Food For Stuff
One week. One dude. Giving away his stuff for grub.
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon amidst great conversation, and I had the biggest smile on my face. My shoes were off, my stomach full, and my car was sneakily parked at the nearby grocery store. It was a feeling of ultimate satisfaction…one you would only get from trading a full size IKEA foam mattress and Costco TempurPedic topper for a Gregoire’s Fried Chicken Sandwich with a side of Potato Puffs.
A month ago, I was on a mission to stay full while getting light. In preparation for my move to Brooklyn, I had one week to get rid of a bunch of stuff I had accumulated throughout college so I could board my plane with no more than two oversized suitcases. Hence, Food For Stuff was born.
It was pretty simple. Once I arrived in the Bay Area and cracked open my storage unit, I photographed and listed a wide array of things on a tumblr I hastily put up. I would give away anything on the blog in exchange for simply some good conversation and food. That’s all.
I traded a mattress for this. (Photo by Jauder Ho)
Within minutes of posting the link on Facebook, I had requests left and right for everything from the mattress to three half-finished bottles of detergent (totally useful). Food and friendship just seemed to be a better type of currency. Over the next week, I scheduled meals and made deliveries around the Bay Area (in a car I would soon give to my brother in exchange for a Sonic corndog and Taco Bell).
I largely attribute this little experiment to very recently finishing Rachel Botsman’s “What’s Mine Is Yours,” a great read on Collaborative Consumption and a motivator to not only have less stuff but also smartly share the stuff you own.
Food and friendship just seemed to be a better type of currency.
What I dreaded would be a painful experience of hustling on Craigslist and trashing too many useful things, became an incredibly enjoyable send-off to savor some of my favorite local foods and converse with many fantastic people.
Some of the trades:
- Logitech Webcam for a homemade Persian meal
- IKEA mirror and a black Target lamp for Salvadoran Pupusas in the SF Mission
- IKEA desk and 3’x2′ whiteboard for a Tri Tip Rice Bowl from Brazil Cafe
- Iron and mini ironing board for Pho
- Dell Monitor for a Pepper Steak Sandwich from IB’s (within the same hour as Pho)
- Google swag portable speakers that look like giant headphones for a feast at China Village
- “The Berkeley Group” messenger bag for a Gordo’s carne asada burrito
- Desk lamp, black top hat, two half bottles of laundry detergent, and one full bottle of laundry detergent for a Jack Daniels and Coke
- Computer speakers and a laundry basket for Baja Fresh “Fried Fish Tacos Combo Meal”
I’m sincerely grateful to all of the lovely people who transformed what I thought would be a chore into a delicious, social experience. In hindsight, it would’ve been a good idea to photograph everything I ate and the people I ate with…but to be honest, I was way too busy stuffing my face.