It’s unfair to compare the pittance you’ll get for your hooptie at a dealer with what Demi Skipper is doing; I just can’t help but admire her bartering skills. Her Trade Me project has been very successful so far, and along her journey she’s already traded up for a few cars and even some tractors, per The Guardian.
The 29-year-old Skipper is a product manager at BuzzFeed and she said Kyle McDonald’s Ted Talk about his own trading journey inspired her to barter her way into a house. She started by trading the hairpin for pieces of jewellery or household items then eventually moved to electronics, as the Guardian details:
Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and Ebay are Skipper’s go-tos. She first posted an image of the bobby pin explaining her mission, and traded it for brand new earrings from a woman on Facebook who was excited to take part. People’s eagerness to get involved has been the most surprising thing…
She left the earrings on the porch of a woman keen to get rid of four margarita glasses, which Skipper traded for a vacuum cleaner. Then she had to trade outside of her city to meet a couple who exchanged their kid’s old snowboard for a vacuum cleaner. The snowboard went for an Apple TV. It was the first branded item she received, which made it easier to trade. She then arranged to swap it for a pair of Bose headphones, before finding a man on the neighbourhood app Next Door to trade her for an old Apple MacBook.
She then traded the MacBook for a camera body and lens, and traded that for a pair of fresh sneakers. Those sneakers got her a brand new iPhone 11 Pro Max, and that smartphone was her trade for the Dodge Caravan, from the Guardian:
A family of Trade Me fans offered her a red minivan for the iPhone. While it was the most surprising upgrade, Skipper remembers it as the most emotionally difficult. A couple were so inspired by the project, they drove the van 29 hours from Minnesota to San Francisco with their two kids.
The minivan broke down after its long journey, and Skipper posted this hiccup on her TikTok. What she didn’t foresee was the amount of hate the family soon got, including a lot of Islamophobia. “The worst parts of the internet came out,” she says.
With the minivan no longer working, and unable to spend money to fix it, she was forced to trade down for an electric skateboard which went for the latest MacBook. She swapped that for an electric bike food cart, followed by a Mini Cooper.
It would be a surprising trade for anyone, a pretty big leap from phone to car. And the Caravan not surviving the drive is disappointing, but shitty, racist people aside, the trade between that iPhone and Caravan worked out fine as it eventually got her into a Mini Cooper. She traded that for a diamond necklace.
That wasn’t the last of the cars that she ended up with, either. She traded a Peloton exercise bike for a Mustang GT. The Guardian referred to the Mustang as a run-down car, but honestly, I think the car looks like it’s in pretty good shape. I don’t know what metric the Guardian is using to evaluate these used cars, but that Mustang looks like it’s got some life in it.
She then traded the Mustang for a Jeep Patriot and after that, a tiny cabin. She traded that for a Honda CR-V. Eventually, she traded the Honda for three tractors, which looked to be well-cared for. That’s five cars in total, not counting the tractors, of course.
Her last trade so far was for the tractors for a Chipotle celebrity card, which gets her free food and catering. She’s still enroute to trading up for an entire house, though, at which point she would have gone from a bobby pin to home ownership, along with car ownership thrown in for good measure.