Monday, December 10, 2012

The Trading Floor is Open

It was a birthday party for an 8 year old with a very unusual game.  My friend (the mom) bought a bunch of angry bird heads from Costco, put them in a pillowcase, and said each child could pick three to keep as favors.

She couldn't have known all that would happen next.  Some started complaining: They didn't like their birds and could they resubmit and try again?  Well, no, my friend said, but you are welcome to trade with others.

That mild statement set off a vigorous marketplace of trading, selling, deal making and breaking among the ten or so guests.

Kids who had never met and had avoided each other for most of the party were now approaching each other with offers.  Even the shy ones.  They followed what must have been some innate rules of commerce:  A "no" is a no, so move on and find another idea, for example.  No one grabbed, pinched or cried when they were turned down.  Instead the came up with ever more enticing offers.  Animated, excited, engaged, they kept it going for at least 45 minutes.

Soon it became clear that the blue "Splitter" bird was the coveted one.  Some offered 2 pigs for one Splitter. Sometimes the deal went through, other times not. I asked my daughter, one of the more animated traders, if she would rather have one blue bird instead of three different ones.  "Oh yeah," she nodded.  One time I had to stop her from waving her birds too close to the face of a potential buyer, but besides that, it was all very civilized.

Whether they pocketed 1 or 4, each went home with a uniquely-earned prize.
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