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A House For One Red Paperclip 158

Tim_F writes to mention the news that Kyle MacDonald (the guy trying to trade a red paperclip for a house) has succeeded in his quest. His recently traded a KISS Snowglobe in exchange for one afternoon with Alice Cooper. He in turn traded the snowglobe to an enthusiastic snowglobe collector, for a role in a movie. From the article: "Now, the town of Kipling, Sask., located about two hours east of Regina with a population of 1,100, has offered MacDonald a farmhouse in exchange for the role in the movie. MacDonald and his girlfriend will fly to the town next Wednesday. 'We are going to show them the house, give them the keys to the house and give them the key to the town and just have some fun,' said Pat Jackson, mayor of Kipling."
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A House For One Red Paperclip

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  • by BeneathTheVeil ( 305107 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @03:34AM (#15681964) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't he have accomplished his goal quicker if he started with a red stapler? ...or would have have had to burn the house down when he finally got it?
  • So what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MarkByers ( 770551 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @03:37AM (#15681973) Homepage Journal
    So what?

    He has a farmhouse in the town of Kipling, Sask.? So...? Why stop now? If he could trade that for two red paperclips, doubling his original investment, I'd be impressed.
    • If you've ever been to Kipling, Sask, you'd know that two red paperclips would be worth more than a farmhouse there. There's actually a bit of a fad in Saskatchewan lately - towns giving away old houses and property that they normally couldn't pay people to take. It's usually tied in to some sort of gimicky contest, frequently related to a TV show called Corner Gas.
  • by Ohreally_factor ( 593551 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @03:38AM (#15681975) Journal
    "This is not the end. This may be the end of this segment of the story, but this story will go on. "

    It would be ironic if he died of a paper cut that could have been prevented by a paperclip.
    • Actually, that would just be a coincidence.
      • I'm still getting a hang on this irony thing. Alanis Morissette didn't help matters. Now if he got a papercut from the paperwork for the house, would that then be ironic?
        • I think the first post on "ironic" had it right.

          The paper clip bartering should have led to his happily every after, but in actuality the paperclip (or lack thereof) was his undoing.

          irony []3 a (1) : incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result
        • There's an easy way to remember irony: It's ironic that the most famous song on irony, from Alanis Morissette, contains absolutely no irony(in the song itself)
          • This is getting off-topic, but since you brought this up, I have to ask the question. Does anyone know for sure what Alanis had in mind when she wrote that song (I have to assume this has come up in interviews or something at some point)? Because I have always seen two possibilities. One is that she genuinely thought everything in the song was an example of irony, which makes her come across as kind of stupid. However, if she specifically wrote a song called Ironic and intentionally used a bunch of exam
    • Only ironic if the paperclip is made from the most abundant heavy element in the universe.

          (However, I agree with you about the irony thing, and fuck anyone who bitches about "coincidence vs. irony")
    • More ironic if he stabs himself with a stapler.
  • Kyle MacDonald! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton ( 230700 )
    Announcer: Kyle MacDonald - come on down! You've been selected to be the latest contestant on...

    Audience: Gimmicky Human Interest Story! [Wild Applause]

    Announcer: That's right! You've managed to amuse us with your heartwarming tale of despiration. You managed to stumble into a kindly corporate sponsor for your story of using ebay, and gotten that radio station to softball you into a whole lot of pain advertisement! And now, latching onto the story, everyone and their brother are selling the hype to e
    • Re:Kyle MacDonald! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wbren ( 682133 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @04:02AM (#15682035) Homepage
      I think you hit the nail on the head. This story belongs with the Million Dollar Home Page and other stupid ideas that people went along with because it was getting a lot of publicity. This story doesn't prove that bartering is still alive. It doesn't prove that you can start with nothing and end up with something. All it proves is that people are willing to jump on just about any bandwagon. I mean come on, some town no one has ever heard of just happens to give the guy a house for a small movie roll? Hooray for bartering.
      • Re:Kyle MacDonald! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dan.hunt ( 613949 )
        I have heard of Kipling, Saskatachewan and a house is still a house. This one would come with a big bonus, a very large percentage of the 1100 people in that town, plus 100's of people who live on farms around that town would care about you. We are talking about the bring you supper and beer while your unpacking, care for you. Get up in the middle of the night to pull your car/truck/minivan out of a snowbank care for you.

        Granted no one would describe life as "fast-paced" and everyone would know details of

      • Paperclip + Time = House Seems like a pretty rad setup to me. And to argue the barter system is dead is to misunderstand the reality of money, money is a medium of barter and represents the one thing all humanity has in limited supply - time. We are, with money as a medium, barting our time away for things.
      • Well, towns will give you land just for living there [] so I don't see what your issue is... just that he's publicizing it? That he thought of it before you did? What exactly IS your issue with this guy?
      • This story belongs with the Million Dollar Home Page and other stupid ideas that people went along with because it was getting a lot of publicity.

        Well, just about everything in pop culture is like that, not just the paperclip guy and the million dollar home page ideas. Why do you think people drink Budweiser? Because it's a great beer? They drink it because it's popular and everybody else is drinking it and because it's hyped. These guys are nothing new, just clever additions in a long line of market
  • Now he can try to trade his house for the world!

    • But... don't you remember how all greedy stories end?
      • I don't know how greedy this guy is, but yes, he may end up with a paperclip instead of the world :-)
        • I don't know how greedy this guy is, but yes, he may end up with a paperclip instead of the world :-)

          I wager the president will soon be wondering why he's out of a job, but he'll be glad of his newly acquired pair of calf length gym socks.
  • by gsfprez ( 27403 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @03:49AM (#15682000)
    you've heard all the stories about guys in the military during WWII trading whiskey for bullets or other such things, well, my buddy and i came upon a huge spool of single mode fiber optic cable - Like, dining room table sized. Anyhow, our plan was to trade up the spool of fiber to an F-15 that we could share since we were in the Air Force.

    we got as far as finding a guy that would take the spool from us after we used all the fiber... oh well.

    Best laid plans and all....
  • Amazing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NexFlamma ( 919608 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @03:52AM (#15682010) Homepage
    This story, more than anything else I've seen, shows the amazing powers of the internet. Simply by connecting so many people in almost-real-time, stuff like this has become a possibility. Admittedly, I'm sure many of the trades only came about via the publicity and novelty of the idea, but before we had the world literally at our fingertips, such ideas wouldn't have been even remotely possible.

    I applaud this guy simply for trying something new and having it work out for him nicely.
    • Re:Amazing. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:16AM (#15682183)
      Most of them were. I see very few of the trades that weren't based on novelty or publicity. Paperclip for a pen- novelty. Pen for doorknob- novelty. THe stove and generator were legit, but the snowmobile was pure publicity. So was the trip to Yahk- although props for being so canny in setting it up. The truck was publicity. The recording contract was novelty. The years rent and the afternoon with Alice Cooper were legit (well, Alice probably liked the publicity but I could buy him doing it for an employee without it- it could happen). The snowglobe was legit but the movie role and house were pure publicity as well.

      Basicly he got lucky, got some publicity, and made a few good moves with that publicity to make it happen. Don't expect it to work for you.
      • Don't be so surprised. I tried something similar once with a group. We started with a paperclip and walked around our neighborhood. By the time we were done I had traded that paperclip for a fridge. This was about an hour after we started. We were all pretty impressed.

        You know, now that I think about it, a house in Saskatchewan is sort of like a fridge, just larger and with windows.
    • Re:Amazing. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Illserve ( 56215 )
      Not that the internet isn't useful, changed the world, etc, but this guy's gimmick is only indicative of the power of the internet to spread fads. It might work a second time for someone else, and possibly even a third time, but this kind of thing is basically a one-trick pony.

      It's the pet rock all over again.

      And that guy [] got more than a crummy farmhouse for his gimmick.

    • Over a hundred years ago, Hans Christian Anderson regaled us with it in "What the Old Man Does is Always Right" [], in which we start with a horse, descend to a bushel of rotten apples, and wind up feelthy rich.

      Let that be a lesson to you trading n00bs!

  • by cy_a253 ( 713262 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @04:14AM (#15682052)
    I think he should keep on trading up. I'm sure someone somewhere would be willing to trade this house for something better. There seems to be no limit now...

    News from the future:
    "This just in. We have learned today that Mr. Kyle MacDonald has just acquired the entirety of the United States of America."
    "I, for one, welcome our barter-trading overlord."

    • I'm sure someone somewhere would be willing to trade this house for something better

        A really good lay comes to mind...

    • I think he should keep on trading up. I'm sure someone somewhere would be willing to trade this house for something better

      Either that or he should have taken the movie role. Even if the role is minimal (the article said it was paying) he could probably buy two farm houses in Sask, plus he'd be in a movie. Think of that, he could be a "famous" actor in that city, and with two houses he'd own a large percentage of the realestate!! The farm chicks would be all-up-ons!
  • Hmm... (Score:3, Funny)

    by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @04:14AM (#15682054) Homepage
    Houses in Saskatchewan are only worth one paperclip? I'm going down to Office Depot to get a case of red paperclips and then I'm buying the whole province.
  • by Frogbert ( 589961 ) <> on Saturday July 08, 2006 @04:15AM (#15682056)
    I've watched both the videos on the site a number of times and I still have to say Canadian accents are impossible to understand. I can only barely pick out the names, the rest might as well be in french for all I could make of it.
  • by MrNougat ( 927651 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `hcstarkc'> on Saturday July 08, 2006 @04:27AM (#15682079)
    So yeah, one might have been able to trade up a single red paperclip into a house without publicity, but it would have taken longer and been a much more impressive feat.

    Just to make sure everyone knows, this man's (still impressive) accomplishment was fueled not by being able to make smart trades, but by the publicity of the stunt. Clearly, the people trading with him were giving him items of far greater value than what he was providing. The balance of the transaction can be measured in publicity.
  • Am I... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Phroggy ( 441 ) *
    ...the only one who has never heard of any of this before now?
    • > the only one who has never heard of any of this before now?


      Am I the only one who:

      * Doesn't give a shit?
      * Wonders what this has to do with....anything?
    • Well, until now I didn't realise that he had successfully got a house out of his trades. The press didn't know until yesterday either, so I guess it isn't just me.
    • Re:Am I... (Score:3, Informative)

      by pipingguy ( 566974 ) *
      I just Goog...uh, searched [Kyle MacDonald paper clip cbc] because I knew that CBC had covered this before. Google replied: "Did you mean: Kyle MacDonald paper clip abc".

      From 2005 [], CBC News, unformatted for your reading pleasure:

      Montreal man trading paper-clip for house Last Updated Thu, 08 Dec 2005 18:50:27 EST CBC News A Montreal man is grabbing international attention for his increasingly successful quest to barter a single red paper-clip for a house. Five months ago, Kyle MacDonald looked at a
    • I only heard about it yesterday on CBC news - as did I suspect the article submitter.
  • Heh (Score:3, Informative)

    by retro128 ( 318602 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @04:57AM (#15682144)
    Considering you can get a 48 acre farm complete with structures and a home for $140,000 out there, [] I guess a ratty old farm house isn't too much to part with. Although, I doubt they will sign over the land underneath it, and will essentially let him live there rent free, at least until the novelty wears out.
    • I guess a ratty old farm house isn't too much to part with.
      Depends on what it was made out of.

      Some (old) houses are worth more in wood than they are as a house because of the building material used.

      I dunno what they use for building materials up in Canada, since they mostly have lots of softwoods (which you don't use to build homes with)
      • I dunno what they use for building materials up in Canada, since they mostly have lots of softwoods (which you don't use to build homes with)

        Huh? Softwood is the most common lumber used to build houses. I'll find a cite for this if you need it, but are you really aware of significant use of hardwood to build houses? (Okay, I'm sure it's -possible-.)

        I'm talking about the structure of the building, by the way, not the furniture or cabinets inside -- many people prefer hardwood for those.
    • The land beneath his house is worth no more than $50. That's what a lot in a small prarie town will cost you.

      If he lives there, buys his groceries there, and pays his taxes - the town will come out WAY ahead. Even if he only does so for 1-2 years.
  • Pet Choices (Score:5, Funny)

    by pipingguy ( 566974 ) * on Saturday July 08, 2006 @04:58AM (#15682148)
    Saskatchewan is one of those places where you can watch your dog run away for a couple of weeks. This is not so with cats or hamsters (too disorganized and buffalo food respectively). Fish still refuse to live in the province.
    • He should make sure to buy a shotgun and shells for when mosquito season starts up. They don't call it the 'Land of the Living Skies' for nothing.
      • Forget mosquitoes. Wait for the grasshoppers. Some years, it's like the apocalypse is nigh...

        And regardless, it's still a beautiful province. Land of the living skies is definitely an understatement... heck, I'd take that farm house just for the big, dark night time sky. And it does have some beautiful national parks (Cypress Hills being the most obvious example).
    • by dexter riley ( 556126 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @10:01AM (#15682878)
      Saskatchewan is one of those places where you can watch your dog run away for a couple of weeks.

      I've heard every joke, I've heard every word you said.
      You think there's not a lot going on...but look closer, baby, you're so wrong.
      And that's why you can stay so long...where there's not a lot going on.
  • most of the trades occurred because of the publicity and novelty of the thing.

    I'd be much more impressed by the second person to do this, or the fourth.
  • I suppose this just reinforces that one man's trash is another man's treasure. You just have to be in the right place (website) at the right time with the right trash.
  • I don't think you can do that.
    One red paperclip costs about 10 cents and a house cost much more... maybe 1000$
    It doesn't make sense!

    BUT, if you start a Blog, write some insightful post, get some traffic and ads, you might be able to buy a house without giving up your red paperclip.

    I hope this post will be moded insightful :)
  • [Two guys on the porch of a rickety farmhouse]

    Knock Knock Knock. "I don't think he's answering." KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!

    Creak, crack, stomp stomp stomp, squeeeeeeeeek, "Oh, hello guys! What can I do for you?"

    Well, Old MacDonald, it's about your farm. We're from the Canadian Revenue Agency and we have a few questions to ask you regarding the taxes you did or did not pay on the transactions you made from paperclip to farm house. Would you please put these handcuffs on so we can converse in a calm environment?"

  • Well, I dunno, but something says to me that he didn't got his home just yet: sting.html []

    Or ... if he indeed has successfully traded his paperclip for a house, somebody forgot to inform the guy himself.

  • Am I the only one happy that this whole thing will finally come to an end so I can stop hearing about the stupid trades that are only happening so people can get publicity?
  • First off, I don't know how the tax laws are in Canada, but since he was originally unemployed and making no money, I hope he doesn't have to pay income taxes on that house! He would if he was in the States (someone correct me if I am wrong)..... If he does owe taxes, he is on the hook for big $$$! Might want to trade down!
    • Why would you hope that he doesn't have to pay income tax on the house? He had income, pay the tax! I don't get it!

      Paying tax on a $56,000 house doesn't seem to be that onerous (I think that's the approximate value). I bet most slashdot users pay tax on a $56K (or more) income every year.

      This would be easy. First, get a tax advisor. Then either pay a lump sum (if you have it) of maybe $14K, or take out a $14K mortgage on a $56K asset. Or sell the asset and pay part of it to the government. No mat

  • 1. Trade red paperclip until you get house.
    2. ???
    3. Profit!!
  • Personally, I like Kipling.
  • He is moving from Montreal, an urban metropolis with lots of things to do (movies, restaurants, concerts, etc.) to "middle of nowhere" Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan, where God lost his shoe.
    • Would that not depend on the person he is? I mean, just because in Montreal there are a million things to do, it doesn't mean he is doing any of them.
  • nice house.... but did the paperclip run Linux?
  • Not much of a deal, getting a house in Kipling. I've been there as many of my mom's aunts live in or around Kipling. Just a small, quiet farming town in the praries. At least it's better than Eatonia, SK where my grandparents live, where you can buy one of the lots from the town for $1 plus however much taxes are owing.

    Well, I guess that's what you get for only wanting to spend a paperclip!

  • It's weird... all of a sudden all of those crazy trading circles in the Zelda games are now legitimized to me. Now, if I can just find a Yoshi Doll, I too might be able to finally get that spiffy boomerang one day!
  • Kipling land value (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mh101 ( 620659 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @10:46AM (#15683047)
    To give you all an idea of how much land is worth... Current for sale in or around Kipling:

    And here's a complete map of Kipling. []

    • $54K is way too much for a house in Kipling. You can buy houses in Saskatchewan cities for less than that, let alone small town Saskatchewan. I would expect the house to be worth approximately $20K-$30K.

      My brother once bought a 500 square foot house in Redvers, Saskatchewan for $7500. Redvers and Kipling are very similar towns.
      • by ckedge ( 192996 )
        Very true. I'm originally from a town not far away. 10 years ago my grandparents died and we inherited their house. Built turn of the century with bricks (beautiful old thing), living room addition, beautiful huge yard with hedges and lawns (plural) and flower gardens (I mean 30 x 30 foot flower garden with paths and everything, another set of flower beds surrounding a path circling the house behind hedges), 2 sheds, 2 stories, 4 bedrooms, ancient beautiful hardwood floor dining room (not huge). Lot mus
        • Fuck Toronto and it's $500,000 1200sq foot shitty looking two story duplexes (so you get a 2500 sq foot house that's been split in half internally by a wall, with your half spread over two stories - and you pay $500,000 CDN ($400,000 USD) for it.

          That's in my built up central neighbourhood where I rent a bachelor for $1100 per month.

          There are of course $200,000 houses out in the burbs. But then you have to commute 2-3 hours a day. Stupid burbs, all they have are houses. If the jobs were actually out there
        • ... you don't measure your purchase by dollars/square meter, you should do it by dollars/oportunities.

          The quality of life in a big town comes from the posibilities of having an interesting life.

          I may be pretty peaceful and green in Saskachewathever, but you don't have great movies, food, orchestras and sport minutes from where you live.
  • by jdbartlett ( 941012 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @11:25AM (#15683219)
    Kyle MacDonald: "One Red Paperclip" - NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE!

    See! the hit comic action adventure drama, starring Will Smith as Kyle MacDonald, Uma Thurman as his long suffering girlfriend, and Lindsay Lohan as the paperclip.

    Hear! Will Smith's amusing remarks as he trades pieces of junk for larger, more profitable junk!

    Cry! when Will Smith unwittingly trades a van for a piece of paper, almos losing long-time girlfriend Uma Thurman.

    Laugh! when it turns out the piece of paper was a recording contract!

    Based on a true life story! (Some liberties taken; various items replaced by famous celebrities and the internet replaced by word-of-mouth of the quirky inhabitants of Will Smith's home town in Northern California).

    Sample the from riveting novelization:

    "CHAPTER 1. It started with this paperclip. Then he trades it in for a pen. Then, like, he trades it in again, but for a doorknob... Then he goes and trades it for a coleman stove. Then he trades the stove for James Woods. 'Hey, buddy.' Says James Woods, 'I'm James Woods.' 'Beleeve dat,' says Will Smith - his catchphrase for the film."
  • List of trades (Score:3, Informative)

    by Diamon ( 13013 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @11:49AM (#15683319)
    Red Paperclip --> Fish Pen
    Fish Pen --> Doorknob
    Doorknob --> Coleman Stove
    Coleman Stove --> Generator
    Generator --> "Instant Party" (Beer Keg, Neon Sign, I.O.U. for Keg's worth of Beer)
    "Instant Party" --> Skidoo
    Skidoo --> Trip to Yahk
    Trip to Yahk --> Cube Van (Box Truck)
    Cube Van --> Recording Contract
    Recording Contract --> Year in Phoenix (Airfare to Phoenix and use of house rent free for one year)
    Year in Phoenix --> Afternoon with Alice Cooper
    Afternoon with Alice Cooper --> KISS Snowglobe
    KISS Snowglobe --> Movie Role
    Movie Role --> House
  • I've been inspired! I'm starting with a paper model of a Piper Cub and trading up to the real thing []!
  • by Kuukai ( 865890 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:22PM (#15684583) Journal
    If this guy was flying from Montreal to Vancouver to Seattle and so forth, staying in hotels, paying for internet access, and eating food, for a whole year, how much money did he start out with?! I mean, is it not reasonable to assume that if he actually worked he could have easily bought a house on the Canadian countryside withing a year?

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.