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When I was at a zine event recently I was going around doing some trading, and there was one guy whose behaviour really rubbed me up the wrong way. I don't mind if people aren't up for trading, maybe they need the cash, or have a huge backlog of traded zines to read at home or something, but this guy said he was up for trading, but then insisted on inspecting all my zines for a good 10 minutes "to see if they were good enough" and quizzed me about my "motivations for making them" before trading. The zines we were swapping were exactly the same size with the same no. of pages (and his turned out to not have much in them actually). I can understand asking what the topic or zine type is, and having a quick flick to see if it's your thing, but to deliberately try to make the other person feel small? Not cool.

Anyone else experienced this when trading face to face?

Tags: gripes, grrrrrrr, trading

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I've been in similar situations. If you ask me if you say you do trades that just trade with everyone within reason (no trading a 8 page quarter size zine for a 64 page full size zine. If the 64 page zine wants to it's fine, but he shouldn't feel obligated.) I say after a minute or 2 of looking at your zine as you stand there like an idiot you should just take your zine back and say "forget it." If you're not willing to trade with everyone then don't hype the fact that you do trades.
That guy sounds like a real pretentious loser! I agree with Ericfishlegs that if you're going to trade, trade. You get what you get and you can always send it to a zine library if it turns out not to be your thing.

Maybe the trading guy was trying to make conversation when asking you about your motivations for making them. I don't know, I wasn't there, but I am trying to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. I know I am often awkward in social situations and perhaps come across as interrogating rather than simply interested. But telling you he wanted "to see if they were good enough..." that seems out of line to me.
and that's why i dont trade that often - besides the fact i'm a grumpy old fart, there does seem to be an attitude with some "tradees" about whether yr zine is worthy of a trade. don't ask about trades if yr being "particular", as for looking to see if your work "is good enough" that is just rude and wrong.
Yep. that exact same thing happened to me at TINA fest ival in newcastle. I tend to be pretty submissive. But I just ignored him. Ive witnessed buddies be hell tough on people when they show their zine and ask to swap, only to be abswered with a 'no'.

could also be people arent satisfied with the amount theyve made.
One certain Australian person stood at my zine table at the most recent TINA festival zine fair and read my entire zine for 15 minutes then didn't buy it... then came back towards the end of the festival and asked to trade for it. I said, you might as well pick something else cos you've read this.

womans monthly said:
Yep. that exact same thing happened to me at TINA fest ival in newcastle. I tend to be pretty submissive. But I just ignored him. Ive witnessed buddies be hell tough on people when they show their zine and ask to swap, only to be abswered with a 'no'.

could also be people arent satisfied with the amount theyve made.
Wow, that person seems obnoxious! Sometimes I can't trade zines because I'm still working on paying back printing costs but I always have a zine I can trade. I have been known to make really small print run arty zines that are only for trading. I even printed one on a mimeograph machine! Another one was like a little folder with small zines in envelopes and flaps with gocco prints. These were just for trading. They were small but took a lot of care to put together.
I really could just blow a snot rocket on people who read a WHOLE zine while standing at your table at a zine fair!
While sitting at my zine fair table a grubby hipster wandered up and read (or at least leafed through) one of my zines cover to cover, which was a little bit awkward, as he was standing in front of me for about fifteen minutes. During that span he laughed out loud no fewer than four times (and I'd like to think that the inner chuckles were nearly eviscerating him!).

When finished, he dropped the copy back on the table and said, "How much is this?"

Happy to have found a fan of my vain ramblings I was feeling generous and replied, "You know what, just take it."

"Nah, that's OK," he mumbled, already moving on to the next table, "it's not really my thing."

Youch!!
I once traded with the guy who runs Black Cat Distro (in BC, Canada) and he valued my zines at $1 each, cause I sell by donation only, but valued his at $3 and $4 and so on, even though mine were much larger... About a year later I find out that he's selling my zine to AK Press and he's removed my contact info from it! What an ass!

It was cool to see my zine listed (with a cool synopsis) in the AK Press catalogue, though...
Mostly unrelated to this topic but sort of related to Danny's post-

At the Boston Zine Fair last year a woman came in on Sat. and bought my newest issue, number 12. On Sunday she came back and told me she really enjoyed my zine and wanted to buy copies of 10 and 11 as well. Feeling generous I say "Here, take a copy of #9 as well." because... well, why the Hell not? If it makes sense you'll understand and if it doesn't then no amount of explaining will do it. Anyhow, she refuses the free zine. I insist she take it but she refuses to do so even though I know I've literally wasted dozens of zines over the years so giving one to someone who I knew would enjoy it would be a genuine pleaure. Finally through shrewd negotiating we agreed she could have it for half price. I tell the story of the woman who refused a free zine. Somewhere out there this woman is telling the story of the guy who demanded she pay a dollar for a zine she didn't really want.

Nothing's worse than the guy who lingers at your table reading your zine w/o buying or trading, though. Matter of fact if you look in the background of this youtube clip-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drGHfyTNldI

You can see a dude pulling that stunt at my very table. The guy was there for at least 10 minutes. Keep on watching and you can see me talking to a crazy dude. Nice dude and he gave me a cool drawing me made, but he was also goofier than a pet coon.
well since i publish so infrequently, i take it in stride if people DONT want to trade with me, or prefer to have me pay..however there was a situation during a philly zine fest that did piss me off trading-wise in a way.

there was this guy, typical super-hipster-hippy type who was pawing through my latest zine that well was half-blank
(it was about podcasting and i 'left' it half-blank so that people could make notes/brainstorm ideas about their future podcasts...i suck at layout okay?) but it was still relatively cheap and he was reading it and then "measuring" the written pages vs the blank pages and then set it down...well okay fine...

then later on he came by the table asking for/about trades and when he got to me he gave me his 'business card', which was actually the venue manager's business cards swiped from the swag table with her information SCRATCHED OUT and wrote his own in...and his 'zine' was basically a myspace page of rantings about veganism that i've read/seen/heard before...i can deal if you are too cheap to buy a zine that may not be to your taste, but if you cant take a sheet of paper fold/cut/print or write your deets down to network and you take someone else's promo-space that they took the time to do for their own thing...you FAIL...subsequently i've run into this dude at several events and he always gives off the 'irritating' vibe...i'm no neo-con but there is such as thing as liberal-beyond-reality.

but to circle back to the original premise, you dont have to be an asshat when trading! if you dont like it, okay, but give at least enough courtesy to the person who created something and has been sitting behind a table for hours...! and the same goes for zinesters, if you dont want to trade, make it known by signage or at least a short but sweet reply, you came to a zine event to make friends not lose them.

and that's my .02

-r
Bird in the Hand said:
One certain Australian person stood at my zine table at the most recent TINA festival zine fair and read my entire zine for 15 minutes then didn't buy it... then came back towards the end of the festival and asked to trade for it. I said, you might as well pick something else cos you've read this.

womans monthly said:
Yep. that exact same thing happened to me at TINA fest ival in newcastle. I tend to be pretty submissive. But I just ignored him. Ive witnessed buddies be hell tough on people when they show their zine and ask to swap, only to be abswered with a 'no'.

could also be people arent satisfied with the amount theyve made.

ha ha! what did they look like?

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