Becoming a better trader

16 02 2011

So, I need some help, folks.

My Achilles heel as a blogger is that it takes me a long time to work out trades.  I have stuff from January that I still need to work out, and it’s already almost March.  I’ve got five or six trading offers to go through, too.  To me, that’s horrible.

So far the systems that I’ve tried to put in place haven’t worked out.  I realize a lot of this is a lack of time on my part to sort through cards, so I’m looking for advice from the general world on how you both stay organized and find time to handle trade requests.

So what do you do?  Spread sheets?  Dry erase board?  Abacus?  An elaborate fruit based system of accounting?  Or is it just something simple like perseverance and being proactive?  Cause that last part will never work for me.

And with that joke, I open the floor to you.

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11 responses

16 02 2011
night owl

I’m no help on this. I keep track of trades with a pen and paper. And it takes me just as long as you to find cards, get things together and send them out.

Think of it this way: if you had no job, no house, no family, no other interests, then you could be the most efficient card trader ever. Otherwise, you’re always going to be slow and disorganized.

16 02 2011
handcollated

I realize there are certain limitations posed by everyday living. I’m looking for ways to be more efficient when I’m not busy juggling all those balls and have my hands free for a few hours.

16 02 2011
Michel Rivolta

First steep here is to stay organized, especially with your doubles or spare cards, I try to keep limited the number of doubles in my collection. If some trade opportunity arises, I know where I start to looking for, so in that way I know if the trade is gonna work for both parts quickly.

16 02 2011
AdamE

I keep sets that people like to try to complete in boxes in card number order. Stuff like A&G and heritage, etc. Everything else gets sorted by team.

Getting time to actually ship stuff is a different story. Sometimes it might take me a week or more to actually send something. Sometimes I round stuff up right then and there only to put it in an envelope that I forget to take to the PO for a week.

When I work out a trade I don’t do any haggling. I just say I’m sending you some stuff you might like send back what you think is fair. Traders Karma takes over from there. Sometimes I don’t get much in return but sometimes it is a jackpot. Lots of great traders in the blog world. Only found 2 bad traders so far and I have traded with at least 50 different people.

17 02 2011
dayf

Don’t ask me, I’m a complete disaster at trading. I have 5 packages waiting to be sent in my car (one with postage!), 3 piles and a shoebox full of stuff that needs to be sent and a bunch of wantlists I have to go through. I think I still owe people from 2007.

21 02 2011
Rhubarb_Runner

Just a suggestion when it comes to going to the PO: get yourself something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Take-Along-Capacity-0-5-oz-Increments-PELG080/dp/B0017DD6XC
use this website:
http://postcalc.usps.gov/
and a book of $.44 stamps and some $.10 stamps, and you don’t really NEED to go to the post office. If your trades are not of the massive scale, you can weigh and stamp your own package (rounding up slightly) and put it in your mailbox for pickup. That’s been a big time saver for me.

21 02 2011
Nachos Grande

I consider myself fairly pro-active when it comes to trading, so here’s how I do it:
1. I keep a bunch of sets that I think people might want in numerical order – and the list of cards is posted on my blog (that way someone can say “I would like #17 or whatever” and they already know that I have it).
2. I keep an Excel spreadsheet that details every trade I have made since I started the spreadsheet (about a year ago). To date, there’s probably 75 names on it, many of which I’ve traded with more than once. I also keep track of who I owe cards too (for example, when someone sends me cards “to be named later”) and I keep track of who owes me stuff on the tabs of the spreadsheet. To date, there is only one person who owes me stuff from a trade that’s been long past (I also got ripped off for over 150 Heritage cards when I first started trading, but otherwise it’s been all good).
3. I keep boxes full of cards, sorted by team. Lots of people like to trade me a card or two I need in exchange for X amount of whatever their favorite team is.
4. I have little boxes in my desk where I keep the cards that I’ve pulled for pending trades. I also write the person’s name in the box (they are made of paper using my origami talents) so I know who to contact/send the cards to.

That’s my system, it’s a bit convoluted, but I think it works – I’ve got 7 or so envelopes ready to go out on Tuesday…and five more waiting for me to write posts about as we speak!

21 02 2011
Rhubarb_Runner

Nachos, we’re on the same wavelength. I also have a spreadsheet (name, status [in the works, owe something, due something, etc], address, URL, email address), I have small team boxes to trade, and I have “in the works” cards in team bags or boxes with a post-it identifying the trader

21 02 2011
Play at the Plate

Holy cow. I’m so jealous of some of that organization. I’m a disorganized person I’m real life and that has translated over to my collection as well.

25 02 2011
jim (gcrl)

i try to track by saving emails. i have a ‘cards sent’ folder for when i send first, a ‘cards received’ folder for when they send first, and a ‘completed trades’ folder for when it’s all done.
as of now, i owe a couple of folks packages, and there are a few emails in the ‘cards sent’ folder that date back quite a while which thankfully is not the norm.

2 03 2011
skoormit

Use Zistle to keep track of what you have in your collection. It’s free. Then when someone says “Got any Mets?” you just export a spreadsheet with all your Mets listed. The up front time to enter all your cards is considerable. I did it a half hour at a time here and there when I had the time to spare. It’s a great activity for when I’m sitting on the couch half-watching a tv show.

Go to http://www.zistle.com right now, sign up, and don’t look back.

Also, when you are working out a trade with someone, make a spreadsheet on Google docs and share it with that person. Update the sheet as cards are added to the trade. Much easier than keeping up with a list over dozens of emails.

Final piece of advice: don’t put more time into trading than you have time to put, and do let people know when you expect to have time for the next step. If you get an email saying “Hey, I saw you had such and such card, I’d love it, what other Rockies do you have, and here’s my list of stuff let me know what I can trade you,” it’s perfectly okay to respond with “Great, I’ll set that card aside for you, but give me until Saturday to go through your list and get back to you with the Rockies stuff I have.”

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