(Topic ID: 306769)

Pins as Gifts - Share your Stories

By JOESCHALL

2 years ago


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  • 18 posts
  • 5 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by JOESCHALL
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 2 years ago

In the spirit of the holiday season, I thought it would be nice to start a thread specifically about pinsider experiences of giving pins as gifts. This can be defined as broadly as you like--gifts to relatives (surprise or not), free project finds that you fixed up and gifted, pins you received as gifts, etc. I have a few stories to share as this thread grows, but I'll start with one that neatly fits the Christmas season for me this year.

As I retire next week from my government job and switch to a half-time contracting position, I had some extra money thanks to getting a lump sum payout from my accumulated annual leave, and a series of circumstances over the last four years made me want to gift a pin to a place where I never thought I'd get to share my love for the hobby--my church. A few years ago my church had a fall festival (attended by hundreds of kids) that included games, so I asked if I could bring a pin (a World Challenge Soccer, that first year), and it was incredibly popular. There were always 10 kids in line waiting to play. As the annual festival continued, I brought in Space Jam, Iron Man, and Spiderman in subsequent years, and the popularity only grew. Then I started bringing a pin to other events such as church picnics and kid and youth events, and eventually one of the pastor's clever daughters said to me, "You know, the lines wouldn't be so long if you would bring TWO machines." So I did so and started to teach the kids some playing tactics, take the glass off, and explain some of the mechanics and electronics as well. Then the adults really started showing an interest, and with the limitations imposed by COVID, which paused a lot of these events or moved them outdoors, I decided that I really wanted to gift the church with a pin with some of my spare payout money as I retired.

Meanwhile, as I was considering this, the home edition pins came out, and I got great deals on a JP HE from MAD Pinball and an SW HE from Cointaker, and I thought these would be a perfect fit, so I decided to spring for two pins instead of one and gift them at the youth Christmas party. With this gift, the pastors and youth leaders have also really showed an interest in learning more about playing and maintaining the machines, so in the coming year I'll be doing some training sessions and making some videos with the goal of hoping that these home edition pins will stand the test of time and enjoy a life at the church that is longer than mine.

It's been such an uplifting joy to see these kids lead the way for the adults to help them realize how powerful the love of pinball can be (and for some of the adults to reminisce about playing in their youth). And, as I noted earlier, the last place I EVER expected to be sharing my once closeted hobby was at church. I know that for many people growing up, pinball was seen as something that only "bad kids do" while smoking in bowling alleys.

So that's a beginning story of pins as gifts, and I'd love to hear more. Below are a few photos as well. The first is from a summer picnic where I took a POTC and JP LE. On the POTC, I covered the faces of the translite artwork with cutouts of the pastors and their wives. On the JP LE, I added cutouts of some of the kids who had become well-established pinheads at the church, noting that kids played a key role in the movie. They got a huge kick out of that simple idea. In this photo I was demonstrating the principle of multiball by holding up two balls, then three, then four, and one of the stunned kids said, "How did you get the balls out of the machine!?" The other two photos are of the SW HE and the JP HE being played at the youth Christmas party.

Looking forward to hearing your stories--and they don't have to be all warm and fuzzy or involve church!

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#2 2 years ago

New Year's Day bump.

#3 2 years ago

Nice story and congrats on your retirement!

#4 2 years ago

Thanks so much. Hoping to hear more "pins as gifts" stories soon.

#5 2 years ago

a few years ago, my dear old Uncle Bob lost his wife Olivia due to a heart condition. He was so devastated; she was the love of his life. they were married for 60 years, and her death was mostly unexpected, and at the very least, untimely and premature. Uncle Bob has played pinball since the 50s. He played EMs while in the military in the Korean war, and I've taken him to the Museum of Pinball to play a few times. He has played at my home as well. He loves pinball.

however, while married to Olivia, she would never have let him Own a pinball game, or even go out to play on location. She henpecked Bob ruthlessly. She was kind of a hard-ass, and wasn't interested in supporting Bob's interests or personal hobbies, so pinball was out of the question. She would NEVER have let him keep a pinball game at their home, and I was fully aware of this unfortunate reality.

Just one week after Olivia passed away, I bought an EM game for Bob to put in his home to cheer him up. I got a "Big Shot" (Gottlieb) for him to enjoy. He was thrilled, and I was gratified to give him something to lift his spirits during his difficult grieving period. Now, Uncle Bob is his own man with his own pinball machine, and I am grateful to spread the love of pinball just a little bit, and help a loved one feel better, if only for a short while while playing pinball at his own home for the first time.

Uncle Bob is pictured below during our Christmas eve party...

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#6 2 years ago

I don't know if this falls into the same category, but I have been donating pinball machines to a couple of different fundraiser/auctions for the last several years. One group I donate to is our church/school and the other is for the heart unit at our local Children's hospital. I donate the games, they get auctioned off, and the group gets whatever it sells for. I think I've donated 12 or 13 games now. To date, they've all been EM games (the next Children's hospital donation will be my first SS game - Ted Nugent), as those were easiest to find in project form that I could then clean-up/fix-up without having too much into them. Unfortunately, with pinball's resurgence, finding project games has been getting a bit tougher but I still have a couple of project games that can be fixed up for future donations.

At any rate, it's been fun donating games as the last several "winners" have all been people new to the hobby, which is kind of cool. I would encourage anyone who can donate a game to an auction/fundraiser, to do so. It's very rewarding for everyone involved. I always take the game and set it up at the venue, which allows people to play and enjoy the game, even if they don't win it.

#7 2 years ago

Thanks HEAD_boss_HOG for the "Big Shot" Uncle Bob story. This is a touching and wonderful tale. As you said, what a treat it must have been for him to play his own pin at his own home for the very first time. Thanks so much for sharing.

#8 2 years ago

Excellent, egyptrus--I'm so glad to hear of such incredible generosity (and wouldn't Mr. "Cat Scratch Fever" himself be proud? ). This is such a cool thing and the idea that the pins are set up for people to play and then get auctioned off is a bonus. It's interesting how churches sometimes afford such opportunities. My brother-in-law is a pastor, and I was once going through a storage area in his church and we found an old pitch-and-bat that his church youth group had played for years but had abandoned as a project machine. I donated $50 to the youth group and hauled it away turned sideways in my station wagon, which is the only way it would fit. With the help of my brother, we got it running, so I gave it to his family and they enjoyed it for as few years, then we gave it away on pinside to the first one willing to come pick it up. It made a pinsider father who pounced on the deal and his son very happy.

Indeed, it's a shame that it's harder now to find cheap or free project machines around, but they're out there. As this thread grows, I'll share another related story. Thanks so much for sharing yours!

#9 2 years ago
Quoted from JOESCHALL:

Indeed, it's a shame that it's harder now to find cheap or free project machines around, but they're out there.

This is so true...they're harder to find, but they're still out there. Like everyone else here, I'm looking all the time and always seem to find something that I can get fixed up and ready in time for a donation. My plan is to keep donating as long as I can.

#10 2 years ago
Quoted from egyptrus:

This is so true...they're harder to find, but they're still out there. Like everyone else here, I'm looking all the time and always seem to find something that I can get fixed up and ready in time for a donation. My plan is to keep donating as long as I can.

Right on!

#11 2 years ago

BTW, egyptrus, if you have any pics to share from these events on this thread, they would be most welcome.

#13 2 years ago

Dave--WOW! What wonderful stories and a great collection of pics. Given how much I have benefited from the generosity of pinsiders sharing information on this forum, I knew there must be others out there who were going well beyond just sharing information and giving pins as gifts--even transcending those given to relatives--but I never thought of the path you've taken repeatedly, and it's truly inspiring. Although I'm not an EM guy, as my SS skills grow and I do run across project machines once in a while, you've got me thinking about this idea of donating to an auction someday. Hmmm. Thanks so much for sharing these threads!

#14 2 years ago
Quoted from JOESCHALL:

Although I'm not an EM guy, as my SS skills grow and I do run across project machines once in a while, you've got me thinking about this idea of donating to an auction someday

I've mostly donated EM games as they were generally cheaper to buy and cheaper to clean up and repair. As I don't do my own repair work, I need to pay to have games fixed and I've been blessed by having a repair guy that's really good and also gives me a break on his rate when he knows the game will be donated. Unfortunately, my repair guy is doing less and less work so I may have to start learning how to do repairs myself

Regarding donating, as you likely saw in my previous posts, I always encourage people to do it as it's really quite rewarding. In just about every case, the person buying the game was new to the hobby. It's fun delivering a game to a home knowing that this won't be their only game...

Dave

#15 2 years ago

I gave my brother a Space Invaders pin as a housewarming gift about 20 years ago.

He bought 2 plots of land next to each other, and about 10 years later built another house on the other lot and moved into that one. I asked him what he did with the game and he said he sold it with the house. So every time I go over there, I always look at the house next door and wonder if it's still there.

#16 2 years ago
Quoted from pinzrfun:

I gave my brother a Space Invaders pin as a housewarming gift about 20 years ago.

He bought 2 plots of land next to each other, and about 10 years later built another house on the other lot and moved into that one. I asked him what he did with the game and he said he sold it with the house. So every time I go over there, I always look at the house next door and wonder if it's still there.

Nice housewarming gift!

I think I'd be VERY tempted to pay the house next door a visit . . .

#17 2 years ago
Quoted from pinzrfun:

I asked him what he did with the game and he said he sold it with the house.

So, was he trying to tell you that he was never really that much into pinball or did the buyers of the house say "man, we'd totally pay your asking price if that awesome pinball machine was included"? Maybe he was hoping you'd bring him another game as a housewarming gift for his new house?

And like Joe, I'd totally want to knock on the door of the house next door to inquire about the pinball machine...

#18 2 years ago

I'm curious about the circumstances as well, pinzrfun, but I realize there are times people just don't follow up on these things for various reasons. I know of several cases where a pin (or a piano) was included as part of a house sale because the seller didn't want to have to move it or because it was no longer working 100%. I'm in State College--home to Penn State--and I know a landlord who owns scores of student rental properties and manages some frat houses as well. He sometimes ends up with pins that are left behind when the tenants leave and he totes them to his office or home and works on them there, then either sells or keeps them. A nice little side benefit for him. At the risk of derailing my own thread, I thought I'd share this little tidbit.

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