By James Friedman

As a seven year veteran of Sports Card Forum (http://www.sportscardforum.com) it never ceases to amaze (or annoy) me the frequency with which people whine in their thread titles about not being able to get trades done. I’d like to share my perspective on this subject.

Getting two parties to agree on a trade is not as easy as people think. We all have different ways of valuing cards and we should consider it amazing that trades are done with the frequency they are done.

Some people won’t trade down; some won’t trade autographed cards for game used cards; others won’t trade Game used for Rookie cards. Some trade by Sale Value; others by Book Value. I think that we sometimes lose sight of how hard it is to formulize a trade that pleases both parties.

People who think the trading is slow should look at the monthly leader boards from years past when there was not the large number of active members there is today. One month I was Trader of the Month with a whopping total of three trades!

With the membership have grown so dramatically, there are thousands of trades being made monthly. If you are unsuccessful in making trades, you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are part of the problem.

Many times people will have thread titles asking ”Are my cards that bad?”. It often is a matter of who the trader is and what his reputation is like on the boards, not a question of the quality of the cards.

I have also found during the past seven years that for whatever reason there are short stretches of time where I just can’t seem to get any trades done. I don’ know why this is so; I only know that I periodically experience “fallow” trade periods, sometimes right after getting a bunch of trades done.

I would also offer the following questions for those who cannot get trades done as often as they like.

Are your wants broad or narrow? Remember that if you are super-collecting one player and have virtually all of his cards except 1 of 1’s, the likelihood of people being able to help you is going to be small.

Are your wants and your haves reasonably on the same level of value? You aren’t going to get a whole lot of responses if you want to trade base cards for high end autographs. It is important that you be realistic in your collecting goals.

Do you keep your trade list updated? It can be frustrating to the other party if everything he likes from your bucket or trade list is gone. I try to update monthly, and sometimes that’s not even enough.

Do you take the time to respond to everyone who posts in your threads with a simple “I have that card already?”. Courtesy goes along way with fellow traders. Unfortunately too many people ignore the posts in their threads and just bump the thread. This leaves you wondering if they are not interested or if they didn’t see the post.

Do you take the time to go through other members’ threads? You cannot expect to trade as often if you do not respond to other thread as well as starting your own. I am sure that over the years more than half of my trades have come about from posting on another member’s thread.

I have also noticed many times that members start threads, never respond to them, and then start a new thread for exactly the same topic a day or two later.

There are also traders who indicate that they are too busy too go through trade lists or buckets. If you are one of those, you are implying that your time is more valuable than the other person’s time. This can be off-putting to fellow traders. If you are not willing to look for cards you may be interested in, we can’t just guess what you might like.

On the other hand, if you respond “Check my Bucket” to someone who is only trading for specific needs, and you know you do not have any of those needs, don’t be surprised if a trade cannot be worked out.

Many times someone posts a card that I am interested in, but I will skip the thread if I know I cannot help with what the other person is looking for.

Maybe it sounds corny but the best approach is to follow the golden rule and treat other members as you wish to be treated.