Follow my journey as a Students Live reporter through the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Life of a Pin Trader

On the seabus and downtown was the journey yesterday in hopes of getting on that popular Robson Square zip-line. Eight hours was what the sign next to us read, and I wasn't willing to wait in line 8 hours for a 20 second ride, so we opted out. As cool as it would have been to have a birds eye view of the city, I don't think I could have wasted half of my day in that line-up.

Instead I used the day to live the life of a pin trader. I learned all kinds of stuff and it was a neat experience. I talked to many of the pin traders, some were quite cranky and others were very friendly, but they were all interesting people. One guy I talked to has been collecting pins since Calgary '88 and has been at every Olympic Games since. He knows pins like the back of his hands, every night he checks each and every one of his pins' values on EBay, and I tell you that can't be an easy job judging by the numbers. This man in particular was so negative towards the Beijing Olympic Games, he said he was there trading pins but he couldn't stand it so he didn't even stay for the whole time. He said he didn't like how dirty it was and the people were so rude. It was really interesting because to this day, he still won't trade anyone for a Beijing pins, to him they are worthless. I can understand if he didn't enjoy the Beijing Games but does that really have any effect on the pins?

I couldn't imagine how pin trading would give them enough money to fly to an Olympic and Paralympic Games every 2 years. I was tempted to ask him if this was his job or if it was just a hobby but I was afraid I might sound offensive in some way. I find it unbelievable that selling and trading pins would make someone enough money to live off of; but then again they are out there every single day of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and taking it very seriously so it makes you wonder? The pins range in price from about 3 dollars to 100 dollars, can you believe it, $100 for a single pin? These traders say it's just like alcohol or gambling, it's an addiction.

I will admit it was fun and interesting to spend a few hours as a pin trader, but I couldn't imagine doing that all day, every 27 days of these Winter Games.

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