It’s summer time and the caching has been easy, travels have taken us to all over the land and there seems to be a prevailing commonality wherever you go…There are “accuracy snobs” everywhere.
Now to be fair to these people, let me say first off, I know co-ords are supposed to be accurate to save wear and tear by cachers to the surroundings and preserve the ecology of this land. I am talking specifically about those cachers who don’t seem to have any “caching sense” at all.
It occurred to me a short while ago, these types of players don’t use the most valuable tools a cacher has, what I have referred to as “geo senses.”
I was out showing off the sport to some friends of ours. I picked out a cache in a tourist area that only had been found once since published, (I was thinking there would be some good swag) The first finder of it claimed the co-rds were off by at least 15 to 20 yards, so knowing this, we headed out for a good hunt. The newbies were gung-ho for a find and started to look for it before we even got close to the cache. “Slow down” I said “this might take a while.” While explaining the art of looking for a cache, I said, ” once the GPS slows to only a few feet away, pocket the device and start letting your common sense kick in, there are only so many places you could hide a small box so look around for a tree of a bush or even a manmade object with a crevice in it.” So, as it goes, I stood as a marker within a few feet of the cache location and let my friends poke around for a bit. “I see a box!!” my friend claimed, “but I don’t want to touch it.” “It’s ok,” I said, “I’ll get it out.” Our friends were just amazed by the box, the swag, the book, the official geo sticker on the side. So if I can get newbies to “get it” why can’t we get players with 2000 finds to figure it out?
It would seem the “accuracy snobs” of this world want the GPS to count them down to zero, then point a light on the cache hiding spot. I have said it before people, “It’s a searching game, search for it!” Put down the GPS and start thinking like a geocacher. Is it really too much to ask that you have to look for it for more than a minute? Are the co-rds really so far off it worth noting in your log, or telling on the C.O. to the reviewer of the cache? Probably not, but hey if it makes you feel like some sort of “bigshot” for the day , hey, you go right ahead…
One of the reasons this issue deserves a post is sometimes the “well meaning” individuals sometimes cause more harm than good…
On a recent cache outing near my house, a couple of finders of it had noted about a 20 yard discrepancy. So armed with 3 sets of co-ords for what should have been a a very simple find, it wound up being the “3 hour tour” of geocaching. On my first attempt at a find I used the co-ords added by a geo-friend of mine, surely a friend wouldn’t steer me wrong, correct? Nice try, but not near the cache location at all. The second set of co-ords tried were left posted by the local “Mr. know it all” in my area so I pretty much trusted they were right and gave it another go. Still no joy, so I convinced my ego that the cache had been muggled and set out for home. I did not log a “DNF” instead, I read over other logs that had been posted for the cache. One log was very simply put “The name makes sense once you find it! TFTF” Suddenly my cache sense kicked in and I then realized I had not used the co-rds left by the C.O.. Revitalized with what I felt would be the key to finding this one, I once again, darted out the door. On my second try, I counted down the feet until there were no more to be had, placed the GPS in my pocket and stood there looking around the full 360. There it was… a marker in the natural surroundings that matched the cache name, (if you use your imagination) only about 10 yards away. That was it alright , found, signed, and a celebratory picture taken with my smartphone. Marched home triumphantly to log my find feeling very proud of myself that I had not given up too soon.
It can be helpful sometimes when the cache co-rds get updated, but for the caches that are only a few yards off sometimes the “well meaning, do-gooders” have caused more harm than good. Would it kill some of these people to put down the GPS and have a look at their surroundings? Sometimes what they are bitching about is in plain sight if they would just stop glaring into their electronic devices. Give it some thought for a second, just because it did not count you down to zero and then give you an instant find, doesn’t mean it did not credit you with some common sense. A lot less damage to the area can be done by letting your “geo-senses” kick in, rather than ripping apart a landscape.
It would seem sometimes we are more focused on the find than the journey and the enjoyment of the surroundings caching gives us. How are we to expect the next generation of kids who are glued into their smartphone communications to put down the device, when we seem so incredibly reliant on ours? Put down the device people, enjoy, and actually look for it.
Not so long ago, I received notice from cachers that a cache of mine was now sharing a hiding spot with the local wildlife. Without a second thought, I dashed out the door to retrieve my container. My intent was to remove the cache and archive the listing, I would never want it to be my fault some poor critter has come to harm or been harassed by cachers as a result of my hobby. The retrieval was successful, the box did not have any chew marks on it, and looked none the worse for wear. It had been a popular cache, several players having a watch on it, and after 2 years and almost 200 finders, it was time to give it up, and go on to a new hide. You would have thought after the archival, the story was over, but no, it was just about to begin….
I quickly got the feeling the locals did not want it to go, as it turned out I was going to have to defend my decision to several different local cachers. My responses were always quick and polite to each player who inquired, but now it’s time to answer them “Bitchy Cacher” style, just because isn’t that what everyone really wants me to do?
First Comment on cache page… “This one has been on my ‘to-do list’ for a while, do you mind if I still log it as a find? My response; “You have only had 2 @#$%^ years to find it !! But of course you may log a find seeing how you are not just some dumb @#$% off the internet. Go ahead, I put my trash to the corner every Tuesday night. You will find the log book in my trash can next to the freezer burnt ice cream and Sunday nights mashed potatoes.”
Next comment came from the local Mr. “know-it-all” In my area. “Too bad, I liked taking newbies to find it, Couldn’t you have just moved the cache without archiving it?” My response ” The idea was to stop cachers altogether from coming into the area…, wait… you mean to tell me you have been going there and finding it over and over again?!!! For @#$% sakes!! Get another hobby!!! Moving it was never an option, the eco friendly answer was stop any people from coming to the habitat area and harassing the local fauna. My choice, get over it.”
And of course there is always one or two players who didn’t get the memo…. Cache DNF log entry;…”Looked high and low, we’ll be back!!” My response: ” Er, um…when the name of the cache has a big red line through it, it means it has been archived….actually, never mind… go ahead and take a smiley for your stupidity. I’ll be sure to top up the swag on my next maintenance run . Good luck, I’m sure you’ll find it next time.”
Last but not least, I get this as a personal note from what obviously is a young cacher; “Bummer, dude, can I have your spot?” My response; “Oh how incredibly excellent ! Sweet! Would also make a bodacious spot to smoke a bong, enjoy!! Keep the @#$% away moron, it was archived for a reason.”
It would seem archiving a cache for ecological reasons simply is not enough for some players. Some, as it would seem need clarification, allow me to be clear here… because I @#$%&* wanted to.
Carry on caching folks,
Lately readers have been leaving a lot of off topic crap as comments on my rants. It is quite obvious some of my readers have a lot more to bitch about than I do. (I am so proud) In today’s rant, I am going to run down some of the common and reoccurring ones.
1. Wrong size of cache listed.
So why do players let themselves be bothered by this? Did you have a travel bug that wouldn’t fit? Are your fingers so fat they couldn’t get the log out of the pill bottle? Were you expecting fabulous valuable swag? A cache is a cache, you find, you sign the log , you leave. The complaint that your travel bug wasn’t going to fit in the bison tube probably could have been avoided if you had looked at the other cache logs and pictures left by previous finders of the cache. If more players would just take the attitude “Ok, I’ll just go find another one to put my TB in” this would not even be a complaint. Listings on caches are not perfect, neither are players in the game, if you are just bitching to prove your right and they are wrong you probably need a new hobby where all users in the game are completely perfect humans. (Lotsa luck to you, you are going to need it)
2. Late first to find logging.
I have blogged about this before, players who have this as a complaint seriously need to stop trying for them. What if the person who found it before you was there only 10 minutes before you arrived? Do you have the right to tell them it was your FTF because they didn’t let you know on the spot they found it first. You tried, you failed, too bad, for the most part we are not children here. The attitude “I’ll get the next one” would be a more positive one and save you from sounding off on someone who simply couldn’t be bothered to log it before heading off to get back to real life. It sounds to me like some of the people who do this kind of bitching only care to get the cache ” IF” they are FTF on it, just finding one apparently is not satisfying enough. Get over it, many caches are found by the CO’s friends first and there is not much anyone can do about that. Calling players out on forums and cache pages just makes you look like a psycho, save it for your therapists office.
3. Manners…, not saying “Thank you.”
Welcome to the “Me” generation people!!! This always has been a long standing problem in society as a whole, not just in geocaching. I don’t understand how we could have lost manners (they have only been around for centuries) but for the most part if you don’t expect them you won’t be disappointed when they don’t happen. Someone gave an example to me of a cache finder leaving a new logbook and zippy bag in place of an old moldy one (basically doing their maintenance for them) and then being pissed they got no “thank you” from them. Although it would have been nice, I think your main source of your disappointment here was your expectation of it. No expectations…no disappointments, it is just that simple. You can not expect other players to play and think like you do, they are not you, and you are not a superior being for pointing it out either.
Leaving another cache in place of one you think is missing should be against the rules. I know most players in the game who do this think they are doing everyone a favor here, but you are not. No one has asked you to do this, perhaps the cache is not missing and just wandered off a few yards, if a CO can not do their own maintenance, it should not be done for them. If the cache area is significant in some way and cachers are trying to keep it alive so others can find it the area would be better served by hitting “Needs Archived” and waiting for the area to open up again to place a new one. I find it a little confusing when I find 2 caches (or logbooks) at a location where only one should be. If anyone was to do this to one of my caches, I will use my manners and say “Thanks for the new container, I will be sure to do this for you one day, if I can’t find yours within 2 minutes”
5. Bad locations.
Now why is this even an issue here? if you go to a restaurant and the floor is dirty, the staff smell of B.O., and there are bugs on the floor do you stay? of course not . So, if you get to a cache location and you have a pungent small of garbage and a few animals carcasses to move to log the cache it is very simple… Don’t find the cache!!! Walk away. I have blogged about this before, we foster the idea that it is a log worthy cache and location by just logging it online. The only log entry needed here is a DNF with a comment as to why you will never be finding it ever. The Bitchy Cacher never leaves a log entry for any cache not worthy of one. I know this varies by opinion , but if I have to get smelly to find it, other cachers should be given a heads up .
Now I know there are a lot more pet peeves of geocachers to be listed than I have time for here, these are just a few but quite a few complaints can be just solved by doing some research before heading out to find. Look at the previous find logs, check out the pictures, find the co-ords on a map first, check out how many favorite points a cache has. I have talked about putting the onus on others for your happiness. Don’t…, it is that simple.., one of the reasons I stated I never found a cache not worthy of a log entry on my last vacation is because I only did ones with several favorite points. Stop going out to find any piece of crap players will throw just anywhere, and I’m sure a lot fewer of them will be getting placed.
Carry on caching folks!
Once in a while, I get asked some very odd questions about our sport. A muggle asked me recently; “What would happen if geocaching was to get banned everywhere?” I could not initially give him a direct answer, but I have given it considerable thought since then. I have arrived at several scenarios thinking about it, only time will tell what would or could happen should our game get outlawed. So in today’s rant we are going to examine the fallout from “The Day the Geocachers Stood Still.”
First and foremost let’s not forget all the lost jobs at Groundspeak. Suddenly all those poor souls in Seattle are out pounding the pavement hoping that someone needs an expert on a no longer existing sport. Well, at least they all probably have a GPS to find new employers with. Don’t worry about all the reviewers all over the world, (none of them are paid anyway) they’ll be o.k. They can always take out a Craigs’ list add that reads ” Will do very little work, for no money.” I’m sure they will have all sorts of replies in no time.
Let us also think about the poor die hards in our sport whose lives seems to revolve around caching events, new cache notices, find counts, daily geocaching forum trolling, and touting themselves to be an expert. Do not fear people!!! The Bitchy Cacher is here for you !!! I am currently working on a 12 step program to gradually wean you off of your tupperware and film can addiction, I am not going to lie to you this will be painful, and may include some shock therapy and some serious meds. You WILL make it through, I guarantee it (or your money back.)
I imagine there would be a massive frenzy of players going out to find (and take) the last few geocaches left out there. Suddenly for a short time there will be find counts of recovered geocaches. Players with false hope will be gathering them up as one last shot at our sport, hoarding all those containers for the faint hope that one day the game will be reinstated, and they can run out the door haphazardly hiding camouflaged containers everywhere. Should you find yourselves sitting on dozens of useless containers years later don’t worry there will be a Bitchy Cachers “Geocachers Anonymous” meeting near you. complete with latitude and longitude directions for you to the location of the meeting. It will be at this point other members will take your old cache boxes from you and recycle them. (We call this step #1 at G.A.) forget about step #1 being admitting you have a problem. (we all know this already and are here for you)
There will always be alternatives to our sport, I imagine if our game does get banned, it will be because of the physical containers geocaching relies on. So there may be a big increase in players in games such as geo-dashing, geo-golf, geo-tagging, and virtual capture the flag type games. So if you thought you looked suspicious when you were geo caching, imagine how you are going to explain yourself when you get caught looking for nothing? And forget about Munzees, chances are if the public is tired of seeing us leave litter all over the place there is a very good chance they don’t want to see us tagging and leaving what basically is graffiti all over town either.
It will take all of us working together to help save our sport in the near future. I can imagine lawyers arguing for our side to reinstate the game in court…, “But your Honor…We are ALL eco- friendly players, Can we please have our ammo cans back?” “I am sorry” the judge will say ” You cannot guarantee in a user based sport all players will play responsibly, so, for those of you who wish to argue it further, I will sentence you to a 30 day stay at The Bitchy Cacher Ranch for recovering addicts, motion denied!!”
Now, why do we even need to explore this issue at all? Because if we don’t stop and take a look at what we are doing, we really do risk getting the sport banned everywhere. It is too bad that so many hours in legislation rooms all over the world have already decided where we can and cannot leave a plastic box. Certain municipal areas, parks and authorities on hi-ways have already banned the game in areas that they control. Could the rest of the areas we play in be far behind? Will some areas get the game banned and others have tons of geo-tourism as a result? Only time will tell. Geocache responsibly please, and enjoy it while you still can.
It would seem everyone has their own take on what rules and courtesies are needed in our sport.
Bloggers, local clubs and Groundspeak have all made etiquette lists in an attempt to get everyone in the game to “play nice.”
Today, we are going to examine this a little further…Do we really need this? Will it work? and Does it go far enough?
Let’s break it down, “Bitchy” style and try to find out.
So we are going to start with the things most cachers seem to agree on;
“Trade items in a cache equally or up”
Ok, so normally this one is a no brainer, even newbie cachers know this one before heading out for their first cache find. Its a good idea but
without checking the integrity of all cachers in our game, who is going to police this rule? Who is to say what is equal? So. of course it is left up to the individual.
Just because you spent five hours making personalized bookmarks for trade doesn’t mean I should have to leave you a car stereo when I take one. Who is going to know?
This idea is a little useless. No one is ever going to know what is coming and going out of a cache unless it is checked daily, and even then, it is all on “the honor system”
Reminding players of this one is a little insulting and just the fact it has to be reiterated shows players don’t really do this. Nice try, but I am never going to hold someone to this idea when
their child saw a troll doll they want and have nothing to leave in exchange for it. It is a cache owners responsibility to keep a cache stocked with swag not the finders of it.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Useless idea.
“Keep trackables moving, and try to honor the goals set for them”
Does anyone do this? I have kept a few trackables I have moved on a “watch” after releasing them, only to find almost no one gives a rats behind what the goals for it are.
On one trackable in particular, the person moving it after myself, decided to schlep the item all around europe, when releasing it would have gotten it closer to its goal of going to
North America then they ever could have. No one seems to care if or when they move a trackable despite what it says in its mission statement. How is a player supposed to know whether or not to even take a trackable when rarely is the goal attached physically to the item. A player has to go home and look up the mission first before deciding whether or not they can help at all with its goal, and if they can not, is it ok to just keep it in you caching bag for a few months? Once again, nice idea but not practical by any means.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Useless idea.
“Be discreet when looking for a cache”
Ok, so I don my trench coat, beret, sunglasses and gloves and head out to try to blend in when searching for a cache. I sneak up on the unsuspecting cache box and voila!
A muggle standing right before me! What to do? Should I kill them? Should I explain what I am doing? Should I lie to them? Should I run? Once again this one is a nice idea but
unless you are caching in the middle of the night in Antarctica, there is always a chance of being seen while caching. I am sure most players in the game realize if they are caught or seen while caching, the chance of the cache getting muggled is always a risk, but then again the chance of the container going missing is a risk we all take when just placing one.
The only way to absolutely ensure you are not caught while geocaching is to find caches in areas where no one is around, there are too many urban high muggle area caches for this idea to of any use to anybody. We all try to be discreet, but there is never any guarantee we were not seen by someone.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Not practical.
“Respect the environment while caching”
This is a good one, but frankly, from my experience no one really seems to care to follow it. A distinctive geo trail is damage already caused by cachers to the environment.
Do you see that trampled grass? Do you see the broken twigs? Do you see the nail in the tree the cache is hanging on? If you are going to find the cache and sign the log you are probably going to step on a living organism to do it. The only way to ensure we leave no trace while caching would be to make sure all caches are accessable while standing
a paved road or a side walk. We as cachers have already caused a lot of damage to our environment, so if we are truly serious about this we should be calling for the archival of caches that have caused damage to an area.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Nice, but in a user based sport, pretty useless.
“Obey local laws while finding a cache”
Ok, terrific, fanastic!… So what are the laws? That is the problem with this one. Unless a cache description spells these laws out for you, how are you supposed to know what they are?
It would seem a lot of cachers don’t even read a description anymore. I have read log entries complaining that a cache is on private property and should be archived, but somehow this did not seem to stop the logger from finding it and signing the logbook anyway. We can not be taking this idea seriously if we find it, and then complain it goes against the laws of the area. Did they not see that big “no trespassing” sign when hiding it? or finding it? If there are laws that must be observed by finders looking for a cache, we shouldn’t expect someone staring into a GPS compass to know exactly what they are espcially if they are just on a vacation to the area.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Good in principle, but without some listed guidelines for finding, not really practical.
“FTF logging and etiquitte”
This is probably the most useless of the ettiquette rules. Yes, it would be nice if everyone could instantly record the find if they are first, that way others won’t waste thier time and
feel dismayed. Let’s get real here people, if I am first to find on something, don’t have a smartphone, and return home to find my kids are starving and my basement is flooded, trust me logging that find is just going to have to wait a few hours until my real life is back to normal, I will not care if you are pissed off and call me out in the local forums, too bad, real life comes first, suck it up and find another. You have no right to judge me when you have no idea what’s going on in my life. I hope you do feel like @#$% when I finally do explain myself.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Useless.
“Geocaches should not be of a commercial nature”
Now, do we really care here? A cache is a cache, if we did allow these types they might actually have some really cool swag or some coupons in them. Apparently a charity cannot even be mentioned in a cache description. The reason this rule is so @#$% useless is; Groundspeak has already done these. So, if they really are going to make this an article of etiquitte we have to make sure even the authority on the sport isn’t allowed to place them either. So once again we all being hippocrates here, We either call for the archival of all the caches groundspeak has been paid to place, or we allow others to place them as well. Don’t worry commercial companies won’t be any better at maintaining thier caches than lazy cache owners are. Does this mean the cache next to the Dairy Queen will have to be archived if I mentioned I got a yummy hot fudge sundae after the find? Does it mean my log entry will be removed? Let’s not be stupid here, we are advertised at everywhere we go in life. Why should caching be any different?
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Useless.
“Be sure to write in your log entry if cache is broken or needs maintenence”
This one is also a good idea, but only in a perfect world with conscientious cache owners. I once told someone in a log entry that their cache container was cracked on one side and no longer waterproof, only to have them yell at me in a cache note, “I was just there last week, YOU must have broken it!!” I hate to say this, but really I have a secret desire to go out searching and make unnessesary remarks in my log entry. (just wanted to see you would run out in a snowstorm to fix it) . Let’s get real here people, we have all seen cache logs with comment after comment about how a cache is in bad repair, and the owner obviously does not give a @#$#%.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Nice, but pretty much useless without good cache owners on board with it.
Now to be fair to all the cachers that worked really hard to hammer out these etiquitte rules, the Bitchy Cacher wants you to know you did great, it was a worthy idea.
But unless you are going to make every cacher sign a contract that includes penalties for breach of contract, even you got to admit it is pretty useless unless ALL players are going to sign it. So once again we are left with the problems of being a user based sport, it is not policed, it is not penalised, and it is not practical in real life situations. Be content knowing you follow your own ideas and hope you can get the word out to others in the game. The Bitchy Cacher is on your side with the idea of an etiquitte list, but forgive me for being a realist here it is all pretty much uselss we can trust the moral compass of other players in the game (which from personal experience I can tell you, we cannot.)
Carry on Caching folks!
My apologies for taking so long to get back to this reader with an answer.
I have been geocaching now for about a year and a half, I finally decided it was time that I went to an
event cache to meet the locals. The event was held at a local restaurant over breakfast. Upon arrival
at the restaurant, I shook a few hands and found a seat at the end of the table. The waitress was
polite, cheery and very good considering we were such a large party. The event went well, I even won a
door prize just for attending. The problem is; at the end of the meal when the bills were being
presented, I could overhear some of the other cachers finding really shallow and trite reasons not to
tip the waitress. I sat around after most of the other cachers had left, just finishing my last sips of
coffee. I was able to see a few of the cheques with cash left on top, I noticed hardly anyone had
tipped, or if they had it was only the end of the change. So, feeling badly for the waitress I gave her
a compliment on her service, and told her I noticed the crappy tips left behind by the others. She
responded by saying “It’s o.k., we kinda expect this from them, they hardly ever tip, myself and the
other waitresses consider them a write off and take turns waiting on them when they come in so no one
has to get shafted from them more than once.” I stood up from the table to leave, but grabbed another
ten dollar bill from my pocketbook and placed it on top of what I had already left. “Have a good day!”
I told her on the way out and headed for my car. My intentions were do find a few caches on the way
home that morning, but somehow the whole experience at breakfast had left me a little soured. My
problem is; there is a breakfast meeting every month. I am recieving e-mails from other cachers asking
me if I am going, and rather than join the “cheap asses” again I SO just want to tell them all off. Any
Well, Tipper, I am with you on this one. I would have crawled out of there ashamed too if it had been
me. What these jerks don’t seem to realise is they are all giving the sport itself a bad name. You
could just make lame excuses next time you are contacted by cachers to see if you are going to an
event. (sorry, dog needs de-worming, hangnail needs cutting etc.) Basically let them know you would
rather do just about anything else but join them and be ashamed by thier behavior again. This is
defineately one of those situations where you are “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” Perhaps
there is one reasonable member of the group you could explain your position to. (It could be you are
not the only one who feels this way.) Either way, you are screwed here. You are either going to have to
“grow a pair” and tell them, or ignore the invites and be considered a snob. My best “Bitchy Cacher”
advice here is to just ignore them, you are not the first cacher to be disillusioned by the locals and
from what you have told me you won’t be the last. The e-mails and invites will eventually stop coming
and they will forget all about you. Enjoy your game the way you have always been, and forget about
these guys, they obviously have no common courtesy anyway.