Lily bulblet trade procedures. I need feedback, please
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:
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).
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.
- 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 ?