User Guide All about COUPON TRAINS: Information for Riders & Conductors

pasharain

(ง︡'-'︠)ง ♥ Quasher of Dead Links ♥
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WHAT ARE COUPON TRAINS?

Coupon Trains operate much like a trading circle, and they are super fun. A "train conductor" organizes a group of "train riders" to trade envelopes of coupons with one another. Each train will have its own thread in the "Coupon Trains: Hop on Board" forum. Each conductor will have their own set of rules to "ride" their train. These rules are in addition to HCW's overall rules and need to be followed in order to ride. You must post and mail trades as outlined in each train sign up thread, including but not limited to what day to mail, the date that no coupon is to expire before, etc.

WHAT IS REQUIRED TO "RIDE" A TRAIN?

To ride a train you need to be a trading member, with a feedback score of 5 or more. You cannot have any negative feedback. Those with neutral feedback may be allowed to ride at the discretion of the train forum moderator, @mydogalex2000, and the train's conductor.

New to our site? Become a Trader HERE. Have questions? Please let us know.

If you are a New Trader without 5 feedbacks, please contact the train moderator -- @mydogalex2000 -- to let her know you are interested in joining a train. Please understand, however, that established Traders may hold their end until yours is received.
You can build your feedback by engaging in trades in our regular trade forums: Coupon Trades or Rebate Trades.

Please do not sign up for more than 5 trains at a time, 3 if you are a new "rider."

Please only ride a train if you have the time and items to fulfill its requirements.

You must agree to post when you mail and receive an envelop. Good communication contributes to a train's success.

Be a good trader by taking time to look at your fellow riders Wish Lists. Do not view trains as an opportunity to dump your junk coupons.

DIFFERENT TRAIN TYPES EXPLAINED.

Regardless of the train's type, all coupons must follow the train's expiration date rules and guidelines as to what types of coupons should and should not be included.

THE BASIC TRAIN. The basic train has only 1 envelope, making its rounds. The "conductor" starts the train with a predetermined amount of coupons (PDAC) and sends it to Rider A. Rider A takes out what they can use, refills it with a PDAC, and then sends to Rider B. It continues in this way until the last rider on the list mails it back to the conductor.

At that time, the train ride ends or the conductor may start Round 2 if there is enough interest.

ROUND ROBIN. The conductor picks riders (4 or 5 works best), who will ride the train for as many weeks as there are riders (4 riders = 4 weeks, 5 riders = 5 weeks and so on). Each member is assigned another member to mail to for the duration of the train. On week one, you fill an envelope with a PDAC. This envelope is mailed to the person you are assigned to.

When you get your week 1 envie, you take out what you can use and anything that will be out of the expiration guidelines by the time it arrives to the next rider. Then, you add in more coupons to get it back up to the PDAC and mail #2 off to the rider you are assigned to mail to. Reapeat for as many weeks as there is riders.

On the final week, you are getting back your "original" envie that has visited every other rider on the train.

SIMPLE TRAIN. A simple style train consists of a one time only mailing of multiple envelopes. The conductor picks a number of riders, 4-5 works best since each rider has to mail to all members at the same time. The conductor also picks a PDAC to be included in each envelope. On the assigned date, you fill the envelopes for each of your fellow riders. They all get mailed on the same day. So, on a 5 person train, you will be mailing out 4 envelopes to the 4 other riders, and receiving 4 envelopes from the 4 other riders.

Make sure the train you sign up for is a style and time frame you can commit to, and that you are able to follow the conductors guidelines. Failure to send envelopes out on a train will be considered a bad trade.


I AM SORRY BUT... "LIFE HAPPENED," "I AM LATE MAILING," "THE DOG ATE THE COUPONS I PLANNED TO MAIL," ETC. WHAT DO I DO?


Communicate. Post in the train's thread. Tag the conductor, using a @ before the member's name. Example: @pasharain

If you need to jump off the train make sure it is known.

WHAT ARE POTLUCK ENVIES AND THE RULES PERTAINING TO THEM?

CLICK HERE for full details regarding potlucks. Please Note: You failure to follow the Guidelines regarding Potlucks may result in you being asked to resend a potluck.

I UNDERSTAND THAT TRAINS ARE POTLUCK, BUT WHAT CAN I DO TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO SEND ME A GOOD ENVIE?

Good envies, start with having an updated Wish List posted, best of all you can have a regular Wish List and one for trains. When creating your Wish List, remember to give your senders something to work with. Also, make sure to link to it in your signature. If riders have to hunt your Wish List down, more than likely they will not.

A good time to update your Wish List is whenever you sign up for a train, before the ride starts.

A fantastic train Wish List is one that has a ton to choose from, and has links to current printables. If your printable links do not work, riders will move on. They will not hunt them down for you. Be sure to include currently accessible insert coupons, some non inserts that people may have, along with your hard to find dream coupons.

Make sure to list anything you collect or enjoy, such as Coke Codes, BTFEs, stickers, tea bags, perfume samples, etc. This is especially useful for "little things" trains. You will increase your chances of receiving "little things" you actually want if you list them.

Your train Wish List should also avoid specific coupon values. For example avoid saying things like: "Lipton Tea $1/1, I can't use smaller values." It is an unfortunate truth that coupon values are declining. Such statements may preclude you from receiving a smaller value coupon that you might use, and you will instead receive a coupon for a product you never buy.

Also, make sure your Wish List has good notes that inform fellow riders what you can and cannot use, and some "general" type wishes. For example, you could say something like:

"If you are mailing a train envie to me, it may be good to know that I do not drink coffee, do not use creamer, hate canned goods, and my house is chemical free (so cleaner coupons will go to waste). However, we love candy, chocolate, and go through a ton of pasta sauce."

You should also note things like: "I can double, so I prefer .50/1 over $1/2. I shop Target, CVS and Walgreens so coupons for those stores are great."

Please remember that your notes do not trump the train rules so you "could" still get some of these things, but notes can help reduce the things you absolutely will not use.

If your Wish List is not much beyond the "hard to get your hands on coupons," make fellow riders who are conscientious feel better by noting something to the effect of:

"I fully understand that my list is one that is hard to fill. Please do not sweat it, I enjoy trains and understand that I may not get a lot, if any wishes, I use what I can and retrade the rest". That takes a lot of pressure off your sender, and they may be more generous with you in return.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I EXPERIENCE A BAD TRADE WHILE RIDING A TRAIN?

First attempt to resolve the issue with the fellow trader. Good communication is key in successful trades. Let your train's conductor know via private message as well. If after 2 weeks you have not received trade items promised, you can fill out the Bad Trader Report form. Two weeks is to allow time for any postal service delays.

I ENJOYED RIDING & WANT TO CONDUCT, WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?

CLICK HERE to jump to the thread: Choo Choo... So you want to Conduct your own Coupon Train.


 
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pasharain

(ง︡'-'︠)ง ♥ Quasher of Dead Links ♥
By starting you own train you get to choose all of its features. It is super fun! :D

ARE THERE ANY REQUIREMENTS TO CONDUCT A COUPON TRAIN?

Yes. Your feedback rating must be at least 20 unique positives, with no negatives. Also, you must have completed riding on at least one train before conducting your own.

If you are a first time conductor, please start with one. Once it is fully completed, you can post another. However, please wait until you have a little experience before attempting to conduct more than one at a time.

You must commit to taking care of the train from the time sign ups start till the final envelope is received. This includes sending messages to any riders who do not post the status of their envelopes.

BEFORE ACCEPTING RIDERS, WHAT NEEDS TO BE INCLUDED IN MY TRAIN'S THREAD?

The type of train and specifics of the train ride including:

The number of coupons envelopes must contain, any expiration date guidelines you want to set forth, the types of coupons you want to include and/or exclude (For example: No Baby coupons), the mailing date(s), how many weeks the train will run and any other information you believe will be helpful to your train's riders.

TIPS TO HELP YOU BECOME AN AWESOME CONDUCTOR.

When creating matchups in a multi-week mailing train, make sure members are not mailing to the same person more than one time.

Make sure to post your rider list and the matchups/the riding order in the thread.

You must respect the privacy of your train's riders. Do not share their addresses with anyone other than the riders on your train.

When the ride is over:

Encourage riders to leave positive feedback for fellow riders. Just remember leaving feedback is not mandatory so don't be pushy about it.

Edit your title to contain "RIDE OVER" or "DELETE" to help the moderators maintain a tidy forum.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF AN UNFORESEEN OCCURRENCE NECESSITATES ME ENDING MY TRAIN?

We understand that life happens. If, for example, you planned an 8 week train, but need to derail the it in week 2, let your riders know the train is ending early. Communicate what envelopes are outstanding in the train's thread by tagging your riders and the train moderator.

Please do not make ending trains early a habit.


WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE A PROBLEMATIC RIDER?

Private message the train moderator and explain the situation.

Also, if there is an issue of an envelope not arriving, the sender needs to be removed from the next matchup(s) until the matter is resolved.
 
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pasharain

(ง︡'-'︠)ง ♥ Quasher of Dead Links ♥
What is a "Potluck" or "Potluck Envie?"

A "Potluck" or "Potluck Envie" is an envelope full of coupons sent to another member.


Random Acts of Kindness (RAOKs) & Coupon Trains are just two of the instances where your participation may require sending a potluck to another member. You can also offer them in the Trades forum.

Adhering to these guidelines will help ensure everyone who receives a potluck will rejoice. To that end, potlucks should NEVER be used to unload coupons that belong in the recycle bin.

What is NOT ALLOWED in a potluck (Please Note: Not following these Guidelines may result in you being asked to resend a potluck):

JUNK coupons for hair dye, baby products, pet products and meds are always junk, unless they are an EXACT match to the recipient’s Wish List.

Multiples of the same coupon, unless it is an EXACTmatch to the recipient’s Wish List. Please Note: If the recipient specifies that they need “$0.50/1 Widget,” $1.00 off of 2 Widgets is NOT an exact match. However, if the recipient generically states that they need “Vlasic pickle coupons,” you can send whatever “Vlasic pickle coupons” you have.

Store specific coupons. Do not send them unless you are positive that the other member wants them.

Short dated coupons. Please follow the rules listed in the thread you are participating in. Most often, a minimum of 2 weeks from mail date is given so that the recipient has time to redeem the coupons. Short dated are okay only when you have approval from recipient.

Printable coupons. Not all members use them. Only send printables if they are on the recipient’s Wish List. NEVER send printables that you did not personally print.

If you are the recipient of a potluck, please be reasonable in your expectations. Potlucks are essentially “grab bags” that are full of coupon surprises that you may or may not benefit from. We encourage members to check one another’s Wish Lists, but sometimes they simply don’t have what you are looking for. As long as the sender adheres to the above guidelines, please be a good sport.

If you receive a potluck that does not follow the above guidelines, please let the sender know and refer them to these guidelines. Often good communication quickly solves problems. If the sender refuses to make it right, please CLICK HERE to learn more about filing a “Bad Trader Report” form.

Happy Saving and have fun trading potlucks!
 
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