I get a smidge of each?

I have a fabulous bottle of Chloe! What a wonderful scent--classic floral, Karl Lagerfeld, the essence of chic. Love it but already have two bottles. I'm interested in trading it for your Must parfum.

You aren't supposed to list fragrances you merely like. You have to own them.

I see you have a new bottle of Narciso Rodriguez EdT up for swap. Before you swap that, could you send me a decant? It's impossible to get in Poland/Brazil/New Jersey.

Ah, the perils of the public trade. Trading perfumes can be a delightful way of making new friends--both liquid and flesh--but there always seems to be an insidious and subversive urchin lurking just beneath the surface, waiting to make what henceforth will be called the Swap of Inequality. That SoI is a nasty bit of business, since it can take so many (and so many seemingly innocent) forms. Taking it from the top, we have:

1) The Dreamer: This person has absolutely nothing to offer you or anyone else, and yet charmingly and gamely lists Mary Kate and Ashley products, half-used sticky lotions, and depleted canisters of aroma-mall, in the hopes that someone will enthusiastically put out. This has a delightful aroma of naive desperation to it, and calls to mind a nebbish teenage boy panting after the head cheerleader in the hopes that she will throw him a bone(r). Such eagerness should be rewarded with at least a sample of the fragrance(s) the Dreamer dreams about. In a subset of the Dreamer, a converse action occurs. The Dreamer actually offers far more than she i seeking. However, the item being sought is always one that is subject to the strictest of swapping controls, so even if the Dreamer lists something that has a retail value of $90.00 and is looking for a decant of something with a retail value of $20.00, the Dreamer will continue dreaming.

2) Honest Indole: Who knows what they may or may not have to trade? The point is that they have nothing to trade with you. In other words, they are saying they would like your item for nothing and do not believe it has any reciprocal value. The ploy here is disarming upfront honesty ("I have nothing to trade just now"), but if you do some research you will see that they have offered something(s) in exchange for other, more desirable, swaps. Generally this HI occurs when they don't want to spend the forty bucks it would cost them to buy the same item at parfum1.com . Don't fall for it!

3) The Woe Is Me-er: They never can afford those fabulous scents that everyone else is trying. More's the peril to you for listing or discussing your ownership thereof. The WIMer will also publicly woe-is-me on forums, and will attract at least four to six generous souls who can send them just a bit of the item that was formerly beyond their reach. It is to be hoped that someone will come along and take pity, but in the meantime the WIMer will make polite little inquiries inviting your kind donations. Keep a record of this person; they rarely report having bought a darn thing and survive, like Blanche, on the kindness of strangers.

4) Pants on Fire: Pants on Fire gushes over a scent she has recently vociferously and publicly panned. Generally the scent has been received as the result of a mistaken eBay purchase. Pants on Fire then attempts to unload it on you, using the same verbiage as the eBay listing that resulted in the erroneous and unwanted purchase. It will be presented in the most glowing of terms, but here's the fun part: Read back a few pages. Find the rant about the "mistake" and quote it back verbatim. "I thought I was bidding on the pure parfum, but all I got was this crappy cologne." Put Pants on Fire on ignore immediately, or be prepared for a month's worth of hate mail.

5) This isn't an SoI event, but it is fun nonetheless. This is more honestly a member of the Perfume Police, handing out a violation.

6) Take Pity, Shipping is Expensive/Item is Unavailable: My, but what an awkward situation this is. You've got an NIB perfume that has some swap value, but the TPSIE/IIU wants you to open up, decant at least 8ml, and send it to Parsippany. Guilt is the operative word here. If you don't you are withholding evidence. If you do, you deflate the value of your swap. I once had an IIU person boldly ask me to decant something that was "unavailable here" (it certainly was not--the trouble was ten euros in shipping). The twist here was that the IIU was asking for a scent I did not own. I wrote to explain. The IIU challenged: Someone must then have your password in order to create a false listing. It happens all the time, I'm sure. After another round of mails, the IIU acceded that she had made a mistake and wanted the one I had listed (this latter mail included the words "my bad") and asked me to decant her a healthy round bottle of it before swapping elsewhere.

So, where's the fun in this? Well, believe it or not, there are people who swap and share just for the pleasure of it, dollar value be damned. It's exciting to surprise someone with a few ml's, just because, or to send them a whole bottle of something you just aren't going to use. It's this other stuff that causes the problems--another microcosmic moment. But using a bit of street smarts and not succumbing to the above plots can go a long way towards helping the cream rise to the top(notes).