19 April 2006

Bartering a Paperclip for a House

When I titled a previous post, "Bartering: Think Big," I never imagined the concept of trading a paperclip for a house.

Kyle MacDonald did and his story makes me want to barter bigger and better.

Ten progressively bigger trades have led him from the one big red paperclip on 12 July 2005 to the one year's free rent in a Phoenix house.

But this is not THE house he is trading for.

He is working towards owning his own house through upwardly mobile trading.

It all started with an advertisement in the barter section of Craigslist.org.

Then it went like this:
  1. paperclip for fish-shaped pen

  2. pen for small ceramic doorknob with a smiley face

  3. doorknob for a Coleman camping stove

  4. stove for a generator

  5. generator for an "instant party package" — an empty beer keg, a neon Budweiser sign and a promise to fill the keg

  6. party package for a snowmobile

  7. snowmobile for an expense-paid trip to Yahk

  8. trip for a 1995 Cintas van

  9. van for a recording contract, with studio time and a promise to pitch the finished product to music executives

  10. recording contract for one year living rent-free in a Phoenix duplex
When asked what he's learned from this experience, he said,
"If you say you're going to do something and you start to do it, and people enjoy it or respect it or are entertained by it, people will step up and help you."
His attitude reminds me a tiny bit of Tony Hawks's outlook in Round Ireland with a Fridge.


On 11 July 2006, Luisa sent me an article from BBC saying that he had done it.

He traded one year living rent-free in a Phoenix duplex for an afternoon with Alice Cooper.

The afternoon with Alice Cooper got traded for a snow globe featuring the rockband Kiss.

The snow globe was traded for a Hollywood movie role, which was traded for a house on Main Street in the tiny town of Kipling in Saskatchewan province.

The last paragraph from the BBC article:
"The project has demonstrated the power of the internet and won an army of fans, including Heather and Dan who left a comment on Kyle's website saying: "Hey, what a neat planet. We're thinking of staying to see what happens next."
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Blogger Holden said...

I read about this earlier and it's a wild concept except one thing gets me every time I see that list of trades: trade #6--who would trade their snowmobile for that party pack? Or if the snowmobile was really that bad, then who would do trade #7?

Cool blog, though. You get points for bravery. :)

Friday, 28 April, 2006  
Blogger Jennifer Metz said...

Yes ... good question!

It seems that part of the 'trading up' was a result of publicity stunts ... advertisers wanting to get in on the gig.

But, part of the other trades that were not publicity related were from people who wanted to 'support the cause.'

And thank you for the bravery points!!!

Tuesday, 02 May, 2006  
Blogger Holden said...

That all makes more sense. Because the guy was publicizing it, people would give him more than a fair exchange in the hopes of getting a little publicity themselves.

I wonder how many more trades it would have taken without the publicity? 50? 100?

Still a cool concept tho'....

Tuesday, 02 May, 2006  

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