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Thousands of Animal Crossing strangers are waiting hours in line to sell turnips


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Some players in Animal Crossing. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ stalk market may be a fickle mistress, but fans are using the internet to get rid of the guesswork. After folks buy turnips from Daisy Mae on Sundays, rather than waiting to see what their shops provide, they’ll peruse social media or join groups and Discords to ensure a good sellback price. But actually getting those turnips to foreign Timmy and Tommy Nooks can take a good, long while.

On social media, many players are reporting spending hours in queues made up of hundreds if not THOUSANDS of people, all to get through the gates of a stranger they don’t know — but who happens to have a good turnip buying price. Usually, that’s 500 Bells or more for turnips, with some prices reaching over 600 Bells.

The organizing process can vary; some are using Google Docs and excel sheets, while others are using specialized websites, like the Turnip Exchange, to help people sign up for their turn in line.

Whatever the method, the phenomenon is particularly surprising when you consider what a nightmare the Animal Crossing online experience can be. Every person who joins a game usually takes a few minutes — and the game will pause for everyone. In my experience, sometimes just hosting a few people will cause hiccups, such as disconnects or unsaved changes. Folks will absolutely go through that for friends or loved ones, but it’s another thing entirely to do such a solid for a stranger.

So, why do it? My friend Elliot recently decided to open his gates for Animal Crossing randoms, and he tells Polygon that there are, indeed, benefits. While he never outright asked anyone for something in return, he found that visitors often left Bell tips, or random gifts to say thank you for his turnip price generosity.

In late March, he opened up his gates for about eight hours and ended up nearly making two million Bells in tips, along with some fashion items and even KK Slider songs. That’s on the low end, too — one person apparently made 10 million in turnip tips recently.

Part of what helped, he believes, is that his character was visible upon entering the island, even while he was idling or away from the game:

So, it’s possible that folks were reminded that a real human being was doing this for them, even though they didn’t have to. That said, some peddlers do require tips up front, based on reports on social media.

The turnip market is so frenzied, that folks can’t post about it on places like Twitter without being inundated with requests. Elliot knew this, so while he did announce his good turnip prices on social media, he deliberately did not use keywords that people could search. Then, he formed a system for getting people through efficiently.

“I’d send them my open Dodo code and give them instructions to idle when they’re done selling, so that I can end session and kick them all at once as opposed to 10 mins of every person exiting,” he explains.

You could say this is gaming the system, and that would be true, but there’s a pervasive sense of kindness here, too.

“This is the fantasy of capitalism where we ALL get rich at nobody else’s expense,” Elliot says.

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