Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I’m A Pin Head/Hustler

Getting ready to go to Vancouver for the Olympics Games has been a very unique experience. For me, this is probably the only one that I will get to attend so I need to make sure I get the full experience. A few months ago someone clued me in to this sport of “pin trading” that has been happening for years at most Olympics.

When you read up on this non official event that does not award medals, you will see that it is commonly referred to as an event bigger than the Olympics themselves. What? How is that even possible? If this was going to happen at our Olympics, you know I had to be a part of it! I raced out and started buying up pins like a maniac. I was running to Rona on my lunch hour in a snowstorm, searching the Vancouver 2010 store online to see what they had, and asking people outright if they could help find pins for me. My mom helped by phoning Bay stores in
Toronto to see if they sold them in stores. In addition to that, I was entering every contest I could find to try to win pins, whether it was by leaving a comment on a blog or answering daily Olympic trivia questions. Some of the suppliers I deal with at work are Olympic sponsors or suppliers. One of my sales reps came across some Panasonic pins and passed them on to me. I have a contact at CTV that I have been emailing to see if there are any spare “believe” pins lying around. Not surprisingly the answer to that was no. My friend works at the airport and offered, I swear she offered, to see if she could find Air Canada pins for me. I was becoming obsessed; I had to have the pins! I had to have them!

Left: Panasonic pin   Right: HBC Mascot pin I won in a contest from 2010VanFan.

Then another genius person who I have met in my Olympic travels, my new friend Hardeep, suggested writing to companies associated with Vancouver 2010 and asking if they would send pins. People, I was on it! I started emailing and asking if they would send pins that I could add to my collection. And some of them did! The first company I emailed was GM and a very nice woman from Customer Service replied and sent me a pin right away. I was ecstatic. I’ve been sending emails ever since. Most have not responded even a week after I sent an email. I got my first rejection today from Canada Post, and I’ve had yes responses from RBC, Rona and Petro Canada. Thank you for supporting the Canadian Olympic fans. I am very happy to be adding your pins to my collection. As I write this post, I received a message from Atos Origin. I had sent them a pin request and they just responded. They are sending me a pin! Thank you @atosJenn!

As for the pin trading thing, I think I may be missing the point. I do not want to part with any of the pins that I have. I understand that you are supposed to trade only the ones that you have doubles of, but it was so hard to get one, how on earth was I supposed to get more than that? The whole trading thing kind of scares me too. You kind of need to know what it is you have, if it is a hard to find pin etc, and make sure you are trading it for something equal. With all of the work and planning and blogging I’ve done for this trip, I don’t know where I could have found the time to educate myself on Olympic pins. This time I think I’ll sit back and watch the action. Maybe by my next Olympics I’ll have become a Pin Master, ready to trade in the big leagues. The Coca Cola Pin Trading Centre is set up at The Olympic Superstore (Bay store) downtown Vancouver if you want to try your hand at trading. I will be at the Superstore buying Coca Cola Olympic pins. I've read that is the only store that is selling them.

As for the pins I purchased from retail, I have started wearing a different one each day to work. What is the point of having them if I can’t show them off? Now it is a morning ritual when I come in for my co-workers to check out which pin I am wearing. And guess what, they want pins now too!

Do you have a story or suggestion on how to get Olympic pins? Leave a comment to share with all of us. My quest for pins is ongoing and I can use all the help and tips I could get.

Thank you so much for reading. It is 9 days until Vancouver 2010 officially begins. It is going to be great Canada.

Above: My retail pin collection. Right: Some cool Olympic pins I won through the Cold FX trivia contest. Top is the 6 piece pin set, and the single pin is the Sliding Goalie pin. The goalie actually moves from side to side. Very cool! I have one to trade. I was told to get something really good for it.
Some other Olympic souvenirs I purchased from the Vancouver 2010 online store.  I've been collecting keychains for years and am looking to pick up some more while in Vancouver.  The lanyard is for my Mom. The bookmark on the far left is for me. I am a book lover. I can sit and read for hours and hours at a time.


  1. I'm not much of a "pin guy" (note: I did not say "pinhead"!) but am more into coins & stamps. With that said, I've gone out of my way to collect several pins, some of which I'm sworn to secrecy about their source. But for the price of a large coffee, you might just find yourself the owner of a few of them!

  2. Price of a large coffee? Done! Maybe I could even convince you to reveal your sources?


  3. They do this at the Disney Parks as well. They have trading posts that even have shades you can put over your head to trade your pins out of the sunshine.
    Armed with a lanyard, you'll be the coolest ever at 2010.
    It's coming up pretty soon, are you ready?!?!!

  4. Hey there Christina,

    Woo Hoo!!!! 1 week until the Olympics.

    I am happy to hear that my suggestion to send requests to Sponsors has paid off!

    See you at the Olympics,
    Hardeep Gosal

  5. I feel the same way - I'm not sure I'm ready to part with any of the pins that I have. You do have quite a nice collection though. Good job emailing sponsors! I hope you get many more pins!