Xavier Toby

Personal Trade Week: Swap your house, your job, your life…

Image: AFP

Xavier Toby watched the AFL trades go down the other week and reckons there are a few areas where the “trade week” concept can be applied (Non-spoiler: This article isn’t about sport.)


If you could make any trade, what would it be?

The AFL Trade Period is over for another year, but far more interesting would be if this concept was trialled out in the big wide world.

(Ed’s note – for the non-AFL crowd, the AFL Trade Period occurs at the end of the season and is, as it sounds, a period when players from different clubs are traded for other players or picks in the National Draft.)

Initially, I thought of my stuff that still has some value, but I don’t need anymore.

Assorted furniture, an Atari 2600, Get Smart VHS collection, He-Man bedsheets, Choose Your Own Adventure books, and my mechanical engineering degree.

The problem is, nobody wants any of that stuff. If you don’t believe me, put it on eBay for a $1 and see what happens. You’d be lucky to get a dollar for it.

AFL clubs quickly found out the same thing. The players they didn’t want, even though they might have still had some value, nobody else wanted them either.

Unwanted players are delisted, then they disappear off to the lower leagues. For the furniture and the rest of my stuff, the lower leagues are known as the “nature strip” on “hard rubbish day”.

As if I’d ever throw out my awesome stuff. I’m keeping it all, one day it’ll be worth thousands. Apart from the furniture and my engineering degree.

Options abound if we consider trades on a personal level.

For all those gifts and mementos of a relationship that have value, but you can’t bear to keep or use once it’s over? Selling them seems a bit harsh, and you never get close to their true value, so there should be a monthly swap meet strictly for unwanted romantic gifts. On a side note, anyone want a barely used Pandora Bracelet? Email me.

We could also have websites for trading unwanted Xmas presents, pets and relatives. It’s not okay to sell people, that’s slavery, but swapping them has to be legal. Otherwise, how is the AFL Trade Period even allowed to exist?

Emotion swap is one concept that wouldn’t work. It’d just be a whole lot of sad people, waiting for the happy people to show up, while the jealous people would be so possessive they wouldn’t even trade it away, and despite all the enthusiastic people in attendance, the lazy people they’d be hoping to trade with would never leave the house.

Job trade week would be a winner. It’d stop people being stuck in jobs that they hate, and you’d avoid all that horrible interviewing rubbish, where employers have to sort through all the long-term unemployable.

Relationship-swap would solve a similar problem and it would mean nobody would have to deal with the disappointment of online dating, drunken nightclub mistakes and spending any time alone.

As would house swap, which has the added bonus of avoiding the extortionate fees charged by real estate agents.

Oh and it’d be a rule that everyone involved in a trade would have to agree to it first, just like in the AFL. However that’s not much of a choice, as once you’re told you’re being offered up for trade, there are very few people who’d want to hang around.

The main reason none of this will work is the same reason why so few trades are done in the AFL. People are greedy, and are so intent on holding out for the best possible deal that they miss out entirely.

So at the end of the AFL trade period, there’s always a flurry of deals as clubs settle for the best they’re going to get.

Fortunately, there’s no such trade deadline for jobs, relationships and houses.

The down side of this is that too many of us stick with what we’ve got, too scared to risk it for something better because it might just turn out worse.


To hear Xavier in action chatting about this idea, check out his recent RadioNational interview.


Xavier Toby

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian. His debut comedic non-fiction book about six months on a mining site 'Mining My Own Business' is available through UWA Publishing (http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/books-and-authors/book/mining-my-own-business). For more writing, upcoming performance details and some embarrassing photos check out his website.

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