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Subject: Math Trade Shipping Etiquette rss

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Patrick Ross
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I have just recently discovered the world of Math Trades and I am having a blast. Although the typical Math Trade contains many stipulations to level the playing field for all participants, there is no directives regarding shipping. Being on the frugal (thrifty, cheap, skinflintish, you decide?), I shipped all outgoing my games Parcel Post. I was a bit embarassed to find that just about all my incoming games arrived Priority Mail.

Did I violate an unwritten rule of Math Trade? Or perhaps it was a written rule?

Was my penny pinching simply smart shopping or bad manners or cheating?

I am sure that there will be no shortage of opinions. Thanks in advance.
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Beau Bailey
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GuppyGamer wrote:
I have just recently discovered the world of Math Trades and I am having a blast. Although the typical Math Trade contains many stipulations to level the playing field for all participants, there is no directives regarding shipping. Being on the frugal (thrifty, cheap, skinflintish, you decide?), I shipped all outgoing my games Parcel Post. I was a bit embarassed to find that just about all my incoming games arrived Priority Mail.

Did I violate an unwritten rule of Math Trade? Or perhaps it was a written rule?

Was my penny pinching simply smart shopping or bad manners or cheating?

I am sure that there will be no shortage of opinions. Thanks in advance.


I have received packages shipped all kinds of ways. I tend to only use Priority Mail as the box is free and I don't have to worry about anything else. The quick shipping is a bonus for the recipient. The only time I use a different method is if a box is very large (FFG coffin box, etc.) and then I ship via UPS's packing service.

As for receiving a game, I really don't care. If it gets to me in good condition and within a reasonable amount of time (and Parcel Post is reasonable), the sender can ship it anyway they want.
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Andrew Walters
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Unless specified, I think you're free to ship however you like. I think USPS wants to get out of the "Parcel Post" business, because the price difference for most games I've shipped has fallen to little or nothing compared to the flat rate priority mail boxes.

I suspect some people may choose the shipping method based on what they can do from work without drawing attention to the package.

Andrew
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Cynan de Leon
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Priority mail = free box + faster shipping
Delivery confirmation = shipping - worries

My fiancee used to ship all sorts of stuff through eBay, and she suggested Priority Mail for the first math trade in which I participated. It worked out well, and so I continue to use it.

I hope you enjoy your game.
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Matt Sturm
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Ditto on USPS Priority vs. PP. Priority is often the same price or just a few cents more, and the delivery confirmation and speed are always worth it.
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Alan Reeve
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Funny to see this today after pondering the same question on Monday when I shipped my first 'ship Math Trade' games ever. I ended up shipping UPS to get the insurance and tracking included in the event of a problem and knowing the UPS has paid on insurance claims in the past whereas the post office has not (yes, even on insured items it was paperwork off to the DC office followed by no response and my local branch being able to do nothing).

However, after pricing things out UPS tacked on a bonus $4.75 rural surchange fee for one package. That ticked me off and reminds me that I need to email them about that.
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Erik D
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I tend to ship via the cheapest option (except in cases where Priority would only be an extra 50 cents or so, then I spring for it).

As a recipient, as long as it all arrives in good condition, I have no problem waiting an extra day or two so the sender can save a few bucks. That's the point of Math Trades after all--getting a new game on the cheap!
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Scott Russell
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I use priority mail because it means I don't have to get to the post office during business hours. However, the Tide of Iron that I had to send to the other side of the country made it worth the short line.
 
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Bryan Maxwell
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I ship via USPS (mostly out of habit.) I'll ship using whichever option is cheapest unless Priority Mail is only $1 or so more, in which case I'll use that.

I like it when people ship promptly but as long as the package gets here safely in a reasonable amount of time, I'm not worried about it.
 
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Jonny Lawless
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If the package is under 4lbs, I'll pay the extra buck or so for priority.

If over 4lbs, I'll pay the $10 less to ship parcel.
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David F
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Same, PP unless Priority is just a dollar more expensive.

This usually means anything Medium Square (e.g. Ticket to Ride) or bigger goes PP.
 
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Stewart
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Might i just add, wow i love the people on here. Where else would you see people worried about etiquette! Good to know there are still decent folk out there... BGG'ers that is!
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Chester
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The only "rule" is that you should clearly indicate where you're willing to ship (overseas, Canada, etc). Many people place restrictions on where they're willing to ship. Personally, I don't...and a couple times I've had expensive fees. I usually say I'll pay up to a certain $ amount, so the recipient pays the balance if its a lot (which happens with overseas packages).

Its unwise not to have some sort of delivery confirmation. It allows easy tracking in the case of any mishaps, and protects both sender and recipient.

Some people are almost militant about shipping the game immediately. I think as long as you let the other party know what's going on, provide a tracking number as far as possible, and ship the game in a way so that it is well protected in route, that's all that is reasonably expected.

I've done at least a hundred trades now, and never had a bad experience. One time the recipient didn't like what he received so we traded back. That's the most extreme its ever been.
 
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King Friday wrote:
Ditto on USPS Priority vs. PP. Priority is often the same price or just a few cents more, and the delivery confirmation and speed are always worth it.


While this may be true on occasion, this isn't remotely the rule. I just shipped a package PP because it cost me $13 and Priority would have been over $20.
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Since I print my labels online, the online discount usually makes Priority the same price, and delivery confirmation is free, so I go with that, and drop packages off as I walk by the post office on my way to work. The USPS will also pick up Priority packages, if need be.
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Jonny Lawless
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feydjm wrote:
King Friday wrote:
Ditto on USPS Priority vs. PP. Priority is often the same price or just a few cents more, and the delivery confirmation and speed are always worth it.


While this may be true on occasion, this isn't remotely the rule. I just shipped a package PP because it cost me $13 and Priority would have been over $20.


Yup. If the package is under four pounds the price is very close, but if the package is over that, the difference can be very real.
 
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Skip Olivares
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Being new to math trades, I sent off my first two games priority. I thought that was just proper etiquette.

While I can understand sending it parcel if it costs much more (because it's more than 4 pounds), if the game is 4 pounds or less and someone still decides to send it parcel instead of priority, I think that's tacky as all hell.

I'm also pretty militant about people mailing me games ASAP, partly because I'm impatient and partly because I hold myself to the same standard and ship as fast as possible as well (I ship the day of or the day after a math trade ends).
 
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Tom McThorn
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Depending on the box size the price difference between PP and Priority isn't much. Larger items will cost a LOT more to use Priority over Parcel Post. I sold a copy of Shogun (MB version) on eBay. Priority shipping: $60. Parcel post: $15.

One thing of note: if you have a small/light item you can send a small box up to 14 oz in weight for under $3 first class mail.
 
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feydjm wrote:
King Friday wrote:
Ditto on USPS Priority vs. PP. Priority is often the same price or just a few cents more, and the delivery confirmation and speed are always worth it.


While this may be true on occasion, this isn't remotely the rule. I just shipped a package PP because it cost me $13 and Priority would have been over $20.

It's a function of distance. If you're shipping to somewhere relatively close to your location, Priority is often very cheap. If you're going across the country, Priority becomes unreasonably expensive.

Honestly, I hardly ever use USPS anymore though - UPS offers much better rates over 4 lbs or so and their tracking system is actually reliable. I was able to send a 7lb box across the country for $9 this week; it would have been over double that for Priority, and even PP would have been significantly more.
 
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Jack Defevers
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GuppyGamer wrote:

Did I violate an unwritten rule of Math Trade? Or perhaps it was a written rule?

Was my penny pinching simply smart shopping or bad manners or cheating?


Whatever it may have been in the past, there's an incredibly easy solution to avoiding these concerns in the future. In your math trade item descriptions, include a statement along the lines of "I'll pay for shipping (which will be by USPS parcel post)."
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