A new tie-exchange movement, originating at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in St. Louis, hopes to promote a spirit of spontaneous generosity among men.
The “Totally Instantaneous Exchange”, TIE for short, came about when a simple compliment was given.
The first Totally Instantaneous Exchange occurred at a recent meeting of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in downtown St. Louis, after store manager Richard Lane complimented the tie of his colleague Bob Duplantier, who works at the organization’s national office in Maryland Heights, Missouri.
Lane insisted he was just complimenting the tie and didn't expect Duplantier to give it to him on the spot, but he insisted, and thus launched the TIE movement.
"It's an idea that's been percolating in my head for many years," Duplantier 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. Imagine the good will that could be generated if everyone responded to compliments by making a gift of the thing admired," he said.
The two men worked out the TIE protocol: 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. The recipient must agree that he, too, will pass it on the next time someone compliments the tie.
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 Duplantier’s tie.