Friday, 27 November 2009

"Wanna gimme??" FAOK - The Rise of Forced Acts of Kindness?

Perfume enthusiasts who engage in swapping will doubtless be familiar with the term "RAOK" or "random act of kindness", referring to the various forms of extras they enclose with the official swap items. I was approached the other day by a member on Makeupalley asking me to give her a particular designer perfume sample for free, and laying on the pressure pretty hard. She is in her early twenties, has nothing to swap, "no money what so ever" (sic), and is dying to try this particular scent, which would be her "first perfume ever".

Given that there is literally half a ml left in the vial, I advised her to head down to Boots and help herself to a tester of this fragrance. A couple of visits would have delivered as much perfume as is left in this sample. Failing that, I suggested that if she was really that keen on acquiring it, she ask someone in her family and friends to give it to her for Christmas.

The non-swapper's response to this broadsided me: "Could I not just have it if there's not much left?" So I replied that it would cost me more in postage, packing and general faff to get the tiny sample to her than it was worth, and for the moment all is quiet.

I do hope this is not the start of a general trend, for random acts of kindness are no longer random - or even kind! - if made under duress...


  1. That was strangely bold of the non-swapper, but not very unusual, really. How is she any different from a panhandler?

  2. Not at all - and I love the word "panhandler" btw! I would say though that the perfumista world tends to be characterised by its altruism and general touchy feeliness, so abrupt demands like this appear all the more alien.

  3. That's... odd. Not to mention rude.
    (Confession) I find the general modus conversandi/etiquette on MUA altogether a bit.. gruff, at times. Not bothering to answer PM's, not much of a "community" (hopelessly soppy as that sounds), not to mention the extensive demands/rules in some notepads. I'll stick to BN.
    (~ veuve amiot)

  4. Arachne, you are right in many ways. MUA can be gruff, to say the least, but the fragrance-swappers (or those that swap primarily for fragrances) are generally lovely. I've had fabulous experiences there and it's saved me heaps of cash. BN is fabulous, I agree, but not an ideal site for swapping.

  5. Hi Arachne - thanks for spooling by! Those notepads can be quite draconian indeed, and the ones who won't swap internationally I find most frustrating, for reasons sometimes no greater than the fact that the post room of their workplace doesn't handle overseas mail. It would never occur to them to go down to their local post office...

    I do agree with Lovethescents that the fragrance swappers are kind and cuddly on the whole, but there are some pretty random characters out there too.

  6. I'll admit to feeling slighly lynched after posting a list of Ormonde Jayne samples. The main problem is that most of my wants are easily available at Boots and it didn't really seem very green to have something sent from the US that I can try half an hour away.

    I think that was pretty cheeky. Perhaps she'll find an easier way to sample that one.


  7. Well said, Hebe! Now why can't this non-swapper see that the object of her desire is also easily available at Boots?

    Oh, and if you own OJ samples, I can see why you would get lynched...My best swapping bottle of all was Roja Dove Scandal, on account of its limited distribution.