One Red Paperclip
November 9, 2005 7:59 AM   Subscribe

One Red Paperclip. A story of a man attempting to turn a paperclip into a house.
posted by greasy_skillet (40 comments total)
 
So what's this about? (joking)
posted by Peter H at 8:08 AM on November 9, 2005


I hope he gets his island. This is an awesome idea.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:12 AM on November 9, 2005


This is great. If memory serves, there was a Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge/Huey/Dewy/Louie comic book built around a similar idea.
posted by samh23 at 8:18 AM on November 9, 2005


That's pretty funny. But how the hell can he afford to zip around the country to get all these things that he's trading with people?
posted by antifuse at 8:18 AM on November 9, 2005


A story of a man attempting to turn a paperclip into a house book deal.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:19 AM on November 9, 2005


Or, A story of a man attempting to drag out the cynics and haters on MeFi. (stares at 20skidoo)
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 8:24 AM on November 9, 2005


A story of a man attempting to turn a paperclip into a house book deal.
Wish I'd thought of it!
posted by twistedonion at 8:28 AM on November 9, 2005


It really is brilliant isn't it?
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 8:32 AM on November 9, 2005


Stupid and horrible.
posted by prostyle at 8:33 AM on November 9, 2005


MacGyver could do it in less than an hour.
posted by brain_drain at 8:34 AM on November 9, 2005


I think he may find that it gets harder and harder to find people prepared to swap something better for something worse as the values increase... A pen for a paperclip (and a cool story) is one thing - a house for something worse a little less than a house - tricky.
posted by benzo8 at 8:35 AM on November 9, 2005


There was another blog around for a while (which I can't find right now) in which some guy was trying to turn 12 dollars into 1000 dollars in a year. He didn't get too far the last time I had seen the blog.
posted by OmieWise at 8:36 AM on November 9, 2005


He needs to be careful. The doorknob is a step down from the pen, and that was only swap number 2.
posted by fire&wings at 8:42 AM on November 9, 2005


Isn't it funny how it really brilliant and stupid-and-horrible are sometimes really hard to distinguish?

I vote for really brilliant. (In hurricane land a generator it worth ten times its weight in gold. In my book the project is already a raging success.)
posted by oddman at 8:42 AM on November 9, 2005


Wow, the tax paperwork is going to be a nightmare.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:49 AM on November 9, 2005


More or less stupid than the Million Dollar Homepage?
posted by GuyZero at 8:56 AM on November 9, 2005


Wow, the tax paperwork is going to be a nightmare.
Exactly. And then you'll need paperclips.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:06 AM on November 9, 2005


I once turned a red paperclip into a red projectile and traded that and a rubber band for a trip to the principal's office.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:08 AM on November 9, 2005


More or less stupid than the Million Dollar Homepage?

=

(both are very clever first time they are done. it's when the 3 billionth person rolls out a clone that it starts to get ridiculous)
posted by twistedonion at 9:09 AM on November 9, 2005


Sounds exactly like something that Danny Wallace would do.
posted by gene_machine at 9:11 AM on November 9, 2005


This. Is. Awesome.

OmieWise: "There was another blog around for a while (which I can't find right now) in which some guy was trying to turn 12 dollars into 1000 dollars in a year. He didn't get too far the last time I had seen the blog."

If I remember correctly, it was a MeFite, and the blog started as an AskMe question.
posted by Plutor at 9:13 AM on November 9, 2005


Dude is going about it the wrong way:
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:16 AM on November 9, 2005


It was $14 (14bucks.com) and it looks as if it's been abandoned.
posted by m@ at 9:20 AM on November 9, 2005


MrMoonPie wins..

we can stop talking about this now....
posted by HuronBob at 9:25 AM on November 9, 2005


and..I'm sure you all noticed that the generator seems to be marked as belonging to a military unit??? this may end when he gets arrested...
posted by HuronBob at 9:28 AM on November 9, 2005


HuronBob, I noticed it was marked as such. I'm betting DRMO or MWR Recreation facility auction though. Hopefully that Marine is smart enough not to sell gov't property on base and knowing that it was part of a web site bound to get attention.
posted by m@ at 9:30 AM on November 9, 2005


Truly awesome. He would be wise to diversify his assets soon by trading one object for several. The last thing he needs is to get stuck with the consequences of one bad trade. Great link greasy_skillet.
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:32 AM on November 9, 2005


We could really use a portable generator...but all we have to trade is this stupid red paperclip!

Regards,

Rawnie and Corinna.
posted by Shfishp at 9:50 AM on November 9, 2005


I will pay you on thursday for a hamburger today!
Can't he just use a pen to sign a $0 down mortgage? And then default on it?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:53 AM on November 9, 2005


m@ writes "It was $14 (14bucks.com) and it looks as if it's been abandoned."

That's right.

Mr. MoonPie: Awesome.
posted by OmieWise at 9:56 AM on November 9, 2005


I, too, wish I'd thought of this.

blue_beetle asked:
Can't he just use a pen to sign a $0 down mortgage? And then default on it?
If he defaults on the mortgage he loses the house.
posted by Songdog at 10:17 AM on November 9, 2005


Hey -- anyone want to pay off my credit card bills? I'll trade you this shiny coffee cup and a ball of yarn.

(At least I didn't spend money on stupid stuff like Karyn -- while we're on the topic of crazy internet money pranks...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:35 AM on November 9, 2005


Or, A story of a man attempting to drag out the cynics and haters on MeFi.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I think this is a really cool idea, and it makes for a cool ongoing website, and I wish him the best, and anything else I need to say. I just don't think he's going to end up with a house, or an island, or a house on an island. I can't imagine what someone would trade their house for. Regardless, I think that the last item he gets will be worth alot of money, and be very large, and will make for a good read in book format.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:38 AM on November 9, 2005


Trading down isn't a major problem because he can always trade up again. He's not likely to trade down to below a paperclip. Also, the closer he gets to the house, the more likley a book deal becomes, and the more valuable each item becomes, which may offset the problem of increasing value. Few people would trade a house for a boat, but if the boat has the added value of being associated with a famous deal, it may turn out to be more valuable than the house.
posted by scottreynen at 10:45 AM on November 9, 2005


I love this. My sister's class/group had to do something like this at her university introduction, as a group building activity and to get to know the city. They also started with a paperclip or something, but they quickly got to X-rated objects (I think once they got to the condom samples from the sex store, it was probably pretty easy to trade up from there). I don't remember what they ended up with, but I was surprised at how easy it is to trade crap for better things.
I have lots of crap! I could have lots of better things!
posted by easternblot at 11:17 AM on November 9, 2005


Hmmm, maybe Matt can build a MetaSwap site next? People post what they are swapping and commenters bid other items for the thread item. Poster marks best item and contacts the bidder. Either swapper can then swap the same item or a different one. Eventually everyone will be happy. Profit.
posted by terrapin at 1:40 PM on November 9, 2005


I did something like this a long time ago in my old youth group. We split into a few groups and each started with a penny. We then canvassed the neighborhood by the church going door to door trying to trade up. As I recall my group won by eventually walking back with a kayak.

This was just a couple hours in one neighborhood, so I can easily see getting something really good with more time and a wider area to draw from.
posted by mindless progress at 3:48 PM on November 9, 2005


If he gets to a brand new car, I'll trade him 5 acres of (honest) really nice land in the middle of British Columbia.
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:50 PM on November 9, 2005


I was thinking about this last night and I think the book deal vector is right:

Paper Clip→Fish Pen→Screwball→Coleman Stove→1000w genny→blogosphere→Traditional press→Book Deal→Movie option→House!

Either that or he's going to get into a position where he gets up to the serious traders and finds himself outclassed. The only way he's winning at this point is that he's trading on perceived value: "I want the doorknob more than I want this stupid old stove cluttering up my garage".

Fewer will say "if only I could find someone to take this Maserati off my hands..."
posted by Ogre Lawless at 9:01 AM on November 10, 2005


Nicely done, MrMoonPie.
posted by PossumCowboy at 9:37 PM on November 12, 2005


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