Things Will Go Wrong

When trading banana labels things will go wrong. Murphy's law is a general statement and the collector of banana labels are not protected. He said: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.  I would like give some examples.

  1. The letter is getting lost in the mail. There are doubts whether the letter was sent at all.
  2. The labels that I receive are not what I have expected. Something is there, but not what was agreed. Important labels are missing or there are many labels that I did not asked for instead. The other collector seems not to take great care like I'm doing it.
  3. The labels I receive are in a very low quality. They are wrinkled, the color peels off, the corners are pinched and they stick on a plastic foil where it is not removeable. It is far away of the quality I like to collect and keep it in my collection.
  4. When doing an asynchronous trade there is no chance to agree the right number of labels in advance. For example: I ask for a brand new set of labels someone has found just in a supermarket. The trade partner send this set but want to choose what he likes to get in exchange later due to the lack of time. And than later, your trade partner choose from your trade list the oldest and rares labels ever. You do not like to give the gems in exchange for the common labels you can trade also from many other collectors instead. To say no to the trade when you already have the labels is difficult.
  5. You see a special label you always like to get in the trade list of some one else, but the trade partner does not send it to you and gives no good reason. You have the feeling he does not like to trade with you at all.
  6. When you like to negotiate a trade and the collector acts incompetent and is not able to finalize the trade. How do you cancel what you have started or find the lowest common denominator? What is when he has not the same speed as you (too slow vs too fast)?
  7. The trade partner does not send anything, because he stopped collecting or want to have a long break. He does not answer to any e-mails any more and is just gone.
  8. The trade partner send the labels but it takes always ages and many e-mails to remind him. You do not feel respected.
  9. Or the other way round: You like to send and it is on your list, but you are not able to send the labels right now for one of many reasons and you get many, many reminders from an impationed collector.
  10. You have send the labels that you have been asked for, but the other collector starts annoying discussions about small colour variants or other minor details and say this is not what he wanted to have.
  11. I'm very good to mix the sets. So when I find huge sets from CR and PA it happens that PA labels are in the CR set. That means the set a collector does get are incomplete and replacement labels - that must be organized - will look different.

If something went wrong, you may not be insulting. The things mentioned at the list above happens often. But in the course of many years, everything will adjust. It is a wonder in collecting banana labels that you do not need to worry. Just learn to relax, which does not mean to do a trade that is not in the right balance. What I like to say in this article: Be tolerant.

BTW, we all should know that registered letters from Ecuador or Denmark are very expensive. When one site has to pay a lot of money and the other one not, they handle a trade different. To send labels from Ecuador is difficult. Not the labels are the problem but the low number of post offices that are only in the big cities, the time to go to there and the high price for the porto. So when I just send an other letter when labels are accidentally missing,  some other collectors could avoid it because of the cost and necessary time.

Some ideas to be prepared

One advice from me is to document what was requested and what you have send. There are software programs in the internet available to capture the screen. For example 'FireShot' for most of the browsers. At least this way you know later when there are discussions, what was requested:

And then I would suggest to take pictures of what you have send. Your camera should be very good to check each detail otherwise you should scan the label you have put into the envelope. So you know later what you have send in detail:

So in general I would say

  1. Keep the number of labels in the trade low when you do not really know your tradepartner well. So when a letter is lost or you do not get something in exchange it is not that big problem
  2. Document what was asked for and what you have send. Send a picture of what you put in the envelope and give some time to check the shipment.
  3. If labels are damaged you should mention it before you send. In general store your duplicates on the original wax paper or baking paper. Your duplicates should be in best condition when sending it to other collectors.
  4. Send your letter quick and do not wait many weeks. Your tradepartner is waiting for the labels or will trade the same labels from other tradepartners in the mean time, because he does not really know any more what he has requested from you.
  5. If you receive labels from a trade partner let him know about it and the labels are save in your collection.

We know we all act in best intentions. We are surroundet by best intentions, always. But things can go wrong. So what to do and how to be prepared? Do you have also some examples, what do you suggest to do?



Last modified: 

Jun 2020


I have always scanned the

I have always scanned the labels I have sent to someone. But your advice to make a screenshot of the labels someone wants to have from you, is a good idea. It has happened to me, that I wanted some labels, but the letter is taking a long time to arrive. And , of course, I don’t always remember exactly what I wanted, and I I ask a different collector for labels, which I am going to receive. That way, I have innecessary duplicates. I tried the screenshot today, and I will do it from now on to avoid any misunderstanding. Thank you, Michael.