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Teen Barters a Cell Phone into a Porsche Via Craigslist

(SGVN/Staff photo by Watchara Phomicinda)


A few years from now, the business world needs to be prepared for the coming of Steven Ortiz. What began as a simple barter of a used cell phone, soon went through a series of 14 trades that turned the mobile phone into a 2000 Porsche Boxster S convertible.

“My friend gave me a free phone and said, ‘Do what you want with it,'” Ortiz told CNN. “So I put it on Craigslist on the barter section.”

After a great deal of time and research, Glendora, CA native Ortiz, then just 15, managed to trade the outdated cell phone for a better phone, which he then traded for an iPod Touch — but what he really wanted was a dirt bike. Once he found the trade he wanted, he went through a few dirt bikes, but decided that he wasn’t satisfied, so he soon traded for a Macbook Pro.

From that point on, things began to snowball, and each day Ortiz would spend up to six hours a day looking through Craigslist and researching. After the Macbook Pro, Ortiz traded several more times, ending up with a golf cart, a 1987 Toyota 4Runner, and a 1975 Ford Bronco SUV. His last trade was the Bronco for a $9,000 2000 Porsche Boxster S, which was actually a step down from the Bronco, which was a collectible valued at around $15,000.  But not many 17-year olds can drive a convertible Porsche to school and claim they got it for trading a cell phone.

Following in the footsteps of Canadian Kyle MacDonald, who in 2005 began with a red paper clip and ended up with a two-story house, Ortiz took over two years to complete his goal, all of which was done with careful research and accepting trades that would best suit the situation.

“It’s trying to catch people who want what you have,” Ortiz said, explaining his secret to a good barter. “The man that needed the laptop had an extra car,” he added.

Now that he has the Porsche, Ortiz does not plan on stopping there. With routine oil changes costing over $100, and maintenance fees of around $1,000, the Porsche will soon be up for barter as well.

“I don’t have a job right now and I really don’t like asking my parents if I can get an oil change, so I want to trade for a mid-sized truck,” Ortiz told CNN. “We’ll see what comes along.”