December Swap (12th!) recap

As Douglas Addams had said about deadlines, swap nº12 made a wooshing noise when passing and then it was over… I had my excuses for a divided attention: my mother-in-law was in town (and at the swap already), my mom and my grandma were arriving the next day, and I was my PhD thesis defense on Monday (don’t ask about that, you can download the whole thing here). Insane, I know, but I had fixed the date for the swap way before I got my defense date… a girl has to have her priorities in order! So I just tried to breathe through it and survive.

Hence there are very few things that I noticed through the blur that those days were:

A morning beer sometimes helps to keep it all together.

A Christmas playlist

I made a thematic playlist, yes! I don’t remember when that happened, really. But I’m quite proud of the result, I – imho – that it manages to be festive and nostalgic without being idiotic or religious. And, judging by the feedback I received during the swap, some of you enjoyed it too. Here you have it for when the next ‘deck the halls’ season comes.

Clarinha-the-little-bear came by too to spread some love.


So many people, so little money, so little leftovers

While we do no formal tracking of attendance or the amount of clothes swapped (this wasn’t the most popular one according to the FB event stats), I have a feeling that this time there were a lot of people who passed through the event and a lot of garments that got circulated. So far so good, no? Well, yes, but… there were very few drinks consumed – 29.84€ for Ateneu, an all time low since I have data on this – and very few tips (18.23€). And that means that this event has cost me an extra 26.69€ out of my own pocket… Dear people, duct tape is an expensive commodity!

The overall feeling I have is that the great majority of people who came by did exactly that: passed by and was on their way after that. Without hanging around and having a drink. Or stopping to think that there are costs. Popcorn, duct tape, and such… If I would be to treat this like a learning opportunity (ugh!), it probably means that there is a space for a programmatic improvement so that the swap won’t be just a no money shop for people. I would prefer it to be a more intimate, social experience but I’m still a bit unclear on how to achieve it.

On a more pleasurable note, there were relatively few leftovers. That made the wrap-up much more pleasant! And we – thank you so much Coco and Cyntia! – also took care about the ‘what are the people thinking’ rag section on the same day by taking it to the closest orange container and thereby reducing the Botiga Gratis load to be taken to Banc Expropriat. This practice will be repeated next time. And I’m thinking about ways to make the ‘please don’t bring this here’ pieces more visible for some possible pedagogical effect.


Long live initiative (Coco is a godess!)

Through the above-mentioned blur, I had decided to take care of the leftovers for Botiga Gratis sometime… I just parked that thought while celebrating my PhD and doing touristy stuff with my family. And then magic happened! On Wednesday evening Raúl informed me that Coco had taken those bags to Botiga Gratis. Oh, sweet gratitude and relief!

She had even done some educational work with the Botiga Gratis ladies trying to convince them that using the orange containers for the discarded garments is a good idea. I had understood that their use of the gray landfill containers for that end was their rebellion against the Roba Amiga system… maybe it’s just ignorance. Or Coco might be clearer or more persuasive in her communication of the importance of proper recycling than I am.

This comes down to issues with delegation and my wish to control, of course… but also proves that dedicated-enough people can overrule those impulses by just doing what has to be done without even necessarily informing me. This is, of course, for those who know what has to be done! I still expect caution and ‘ask first’ strategy from first-time volunteers. Again, this filled me with joy. Thank you so much!

The little fluffy friends know that hanging around and enjoying the party is very important part of a swap.


While I’m brainstorming about the possible improvements, see you on February 8th… I encourage suggestions but also ask for consideration: be gentle with what you think is a brilliant piece of advice! Read my policy statement beforehand, please.

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