Desperate times call for desperate measures, and winter is surely a desperate time — which probably explains why a Boston woman used Tinder to find someone to dig out her car. And for those of you who live in places where winter does not involve subzero temperatures and snow storms, no, that is not a euphemism or a sex position — it's just what you have to do when your car gets buried by snow.
Susan Zalkind writes for Boston magazine that for the first part of the winter this year, she dug her car out herself just like everybody else — until "the second or third big storm, when a stomach bug meant the snow piled up, and the mushy sludge along the side of the car turned into a wall of ice." More snow was on the way (this always seems to be the case for the Northeast this year) and Zalkind knew that if it piled on top of the snow that was already there, she might never get her car out. Ever. So she turned to Tinder.
"I’ve used Tinder before," she explains, "but, you know, the 'normal' way. I’ve scanned through area singles who mostly consist of grad students, firefighters, and an assortment of men posing on boats with large fish. I’ve gone on dates, and they haven’t all been terrible." But in her hour of need, she decided that this app might be worth a shot for something more than terrible dates. So she changed her profile description to read:
Looking for someone to shovel out my car. Nothing complicated, no strings attached, just please shovel out my car.
Thanks so much!
She started swiping right on guys who seemed "especially wholesome" and within 15 minutes had 11 matches and three offers to help.
Zalkind eventually got help from 38-year-old man she refers to in her piece as Ted. Ted not only didn't turn out to be an ax murderer, but was also, in fact, very nice. The two chatted while they shoveled away at the piles of snow on the car, and afterwards parted on good terms.
It's highly likely that this was a bit of a fluke (Zalkind herself describes having a much more difficult time during her second effort to find a car shoveler after the next big snow). Still, it's not the worst idea in the world — and it's also not the first time someone has used Tinder for something other than it's intended purpose. Which is good because it feels like after all the dud dates, the cringeworthy pickup lines, the wacky meltdowns, and the fact that they're starting to charge us money now, it seems like Tinder owes us something more.
Here are four other instances of people using Tinder for something much more useful than random hookups and awkward dates.
1. Swiping for Meal Swipes
You know how at the end of the semester, college students either have way too many meal swipes left or have run out entirely? Well, students at American University decided to take a creative approach to solving this problem by having people indicate in their Tinder profiles if they were looking for swipes or looking to donate extra swipes, allowing students to find each other in the spirit of not going hungry and not letting your meal plan go to waste. Bravo!
2. Raising Awareness
Recently, the ad agency Eighty Twenty in Ireland decided to use Tinder to raise awareness about sex trafficking. They used fake Tinder profiles with display pictures that seem normal, but if someone looks closer at the profile, the pictures get more unsettling, with the last image being a message like, "Your options are left or right. Women forced into prostitution in Ireland have none.” It's definitely a wake up call.
3. Job Hunting
In a job market where it's hard to stand out from the crowd, James Shamsi decided to showcase his marketable skills in a less crowded forum by putting his resume on Tinder. After all, if finding a job is about having connections — and what better way to connect with people than Tinder?
The Manhattan-based animal rescue organization Social Tees has started creating Tinder profiles for their adoptable dogs, and unsurprisingly the project has been a huge success. Because puppies! Who doesn't swipe right for puppies?
Images: Giphy (3)