(The following is a parable combining several real–life situations that swap coordinators have dealt with over the years.)
The Parable of the Re-seller, the Hoarder, and the Complainer
Once upon a time, there was a happy community of Free Swappers. They enjoyed bringing things they no longer needed used or wanted so they could swap them for new things they could use. Since they wanted nice things themselves they made sure to only bring clean in good condition items to swap. Since they wanted to be treated kindly, they treated others kindly. If they wanted an honest opinion about how an outfit looked, they asked another swapper…but they NEVER volunteered their opinion (especially if they thought an outfit looked horrible on another woman) unless they were asked. Swaps were full of laughter and camaraderie. Women (and sometimes kind men and teens) enjoyed having fun taking what they could use and leaving what they couldn’t use for someone else to discover. They knew that the remainders would help other women, children, and men in their community, and that made them feel warm and happy inside. Swaps were a place where EVERYBODY wins!
But one day, it was discovered that three people didn’t want to follow the Free Swap rules. These people saw swaps as a game for THEM ALONE to get ‘all the best stuff’ – whether they personally needed it or not.
• One upscale woman (a re-seller) would gather up piles of designer clothes, which she would take to consignment shops or Ebay to sell. This made other women sad, because they brought good things and were hoping to get a nice pair of pants for free in return…and the re-seller deprived them of that Free Swap experience.
• A second woman (a hoarder) gathered up all the “Best” things she could find – including brand new toys and games! Her greedy actions left children sad because they wanted to use and love the goodies she hoarded, unused.
• A third woman (an accuser) watched the hoarder in action. She also wanted to get all the “Best” things, and was irritated that the hoarder always seemed to get the good things first. She complained that she “hardly ever got anything good”, and was unhappy when others got things instead of her.
The Upscale woman was caught and banned from free swaps. The Accuser and the Hoarder both described each other’s un-swap-like behavior so well, that BOTH were banned from swaps.
The moral of this parable is: if your reason for coming to swaps is:
1. Re-selling things you find at swaps
2. Taking things you don’t need so you can hoard them, not use them
3. Complaining that YOU never get any “good stuff”, and/or complaining that most of the stuff at swaps isn’t good enough for you anyway
…Then Free Swaps are NOT the place for you!
However, for the REST of us who happily follow the swap rules, Free Swaps are the PERFECT place for us! Free Swaps are where kind people bring good things they no longer need/use/love, receive things they will use (or will give free as gifts), and are happy when others are blessed as well. We know that what we personally can’t put to good use will go to bless others in our community for FREE, making all of us – in essence – Santa☺
Thank YOU for being the magic of the season! See you this Saturday.
Volunteer swap coordinator NE Portland
(P.S. if you haven’t RSVP’d please do so by Thursday December 8th)