Does everybody remember the story about the man who bartered a red paperclip, and after fourteen trades in less than a year, he ended up with a farmhouse? (If not, that was an amazingly cool story, and you can read about it here.)
Well, I’m not actually devoting my Throwback Thursday to the paperclip trader, Kyle MacDonald. (Though it doesn’t escape me that his last name is MacDonald and he eventually ended up with a FARM house. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* Ha ha!) But it is a “feel good” story.
In keeping with this month’s game theme, my Throwback story is this… A few years ago, I had some step-parents who recently moved into the step-grandmother’s house after the grandmother passed away. They sold their own large house and brought their own furniture and had all of the grandmother’s furniture as well.
They worked to get rid of all the excess, and were finally left with three extra couches. The problem was where they lived in Pennsylvania, the city didn’t provide garbage disposal for items that large. They didn’t have (or know) anyone with a truck. And none of the places that they contacted to try to donate the couches would pick them up.
So, just when they started to sit down and figure out where they could rent a truck, someone rang their doorbell. It was a few kids from a church youth group who were on a type of scavenger hunt which was based on the red paperclip man’s story. (A scavenger hunt qualifies as a game, right?) They were carrying a cheval mirror with them, and they said they had to trade the item for something bigger. Apparently, all the groups were given the same initial item — a church T-shirt — and had to compete to see who could bring back the largest bartered trade. The items they received were then put up for sale at the church rummage sale.
So, when my step-dad said he had a couch, the kids were thrilled. But when he asked if they were allowed to take all three couches, they were beyond excited! They called some of their friends with pickup trucks, and within an hour, they hauled off all three couches.
My step-parents found out later that the kids who came to their door did in fact win with their three couch trade, and my step-mom still uses that mirror to this day. Talk about a win-win situation where everyone came out on top!
So tell me: Have you ever bartered anything and received something bigger or more valuable than what you traded? Did you remember the red paperclip man’s story? If those kids had come to your door, would you have helped them, and if so, what would you have given them? Do you think that type of scavenger hunt would be fun?