I will always remember one of my first Pokemon cards. It was a shining, holographic Caterpie. I was so proud of that Caterpie card that one day I took it to school and boasted about it to my classmates. One of them came up to me and offered to trade. He took out a HUGE red three-ring binder filled with Pokemon cards.

“Pick one you want, and I’ll trade you for it,” he told me.

I was in shock, not just at his selection, but at the fact that my card was so rare he wanted to trade ANY card for it. As I searched through the pages, I spotted one card out of the rest. It was a Growlithe. Growlithe was not a powerful Pokemon or special in any way as far as I knew. I just wanted that Pokemon card because it looked like a dog, and I happened to see it in an episode where it did cool things. So I chose the card, and we traded. (I like to think this kid is now somewhere making millions off of some totally legal scheme.) So then I went back to my classmates and told them that now I had another awesome card. But when I showed them the Growlithe, they looked displeased.

“That card’s a fake, man,” said one of the kids. Then he picked it up and held it up to the light.”Yep, it’s fake. It’s not marked right.” I was stunned of course. I felt so let down and dumb. How could I trade something of great worth for something of little worth? From this experience I learned three valuable things that will stick with me forever.

Understanding  Value

Pokemon is the show following Ash Ketchum as he tries to catch all of the Pokemon. Now, the show is based on a comic which turned into a TV show, movie, card game, and video game. But why catch the Pokemon? Well, in the world of Pokemon these superpowered creatures fight for our amusement. Having stronger Pokemon means you can win more battles. This means that the creatures have intrinsic value, or real value in themselves. This is different from the value of something like money. For example, the American dollar has no real value in and of itself. The dollar allegedly represents gold locked away at Fort Knox, and gold, on the other hand, does have intrinsic value. You can always sell gold or use it to make goods, but paper money in and of itself, is useless. Likewise,  different materials such as gold, copper, and oil are valued differently. Pokemon also have their different types like grass, fire, and water which have their specific strengths and weaknesses.

Now, when you want a Pokemon, you have to decide what type you want and which is best for the situation you are in.

Image taken from Drawings illustrative of Captain Cook's First Voyage, 1768-1771.Originally published/produced in 1769.Obtained via Wikimedia Commons.

Image taken from Drawings illustrative of Captain Cook’s First Voyage, 1768-1771. Originally published/produced in 1769. Obtained via Wikimedia Commons.


Bartering is more the just trading items. In order to make a good trade, you must have the knowledge that will help you get the most out of the items you already have. If you are stuck with a weak Pokemon, you could trade with a friend who has something a little more powerful then what you have. Also sometimes just asking for a better trade can lead to something better.

How to Handle a Bad Deal

In the Pokemon card game and video games you can trade Pokemon. Just like in real life, trades can go wrong. In my own experience with the video game, when trading an Kadabra with a friend, I did not realize that upon trading him, he would level up. Of course, the trade was done so I couldn’t get the Pokemon back, but it has stuck in my mind since. You have to know what you are trading and how you should trade before getting something. It is very important to examine what you want to get before getting it,  otherwise you can end up on the bad side of the deal.

The Life Lesson

Make sure any deal you are getting is actually a deal. Some of us are familiar with the trick stores use on Black Friday where prices for items are doubled two weeks before, then dropped back down to normal price and passed off as “great savings.”

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal. Sometimes people will just give it to you.

Finally, if you do end up on the bad side of the deal just chalk it off as a lesson learned. If you can change then problem change it, don’t just sit there moping at your bad decision.

 Until next time,


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