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Melissa Harris

How I turned a plastic pen into $87 over 5 days

How I turned a plastic pen into $87 over 5 days

The hardest assignment of business school thus far: Take a Chicago Booth disposable pen and, through a series of sales or trades over five days, end up with something of greater value. Students must document and photograph the five transactions. And the deals must be consummated with strangers. One classmate immediately dropped the course. I ended the week with $87. First night: With my sales pitch of the pen-as-cudgel to a parent looking to convince their child to enter graduate school, an out-of-towner ponies up. Pen gone for $20. Second night: The $20 becomes a bottle of red wine I move for $40 to a classmate from Asia I'd never met. Third night: That $40 is used for...

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