Fair Trade

Want to commit an act of kindness… the quirky way? Check out your local Craiglist, if you have one. See a section under “For Sale” titled “Barter”?

This is where folks go to post or find listings that involve swapping. You do a favour for me, and right back atcha. Often, people are simply looking to trade merchandise. (“I have an engraved fountain pen, do you have baseball tickets?”) But sometimes these posters are looking for something a little more… intangible.

One week, I found a request so strange that I saved it. Wasn’t sure why. But now I know it’s because it was destined to be shared with all of you. I swear I haven’t altered Greg’s oddball and slightly unsettling query in any way:

Hi my name is Greg and I have a problem. I need to lose 20lbs by March. I need someone to chase me around the street so that i get my butt in gear and lose my weight. I have a phobia of people chasing me, so i figure that sitting on the couch and playing PS3 isnt going to help me lose the weight. I know this is an odd request, but i think its the only way I will be able to go to Mexico with a beach body. I dont know what i will trade, but i could offer the borrowing of my PS3 for a week or so or real estate services.

The very same week, I found this one:

Crazy idea? I am sick of all my furniture and want new or different furnishings. Maybe you’re sick of your stuff to and want to trade? Maybe just a few pieces? Or maybe you are an aspiring interior designer who wants to practice decorating a whole house and willing to take my stuff as trade?

…Would I lie to you?

I’m rather attached to my furnishings, and I have no compulsion to run after people. So I haven’t responded to either ad. But it’s still fun – and it’s Friday – so go, look right now, and tell me what you find. If someone wants a few grammar lessons in exchange for de-weeding my lawn or re-caulking my tub, I am so there.

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