A woman on TikTok is vlogging the ultimate quest: trading a bobby pin for a house.
“Like everyone else in quarantine right now, I’m looking to do something a little crazy for my friends on TikTok,” Demi Skipper said.
“So here’s the plan, I’m trading a bobby pin until I get a house.”
Skipper’s ‘trademeproject’ account boasts 3.2 million followers, and she’s so far traded her way to a pair of Off White Nike Blazer sneakers, valued at US$750 (AU$1,091).
Skipper posts her items for trade on every platform you can think of: Craigslist, Facebook – you name it.
“I started with this bobby pin and earlier traded it for a pair of earrings to a girl on Facebook,” she said.
“Then I traded those earrings for Margarita glasses. Pretty nice ones too.”
That afternoon, Skipper found a trader for the glasses, who offered her a Bissell vacuum cleaner in exchange.
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“After I got the vacuum cleaner, I cleaned up a few things before trading it again, like replacing a screw that was missing and using nail polish remover to get any scuffs off the side of the vacuum. Once it was cleaned up, I looked through over 1,000 trades until I found the right one.”
She then drove 30 minutes to meet a man in a parking lot, and traded him the vacuum for a snowboard.
“In just four trades, I’ve gone from a bobby pin to a snowboard.”
Eventually, she traded the snowboard for an Apple TV – which was worth double what the snowboard was.
From the Apple TV, she scored a pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones, and traded those for an Xbox One and some accessories.
That trade led to a MacBook Pro.
“But I’m not stopping.”
If you think the idea is nuts, it actually isn’t: in 2006, Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald bartered his way from a red paperclip to a house after 14 trades over the course of a year.
MacDonald traded his paperclip for a fish-shaped pen. Eventually, he traded a KISS motorised snow globe for a role in a film called Donna on Demand.
He then traded the movie role for a two-story farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan.
“We had a huge housewarming party - over 3,500 people came to the town of Kipling – for an entire weekend,” MacDonald later revealed in a TedX Talk.
“People said to me, ‘wow you traded that red paperclip. Don’t you wish you had it back now? It’s got to be worth a lot of money’.
“And I said, it wasn’t about the paperclip, or having it, or selling it, or what it’s worth. If I hadn’t traded away that red paperclip, I’d just be a guy sitting at a desk, holding a red paperclip, wondering what would have happened if I did something with the paperclip.”
So if you have a red paper clip, or a bobby pin, trade it away, MacDonald said.
“You might only get a fish pen, but it might be the single step that leads to an amazing journey.”
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