Part of what I love about Pin trading is the social interaction it entails. You get to meet new people, who you immediately have a connection to because of something cool you share. It's a neat experience, and the community is part of why I keep being a hardcore trader.
There's another level too, though: the rush of the hunt. Searching through the crowds, eyes aimed at people's lanyards, desperately trying to discern in the seconds you have whether the other person has anything you want to trade for. I had to untrain myself from this unconscious behavior after the last PAX I attended. My friend made fun of me for it, I was doing it so bad.
So, I thought, why not make a thread where we can share our favorite pin stories? I know we have the community thread, but I thought a place where we can sort of just kick back and share our greatest or craziest gets would be cool.
I have a couple, but I'll share my first one.The Chandra Trading Game
It was PAX Prime 2013 and I was just starting to get into pins. At this point, I was still just an enthusiast, collecting pins I really liked or that looked really cool so I could fill my lanyard with awesome things. I went a bit farther than some other people might to obtain the pins I wanted, which I think was a sign that this would develop into an obsession, but at this point I wasn't going for broke with all the pins. I just wanted a few cool ones.
The one I really wanted was Chandra 2. Chandra 1 was boring to me, it didn't look cool. But Chandra 2? That pin was freaking badass. I wanted it front and center on my lanyard so that I could parade it around.
Wandering the second story of the main expo, I came across a group of traders who were all huddled around the merch booth. One of them just so happened to have a Chandra 2, and wasn't trading it readily. I went up, still very shy about approaching people about these things, and asked what he would be willing to trade for that Chandra. He said he wanted a Professor Pigglesworth for it. Now at that point, I honestly had no clue what he meant. Thus far, I had only been collecting the staff faces and a few other pins, I wasn't really in the know of even what that would look like. He explained that it looked like a pig in a cup, and that I would know it when I saw it.
Stating that he would remain in that vicinity for at least another thirty minutes and that he would hold the pin for me, I now had my quest. And timer to boot! I hurried off, attempting to figure out just where in the whole of this place I would find a pin with a pig in a cup.
I wasn't long for looking, because it just so happened that a booth beside the escalators had a guy with a bunch of pins in a see through jar. In that jar was that little pig in a cup. He was leaning on one arm, looking somewhat bored, or perhaps it was just exhaustion. This was day three of the first four day year, and I can only imagine what sort of tiredness gets you after sitting in booths for so long. I asked him what I could trade for that pig in a cup, presenting my own lanyard for display. He cast one lazy eye over it, and dismissed it with a glance. "I want the Balloon Guy. You got that?" I did not have the balloon guy. I could only assume he meant the one from the online Twisp and Catsby set I had heard people talking about. "Yeah, if you can get me that, I'll give you the pig."
Slowly but surely, this was turning into the Biggoron's Sword Quest from Ocarina of Time. Determined to get that Chandra, I raced off. As I snaked through the show floors, I wondered just where in the heck I would even get a pin that someone had bought online. What was the likelihood of them even giving it to me? It couldn't be very likely. I was starting to get discouraged, and coming up on fifteen minutes since the Chandra guy told me I had 30, when I saw a booth guy with the pin. I honestly don't remember which booth; my eyes were only focused on dangling twinkles at that point, and everything else seemed like a vague blur. I rushed up to him. "What'll you trade me for that pin?" I pointed at the balloon guy, my voice and manner verging on the indecent and impolite. He smiled and kinda laughed. "I dunno. I'd kinda like the Elspeth pin."The Whatspeth pin?
I didn't even have that. "What pin?"
"I think they give it out at the Magic booth."
I could do that. I could easily do that. A booth pin? I didn't even know they had pins at booths. This was game changer. I could get a pin for free.
After reassuring him that I would be back to trade it, I now bolted off. Drawing out my guide, I raced for the Magic the Gathering booth, this manic trading game now finally drawing to a close.
And then I saw the line. Oh god how the day three lines can be cruel. It was winding around. I didn't have time for this, the guy would probably be gone by the time I got back. I went up to an employee with a couple of the elswhatever pins on and asked him if I could trade him. "Sorry man, gotta go through the line."
And so I did. Five minutes passed. Ten minutes passed. Fifteen minutes passed. It was at this point that I essentially gave up hope somewhat. I would just go through the motions, trade the pins I had to get that stupid pig, and then maybe I could find another person who could trade me for it. Maybe I could even find that Chandra guy later. I dunno, the pig was alright. Settling into my defeat by time, I finally made it to the front of the line. After playing their PC game for another five minutes, and then standing in front of the picture (both of which were admittedly fun and I actually cheered up a bit from), I went up to the guy, who gave me the pin.
I trudged back to the other booth guy, and traded him for his Balloon. And then I picked up pace. I dunno why, I just got hopeful. Maybe if I rushed, the Chandra guy was still there. It was only 45 minutes or so after, and they all looked like they were gonna be standing around for a while. Maybe, I said as I traded for the pig, maybe they might still be there. As the pig guy nodded and smiled, I trotted off back to the merch booth.
Lo and behold, there they stood. A couple staff members were now trading with them, they were all talking. And there stood Chandra guy.
I managed to get all of the Staff pins at that prime, including some other cool ones, but that Chandra always sat at the apex of my lanyard where the two bits met. That Chandra and the trade I went through for it was one of the most fulfilling parts of that PAX Prime for me, and I think I knew then that even though I didn't currently have all of the pins, I would one day want them all.
I was hooked.