Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Roadschooling: Pin Trading

Pin trading.  Those two words are enough to make either of my children obey my every command.  I wish the power of pin trading held for more than five days.  Imagine.  “Girls, please have your math complete and you may pin trade.”  Done.  “Girls, please clean your rooms, wash the car, clean the attic and take out the trash and then you may pin trade.” Done.  The power of the pin trade.

I was not really prepared for this.  They are just pins right?  Wrong.  These are currency.  They are traded at a frenetic speed with passion and at times obsession. Each state or country brings an affiliate pin that represents the culture of their state.  Grace got an amazing pin from Kansas of a tornado.  Lilah’s favorites were Maryland’s crabs.  Some teams also take the liberty of designing and producing their own pins and if they plan right, they become hot commodities.  The popular ones this year were the Hunger Games and Avengers pins.

Training must be done in order to successfully navigate your way through the trade.  Our first night at the hotel we were treated to a seminar held by the Dad of Grace’s best friend,  who designed a gorgeous set of pins that were to become collectors items.  Since CT has so few delegates representing our state, these pins were quickly traded and other states came up to us seeking out certain pins to complete a set.  There are three rules to pin trading:
  • a pin for a pin
  • a set for a set
  • it is okay to say no.

Should be simple enough, right?  Wrong.  There are huge differences in quality of the pins.  Younger children can easily be coerced into trading a colorful metallic pin for a piece of plastic. Sometimes parents are involved in trading, at times even having their own collections, which is kind of creepy if you ask me......  After our seminar, we tested the pin trading waters, dipping our toes in by visiting the lobby of a nearby Marriott hotel which housed many of the teams.  This was pin trading on a very small scale.  

Once the tournament was in full swing, pin trading was done on a grand scale.  "Official” pin trading areas were largely ignored.  Pin trading was done at opening and closing ceremony, pool side, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  At first I was a bit annoyed by how this seemed to overshadow the meaning of the tournament until I looked closely at what the children were doing and learning.  Here was my Lilah, off on her own, going up to children, saying hello, asking them what state or country there were from and negotiating with them.  This common form of communication eliminated the language barrier.  Pin is a universal word at DI Globals.  The children each carry a pin bag, with a rolled up towel to display their wares.  It reminded me of the street vendors on Canal Street in NYC.  Efficiency is key.  Pins are traded at lightning speed and must be transportable as there is an ebb and flow to the crowd of traders.  It was fascinating to watch.  

I am thinking of a way to make a shadow box or a cork board frame to permanently display this amazing keepsake from their Globals experience.

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