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.
Photo by ghirson
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 great motivation 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. From the Salvadoran Pupusas in the SF Mission, to the homemade Persian meal, to the feast at China Village, 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.
Food For Stuff has since finished, but if anybody else would like to give it a shot, don’t hesitate to drop me a line. I have a feeling the tumblr’s single post is probably hungry for a little lovin’.
Other shiny things