[London, ENGLAND] The post-Christmas habit of re-gifting
may be a thing of the past in Europe, according to online
Apparently, people are swapping everything from unwanted
Pokémon cards to a full-sized World War Two bomber — and
no, this is an Allied bomber rather than a German Nazi
memorabilia bomber which would probably be outlawed online.
Webswappers says that US $3 billion in unwanted gifts
goes to waste every year in the U.K. alone, while billions
more are squandered on items that people like but already
“For every unwanted present we throw into the back of our
wardrobe there is someone out there who wants it and there
will be other people who have the things you hoped for but
didn’t get,” claimed Jonathan Attwood, Webswappers’ chief
Among the “weird and wonderful” category of swaps,
Webswappers lists a model of Big Ben. What’s weird and
wonderful about that? Well, it’s life size — just the
sort of thing to attract attention in your neighborhood
and keep the kids awake at night.
Alternatively, swappers can obtain that intensely
desirable objet d’art — the Ethiopian silver earwax
scoop (ideal for ladies who lunch). Or there are 1000
solar eclipse sunglasses that are bound to come in
useful sometime during the new millennium.
One user has even listed his 24-year-old girl friend
(“half Italian, very pretty, slim, good at cooking”) whom
he wants to exchange for “baby monkey to tame as pet.”
For all its levity, and despite being co-founded by
wacky hi-tech Professor Nicholas Negroponte,
Webswappers is a serious business — not just an
experiment. It claims to be Europe’s first Web site
dedicated to making the swapping of goods online
easy to do. The most popular items for swapping are
computer games consoles, mobile phones, laptop
computers and DVDs.
Webswappers points out that there are also tax
advantages to swapping in the U.K. where, for example,
stamp duty is still payable on house sales — but
costs only 5 pounds sterling (US $7) if the homes
It should also be mentioned that Webswappers is the
company that’s put the WAP in swap, making its site
accessible from WAP phones at wap.webswappers.com.
So who will be the first two people to swap a World War
Two bomber for a full sized replica of Big Ben over
a WAP phone? We’ll let you know if it happens.