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Thread: First Ever NSN Traveling "Mystery Box" Rules and Signup Thread

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    Default First Ever NSN Traveling "Mystery Box" Rules and Signup Thread

    Hey all...

    I'm "curating" this idea on behalf of another kind soul/member who wanted to do something nice in a creative way with some excess "stuff". We were inspired by @REM37411 's "Pay it Forward" thread and came up with this...

    The NSN Traveling "Mystery Box".

    What we have here is a box, about the size of a Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate box. It's full of miscellaneous ... stuff ... individual items of which may be of limited monetary value but may be of extremely high usage-value to certain members...

    Just as with the rest of the Traveling Fleet, we'll sign up to be on "the list" ... the box will travel from member to member on the list. When the box arrives, rummage through. Take what you NEED, and add to the box some things from your stash that:

    A) Will be of use to some other member but

    B) Are "excess inventory" to you.

    Please do NOT use this as a way to toss actual, real JUNK. The idea is to send a kindness on to your fellow members, while maybe picking up a few useful bits and pieces that you need. As such, this relies heavily upon the honor system, upon "do a good turn", upon "do unto others..." and upon "pay it forward" and so on...

    So after you've taken what you need... be sure what you give is something of the value you would appreciate receiving (if you didn't already have too much of it).

    Here are some rules (more may be added later if needed):

    1) As usual, try to forward the box to the next person as promptly as you can. One week is the expected maximum hold time.

    2) Keep the overall volume of the box to a Medium Flat Rate size or smaller. You may send it First Class, but please get a Tracking number. If you have a particularly bulky or heavy item to donate, this might not be the right venue.

    3) Please only add items of real usefulness and value... parts are good, broken parts not so much.

    4) Please only take things that you have a real use for. Don't use this to "stock up" your own larder.

    5) Please DO NOT REVEAL the contents of the box EXCEPT:

    6) To make it fun, optionally SHOW folks what you took AFTER you've put it to some use solving a problem or completing a project ("Hey! Here's the kitbash that I completed using parts X Y and Z from the Mystery Box!")

    7) No liquids, explosives, volatiles, paints, etc. that are not supposed to be shipped via mail.

    8) Each person will be expected to pay the outgoing freight to the next person in line. Replace the box itself with a new one if necessary, etc.

    International Folks: The box is likely to be relatively large and thus expensive to ship cross-border. I'd like to "bundle" international shipments as much as possible to minimize the expense. Perhaps a generous soul or two on either side of the various borders would volunteer to be a designated "exporter" to pay the extra expense, in lieu of donating items? I'm open to suggestions on this point.

    Examples of things one might find in the box:
    • Pieces of track
    • electrical switches, Atlas parts, terminal strips, etc.
    • hardware (screws, bolts, nuts, etc.)
    • small scenery items and supplies
    • small structure kits, detail parts, etc.
    • Locomotive and rolling stock details, parts, etc.
    • couplers, trucks, etc.


    I will say up front that at present there are no locomotives or rolling stock in the box. I wouldn't make a rule against someone being super-generous and surprising the next person down the line with such a thing, but I wouldn't make it an expectation either.

    So... I guess that covers the basics.... who's in??
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
    Appalachian Railroad Technology: http://www.apprailtech.com


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  3. #2
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    Count me in.

    PM with mailing address is on the way.
    (The voices I hear in my head may not be real, but sometimes they come up with a good idea.)

    Have fun.

    Moose

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    As I slowly return on the forums, this is a wonderful first few posts for me to read.

    I think its a great idea and count me in.

    Summer is done so now I can focus on model railroading again.

    Shouldn't have to worry about getting distrac...............oh look a squirrel

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    Ha - a traveling junk drawer.... but with awesome junk!

    Sign me up - PM sent

    -Paul

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    :yes: count me in too. I have lots of little trinket's I can contribute since I've decommissioned my entire layout for the time being. Fact is I just thought of a couple items I can add straight-away... presuming I remember where I put them....

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    Guess I'm in too. After some thought, I do have a few things I can add.
    James Ellison
    Owner and CEO of the Indiana North Central Railroad

    "The Indiana North Central Railroad: Midwestern railroading at it's finest."

    Check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndianaNorthCentralRailroad/

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    I'll do my best to contribute so sign me up
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    2 cent suggestion with added grain of salt thought...

    How will you start it off? Do you want some donations to begin with so there are more choices for the first few people?

    Since the cost to ship Med Flat rate box is approximately $12+, would it make sense to put a "minimum value" amount on the item?
    Or is it considered to be more the cost of fun, mystery and participation?

    The El Cheapo side of me would be frustrated to pay $12 and find a box of limited value stuff...
    Steve - Jugtown Modeler..............Don't know enough about railroading yet, but scale modeling is my life..............Web-Folio

    The introduction of so powerful an agent as steam to a carriage on wheels will make a great change in the situation of man. -- Thomas Jefferson, 1802


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    I've added this to the Registry as NSNMB14.

    Please update me from time to time with the number of stops and miles traveled.
    Bryan
    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

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    What a great idea, count me in.

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    I would suggest that "parts" that are specific to given applications be adequately identified, not just dropped in the box... this way recipients can better evaluate the usefulness to them.
    For example; a motor... bag it and tag it "Atlas GP7/9".
    Bryan
    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

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    It sounds fun, and not to take the fun out... but it sounds like posts on the forum would be more cost effective rather than paying $12 for a chance at something useful. The people that need the help the most might not have $12 to toss on a gamble. That's just my two cents. Pay me no mind if I pooped on your party.

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    Fantabulous idea. I bet the $7.00 flat rate box would be adequate. Count me in, please.
    Dick,

    Usually, when all is said and done, there's a lot more said than done!

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    Is anyone happy to send it down under? if yes, please count me in. I expect a few of my fellow Aussies and Kiwis would also join in. Cheers, Bill.

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    TD,

    Count me in. Address sent via PM.
    Doug S.

    Proudly Serving In The US Army

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    I have no idea what international shipping costs, but as long as it's not tooooo prohibitive, line me up prior to a cross-pond journey (or Great White North adventure) and I'll pay a little extra to kick it across a border to someone who can keep it going over there.

    -Paul

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    I'd be more than happy to participate. Count me in, I've got plenty of modern items worthy of donation and hopefully find a useful home.

    Cheers
    Craig

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    Count me in, I might have a few items that I don't need and can contribute. Address via PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jugtown Modeler View Post
    2 cent suggestion with added grain of salt thought...

    How will you start it off? Do you want some donations to begin with so there are more choices for the first few people?
    I already have the initial box at my house. Just waiting to get the list started before starting the box on its journey...

    Since the cost to ship Med Flat rate box is approximately $12+, would it make sense to put a "minimum value" amount on the item?
    Or is it considered to be more the cost of fun, mystery and participation?

    The El Cheapo side of me would be frustrated to pay $12 and find a box of limited value stuff...
    The el cheapo side of you may not like this particular activity very well. The point is to pass on some of those "bits and pieces" to someone for whom they *might* be just the ticket. In the aggregate there's easily well over $12 worth of stuff in the box, but the individual items are not necessarily very expensive at all.

    Oh, and just so we're clear... there's a BUNCH of stuff in the box.. you're only expected to take something (or a few things), then add back something (or a few things) of approximate equal or greater value (in terms of usability not necessarily $$), then ship EVERYTHING to the next person. It's not a single "mystery item" that gets changed out at each stop. The more I think about it, "traveling junk drawer" is more descriptive than "traveling mystery box" ...

    You can also ship via less expensive rates. The Medium Flat Rate box rule is actually intended to put a CAP on the shipping cost. For example, assuming relatively lightweight stuff in the box, a Medium sized non-flat-rate box might ship for more like $6-8, and First Class with Tracking might only be $5 or less, within the US, again depending on the weight.

    I don't want anyone to get the idea they're going to open the box and find a brand new GEVO with DCC and sound (unless some kind soul is feeling REALLY generous). You're much more likely to find the trucks you need to fix up that old boxcar you've been meaning to weather up, or that one piece of track you need to build your programming track box, or the Atlas switch controller you need to finish off your kid's play layout. Or maybe a couple of trees that will fit right into your CD Challenge diorama.

    I do encourage folks who can to donate items of some decent quality and value (in the usability sense, not necessarily $$), but on the other hand some of it is supposed to be in the spirit of fun and as pwh called it the "traveling junk drawer" suits the mood


    In other news I really like Bryan's suggestion to label stuff, especially where its purpose or fit might not be immediately obvious.
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
    Appalachian Railroad Technology: http://www.apprailtech.com


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    I also wanted to point out how heartwarming it is that the responses to this thread are overwhelmingly about what people can CONTRIBUTE to the box... says a lot about the character of the membership here.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile One View Post
    It sounds fun, and not to take the fun out... but it sounds like posts on the forum would be more cost effective rather than paying $12 for a chance at something useful. The people that need the help the most might not have $12 to toss on a gamble. That's just my two cents. Pay me no mind if I pooped on your party.
    Hmm... This is something we should think about and try to find a workaround for. There are, as I mentioned, other less expensive shipping options... does anyone else have other suggestions?
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
    Appalachian Railroad Technology: http://www.apprailtech.com


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