Sausages for smartphones: Ont. butcher barters for BlackBerrys
Published Tuesday, September 18, 2018 9:47AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 18, 2018 10:24AM EDT
BlackBerrys, the Canadian-made smartphones which once outsold iPhones and Android devices, can now be traded for a bit of bratwurst.
A butcher shop in Kitchener, Ont. advertises that it will give two sausages – each worth about $2 – to any customer who is willing to part with a BlackBerry device.
“I know some people might take that as sort of an insult to BlackBerry, but really the idea behind it is trying to pay homage to the history,” Colby LeMoine, owner of the ForeQuarter Butcher Shop, told CTV Kitchener.
“They invented the smartphone. It’s a huge part of the world, and it was invented in our backyard. I think we should pay homage to that.”
LeMoine’s store is located approximately 10 kilometres from the Waterloo, Ont., headquarters of BlackBerry.
Formerly known as Research In Motion, the Canadian company held a 20 per cent share of the smartphone market in the late 2000s. It employed more than 10,000 people in Waterloo at its peak, becoming one of the main drivers of the local economy.
The company’s success dwindled as its devices continually proved less popular with consumers than the offerings of its competitors. By 2016, BlackBerry’s share of global smartphone shares had shrunk to 0.1 per cent.
LeMoine opened his store in July. From the start, its walls were lined with eclectic decorations, including several old BlackBerry devices which attracted attention from customers.
“A lot of people started talking about how functional the phones were and missing them,” he said.
“There [are] a lot of people that say ‘I held onto them for as long as possible … until my phone provider said I couldn’t use this phone anymore.’”
The phones often act as conversation starters, with people reminiscing about models they owned a decade or more ago. Customers also asked if they could have their own phones added to the wall.
“If you’ve got a phone sitting in your drawer at home not being used and you can get a couple sausages for it, I think that’s a great deal,” LeMoine said.
Two sausages is the usual exchange price, but LeMoine has been known to offer more for older and rarer devices. One customer who brought in a particularly uncommon device received a hat and a piece of steak.
Chris Rausch, a former BlackBerry employee who stopped at the butcher shop recently, said it was “amazing” to see all the old phones on display.
“If you’re not using it anymore and you have no emotional attachment to it, it’d be great to see them up here on the wall,” he said.
The phones don’t need to be working to be eligible for the trade-in deal. LeMoine says he hasn’t turned any of them on, and has no plans to.
“If we could get enough to line the border of the butcher shop with BlackBerrys, I think that would be pretty cool,” he said.
About 10 people have taken LeMoine up on his offer thus far.
With a report from CTV Kitchener’s Max Wark