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St. Vincent de Paul Personnel Launch Tie Exchange Movement

Contact: Bob Duplantier, Director, Membership & Technology Services, U.S. Council, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, 314-576-3993, ext. 203, bduplantier@svdpusa.org


ST. LOUIS, Mo., May 30 /Christian Newswire/ -- St. Vincent de Paul Personnel Launch Tie Exchange Movement


It all started with a compliment.


"Nice tie!" said Richard.


"Take it," said Bob. "It's yours!"


Thus was a movement born: the "Totally Instantaneous Exchange," TIE for short.


Richard Lane has a large collection of neckties and knows a nice one when he sees it. But he rarely pays more than a few dollars for them. Richard is the general manager of the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in St. Louis.


Bob Duplantier also works for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, at their national office in Maryland Heights, Missouri. He, too, is a tie fancier, and equally frugal. In fact, the tie he was wearing that Richard complimented was a thrift store purchase.


The first Totally Instantaneous Exchange occurred at a recent meeting of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in downtown St. Louis. Richard emphasized that he was just complimenting the tie and didn't expect to be made a present of it, but Bob insisted on making the exchange and launching the TIE movement.


"It's an idea that's been percolating in my head for many years," Bob explained. "I was leaving a diner in uptown New Orleans 30 years ago when the manager spotted the vintage tie I was wearing and offered me $20 on the spot. It was my favorite tie, so I turned him down.


"Later, I felt bad about it. I thought, if he liked the tie that much, I should have just given it to him. I'd only paid a couple of dollars for it, and giving it away to a complete stranger would have been a magnificent gesture. Imagine the good will that could be generated if everyone responded to compliments by making a gift of the thing admired!"


Richard liked the idea, and together he and Bob worked out the protocol for the Totally Instantaneous Exchange: When someone compliments you on the tie you're wearing, you have to take it off, sign and date the back of it, and give it to him. There's only one stipulation attached to the gift: the recipient must agree that he, too, will pass it on the next time someone compliments it.


As happily married men, Richard and Bob had the foresight to incorporate a single exception to the rule of the Totally Instantaneous Exchange: The complimented man can decline to give up his tie if he has reason to believe that grave personal injury or death is likely to follow at the hands of the loving woman who gave it to him.


It didn't take long to put the new protocol into practice. The very next day, another member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Brian Freel from Atlanta, complimented Bob's tie and another exchange was made. The TIE movement was off and running.


"I can see I'm going to need to stock up on ties," Bob commented.


"I've got just the place for that," Richard chimed in. "The St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store. We've got a great selection of good-looking ties, and the best prices in town."


That's no idle boast. Richard's store has been recognized as the "Best Thrift Store" in St. Louis by the Riverfront Times, a popular St. Louis weekly.


Best known for its thrift stores and food pantries, and for the personal visits of its members to the homes of the poor and needy, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is the largest lay Catholic organization in the world. Established in France in 1833 by a college student named Frederic Ozanam, the Society began its existence in the United States 12 years later, in 1845, in St. Louis.