Pay with Your Talent in ‘The Merit Shop’

January 26, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. upload /ˈʌpˌloʊd/ (v.) – to transfer files to a computer or a network, often on the Internet
Example: I uploaded my recent photos on Facebook.

2. duo /ˈduoʊ, ˈdyuoʊ/ (n.) – two people; pair or partners
Example: Designer duos with different fortes create unique fashion products.

3. priceless /ˈpraɪslɪs/ (adj.) – of high value; cannot be matched with any price
Example: The talents showcased in the event were priceless.

4. disparity /dɪˈspærɪti/ (n.) – an obvious difference or gap
Example: The contestants are diverse because of age disparity.

5. gesture /ˈdʒɛstʃər/ (n.) – movement of one’s hands or other body parts
Example: His unusual hand gestures are distracting the audience.


Read the text below.
Creative designers launched an online store that sells goods in exchange for talents instead of money.

Daniel Soares [SWAH-Ruh sh] and Pedro Sampaio [sam-PAH-yoh] founded “The Merit Shop,” a store where money is worthless. In this shop, customers can record their special skills through videos and upload them in YouTube or Instagram. The shop owners then choose the winners based on creativity.

The Merit Shop sells varied products, such as gadgets, video games, outfits, foods, and many more. However, they have a first-come first-served policy. To date, all items are already sold out.

The duo’s project was inspired by the gap between the rich and the poor in San Francisco, where they both live. Soares said the huge income disparity among the citizens almost divides their city into two, so they created this shop to sell priceless items without the use of money.

As art professionals, the founders wanted to reward people who can do awesome things. One can sing, dance, say a joke, or do anything creative to be able to get an item.

The chosen videos are posted in The Merit Shop’s Facebook page. One of the uploaders flew a toy helicopter using only his laptop and hand gestures. Because of his genius act, he earned an iPod as a reward.

Another uploader did an easier video. It was a tutorial on how to do a honk sound. The video lasted for only 28 seconds and did not really teach the skill. However, the founders consider it a unique talent, so they rewarded the uploader with a pair of shoes.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you approve of the payment system that 'The Merit Shop' uses? Why or why not?
·         With no profit, what do you think Soares and Sampaio can gain from this store?

Discussion B

·         How can having a talent be useful to a person? Please discuss.
·         How can one’s talent be improved? Kindly explain briefly.


January 26, 2014