Playground Ripoffs

Playground Ripoffs

The Playground: where children with floppy hats and toughees make deals with their lunches.

The rules here are simple. If you value a sandwich and you have an apple, then you offer the deal. The person you’re trading with then assesses if the deal is worth it or not.

No monetary value is talked about. No person recites the bill or the cost of each item. No, it’s just a matter of perception.

The Marketplace is this playground and the rules are the same as in school.

One of my friends exchanged an aeroplane for an old Mercedes Benz. Another person imported a high-end luxury vehicle for 250K (only to have it devalue immediately once he drove it). No one really looked at value, just what seemed good to each person at the time.

At the school playground, every so often you got ripped off. Some guy swapped you with a bag of stale chips for a steak role, and then bragged to his mates that he completely creamed you. (He knew they were stale).

You couldn't get it back though, the deal was made, and you got screwed.

However in the long run, word gets around. No one wants to make deals with someone who's the Screw King. Not in preschool, not in the business world.

Cutting jobs, not finishing off a service properly, being unclear about deliverables or details of the exchange all make someone a Screw King.

Maybe they win here or there, but definitely not in the long run. The exchange has got to be fair on both sides. And both sides are responsible to see that it is.

(photo via seattle municipal archives)