Thursday, June 5, 2008

Years of Clinique leads to quite a collection of Gift-With-Purchase makeup bags -- too many, and yet all too small to store the large quantities of lipstick bought to enable these GWPs in the first place. But we can't just trow away a nice floral-print PVC zippered pouch, so until now they've sat in a drawer in the closet. Le sigh.

Until now! Now I have discovered the wonder of swapping on Makeupalley. The site, which I used previously for user reviews, hosts a forum where ladies to trade lipgloss for lipgloss, shampoo for scrub, and four samples of MAC pigment for -- yes -- my useless little make-up bags. Useless to me, but an excellent find for Irony26 from Sublimity, OR, who apparently has a multitude of craft supplies to organize.

Over the last two weeks, I've received lipsticks, gloss, polish, and a bevy of "extras" -- it's standard, though not obligatory, to toss in a teeny sample or other free/cheapo bit of beauty with your swap.

I've also become a post office expert. Wednesday, I helped a woman with limited English and complete lack of USPS knowledge mail her Comcast bill, then explained the APC to a thoroughly mesmerized woman. (The APC, for you novices, is the Automatic Postal Center for weighing packages and printing lables. I highly recommend.)

Brian seemed skeptical -- and frankly, it's a little weird not knowing exactly where this gloss passed between Dior and my doorstep. But most people list (hopefully honestly) whether a product has been used, and every user receives reviews and positive or negative 'tokens' after a swap. So far, all my brand new friends have sent things in excellent condition. I can't imagine much greater rick here than sampling my way through Sephora on a busy Saturday.

And the benefits are excellent: swapping is like online shopping, except you only pay shipping. I get to tidy my stash, test brands I don't normally buy, and receive fun little packages of fun in mail. I also like to think we're helping the environment a bit by reusing and recycling. Al Gore would certainly be proud.

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