Lily bulblet trade procedures. I need feedback, please

kdjoergensenMay 19, 2005

Last year we had a lily bulblet trade in September.

Generally, it went very well except for some delay in shipment by some, and the high costs of postage by traders engaging in multiple trades, and also some quality issues. Last year, each trade had to be 4-5 bulblets and for traders who entered 8-10 envelopes, had to buy 10 padded envelopes and pay 10 x postage (say $3.95 x 10) which obviously made this more expensive than intended.

I was thinking of a way to simplify this trade for 2005 fall season and has following ideas to which I would like to hear your comments:

MY IDEA:

1. Every trader must send a small cardboard box. Inside this cardboard box you would put the number of evelopes with bulblets (trades)you are entering PLUS a self-addressed shipping lable. Included in the box must also be stamps sufficient to cover mail back to the originator (or funds to cover).

2. The organizer would then gather these boxes from all participants, arrange the trades by switching evelopes between the boxes, and return the boxes to the original senders (by putting their shipping lables on the outside of the boxes and return the same boxes to the original senders).

Example:

Say Mr. Lily and Mrs. Flowers are two of the participants. Mr. Lily mails a box with 8 envelopes, each containing 5 bulblets. Inside his box he has also enclosed a shipping lable and $4.50 in stamps (same amount required to mail it to the organizer in the first place). The trade organizer receives a similar box from Mrs. Flowers and the other participants. The trade organizer will now return 8 trades to Mr. Lily in his self addressed stamped box and do the same for the others.

The advantages:

- you only have to pay postage twice.

mailing and receiving. If you are entering more than 2 trades, this saves you money compared to last year where you were potentially mailing 8-10 different people. Because the USPS charges approximately the same price for bubble envelopes (wider than 1/4") as they do for small cardboard boxes, there really is no great savings by using bubble envelopes. Shipping in most cases will be $3.50 - $4.75 per box.

- the trade organizer (who is thought to be objective) will be able to inspect the quality of the lily bulblets received.

Last year quality was generally good, except some unfortunate few circumstances where too moist packaging had let to decline in quality for individual envelopes (we will address this in more details this year)

If quality is clearly lacking, the organizer can either make up with extra (bonus) envelopes supplied by generous traders (always encouraged) or as last resort return the box to the trader with the quality issue, or otherwise try to make it up amicably.

Say, the organizer finds rot in two of Mr. Lily's envelopes. The organizer could in this case mail back 6 envelopes and there would be no impact to Mrs. Flowers or others. The organizer could even add a bonus envelope to Mr. Flowers. Just ideas/examples...

- trades all happen at the same time

Last year some complaints were registered by nothern growers who shipped early and who did not receive their trades until early winter from southern growers. The organizer could expedite the early packages first and then keep a few trading envelopes, bonus envelopes, plus his or her own for the traders in warmer zones who would need to wait for flower stems to die back first.

-Savings on postage and delivery confirmation

Last year, almost everyone used delivery confirmation for all their packages. With more than 60 envelopes changing hands, we spent jointly in excess of $25 on delivery confirmation. Delivery confirmation will be reduced to less than $5 (approximately) and the individual traders can even choose if they want to pay for such (it is only their own box to worry about).

WHAT DO YOU THINK ??

I would like to know your opinion of the above proposal.

If it can be done smarter, please feel free to suggest alternatives, too.

Is there even an interest in repeating this again ?

Kenneth

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Nell Jean

It was a fun swap, last year. It was a great learning experience concerning bulblets and their harvesting and how to wrap and ship for best results.

Considering the costs, even in this new less expensive venture, I believe my best personal option is to spend the cost of packaging, and shipping two ways, on one or two grand new full-sized bulbs from a merchant and shipping for same.

Thanks again, Kenneth for starting the swaps. I think it will be a great experience for those who haven't tried it and would like lots of different cultivars.

Nell

    Bookmark   May 19, 2005 at 5:28PM
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trish_ca(CA 8)

I think your ideas are fine. I am interested in trading...would like to see named lilies mostly. As we get closer I would like some guidelines for packing.

Trish

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 10:30PM
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brittneysgran

Kenneth,
I am interested in joining this exchange this year.
One thing I don't understand though is why did the participants pay for delivery confirmation when you can get it free on USPS's website. On their website you can print a shipping label and get the delivery confirmation free. I do it all the time. As much as I trade and join swaps it really saves me money.

Please keep me informed as I do want in on this swap.

Shirley

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 9:20PM
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lori79(z5 OH)

Kenneth,
I would also like to join in the swap this year. The only thing I think that could be added to your suggestions is to have each person sending a box to the organizer to include a list with their name and what bulbets are in their box. That way with a quick look, the organizer will know what NOT to include in their box.
It sounds like you have all the bases covered. Hopefully there will be enough interest to have a swap. Thanks for trying to organize one.
Lori

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 10:15AM
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