Zoltan Szoges traded his way to Brazil after an online encounter where he tried to trade a leather recliner. (Facebook/Zoltan Szoges)

Zoltan Szoges traded his way to Brazil after an online encounter where he tried to trade a leather recliner. (Facebook/Zoltan Szoges)

Victoria man trades his way to Brazil with Facebook group

Zoltan Szoges founded the ‘This for That’ cashless group and traded his way to South America

A Victoria man who founded a cashless Facebook trading group has traded his way to Brazil.

Last week, Zoltan Szoges founded the “This for That” Victoria trade-only group after an unpleasant posting experience.

Szoges posted a picture of himself sitting in a leather recliner in a Victoria buy-sell group, trying to trade his friend’s chair. The stoic pose prompted one person to comment “creepy guy,” which led Szoges to try to engage with the commenter.

“I said ‘I’m gonna choose to not be a mean person,’ so I took an approach of grace, and asked him if he wanted to get together for a beer or coffee to learn more about who I am,” Szoges said.

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He didn’t hear back from the original person, but many others praised Szoges for his kinder action, and someone even offered to trade for the recliner.

“So I thought, ‘why don’t I take this mini-attention I’ve gathered and make a group?’” Szoges said.

In the first week, more than 1,600 people have joined and conducted trades of goods through the Facebook group.

“It’s been really neat watching how people value things when money isn’t involved,” Szoges said.

Some trades include a new mom trading a women’s raincoat for the service of someone digging a hole for her; another woman traded a party dress for old tires so she could use them in an obstacle course for her horse, and an ongoing discussion on the board has two families considering trading cars.

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For Szoges, the group granted him the opportunity to head to South America for the first time.

“One of the first people to join the group said she is coming to Victoria for 18 months for her studies,” Szoges said. The woman was looking for help moving in and for furniture and offered Portuguese lessons, lessons with Microsoft Office or accommodations in Brazil if someone could come before April.

“I thought ‘this could be a cool story,’” Szoges said.

He posted his own services as a photographer in exchange for a flight, and while negotiating with someone who could use his services for a wedding, found an inexpensive flight and went for it.

“I’ve never been on vacation, so I thought if I do the wedding later I can trade it for something else.”

Szoges is booked to leave at the end of February but said in the meantime he’s working with other group members to facilitate a live swapmeet to encourage more community engagement.

“I want to do something to stimulate the community in Victoria both online and offline,” he said. “The online aspect is very much based on kindness … people have been very receptive to that.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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