One of my favorite sites, Swap-Bot, has a lively forum in which people discuss the ups and downs of swapping (and, for that matter, life in general). A topic recently came up in which some complained about having created a thoughtful, time-consuming Artist Trading Card, only to get back the type in which the person “slapped a sticker on a piece of paper and called it done.”
A lively discussion ensued about the relative worth of art, how people perceive it differently, etc. – and then someone mentioned how annoying it was when people try to garner good ratings by sending “extras” in their swap packages. Now normally, this would get you a higher rating, if you were to read the recipient’s profile and do your best to send something she would really like. However, some people think that throwing any old thing into the package should merit high ratings, and it seems that what most of these people choose to send are what have affectionately become known on Swap-Bot as “cheap reward stickers.”
(If you’re a teacher, you know exactly what these are – tiny, cutesy stickers that cost about one dollar per thousand, which are used to praise and encourage students. Almost nobody likes getting these in a swap, because the vast majority of us are not teachers and have no use for them.)
After a hearty discussion amongst those who kept getting “stuck” with these stickers, someone came up with a brilliant idea: why not have an ATC swap using cheap reward stickers? Thus the beautiful and ironic merging of two bains of a swapper’s existence – badly made ATCs and cheap reward stickers. The rules: You are to only use cheap reward stickers – no other “art” – and add a caption. You are to make two ATCs in this manner and send them to one person.
I signed up immediately.
I proceeded to make three very awful ATCs. Three because I just couldn’t stop at two. They were too much fun.
I sent all three of them to my swap partner, with a note stating that she must have been misbehaving badly lately, because I felt compelled to send her more than two.
I have my fingers crossed that the ones I receive are just as bad, if not worse, than these. (Though admittedly it would be hard to imagine worse.)