How do you acquire the American Dream? Apparently all you need is $3.5 million. That’s the cost to purchase the life of Shane Butcher on eBay.

Fringe Pu Pu Platter Auction

Anyone Bidding on the American Dream? (Photo by Infrogmation)

He’s not dying or anything. Butcher is a successful businessman who owns three R.U. Game?video game stores in Florida. The auction price tag includes a number of items including:

  • 2 really nice houses
  • 3 cars
  • Lots of furniture
  • 6 months of his mentorship during the business transition
  • 1 Thomas Kinkade painting
Wait, what? Where did Kinkade come in? That’s the weirdest thing to pop up in a list of cool stuff.

Butcher and his wife began at flea markets where they discovered the demand for all things retro. Then it was off to the world of retail success in 2009 by putting in 80 hour weeks.

Fox News in Tampa did a story on Butcher who said he’s happy whether anyone buys his life or not. One interesting quote from this story was when he was asked if the struggling economy has hurt his business.

“Not at all, a lot of times when the economy goes down, entertainment goes up…”

Butcher isn’t the first person to auction off everything on eBay. Ian Usher famously sold his life after his wife of 6 years left him. The adventurous Brit set out to complete a bucket list for the ages–100 amazing experiences in 100 weeks. Then he capped that off by purchasing his own island off the coast of Panama. And it only cost $48,000! He was even approached by Disney about possibly making a movie of his life.

These stories raise a lot of questions about the meaning of life and ultimate fulfillment. I was thinking about the rich guy that asked Jesus what he needed to do to secure eternal salvation, and how Jesus told him to sell all of his possessions and give to the poor. Of course, the real trick is the final part when Jesus said “then follow me.”

I guess it’s all about control and how tightly we hold on to what we have. We either believe that stuff if ours to begin with or that we only have it because God provides it. Ravi Zacharias tells a story of a man who said to Winston Churchill, “I want you to know, sir, that I am a self-made man.” Churchill reportedly replied, “Young man, you have just relieved God of a solemn responsibility.”

I appreciate the perspective of Butcher and Usher* who both seem positive as they sell those possessions in exchange for something more real, whatever that means to them.

Of course, you have to wonder what YOU would do. If I had $3.5 million dollars, well, then I probably wouldn’t have $3.5 million dollars because I know myself.

I wouldn’t mind running some kind of cool antiques place. Not the kind of antique shop that I always walk into with nothing but boring chairs and jewelry. Something with loads of vintage pop culture memorabilia would rock.

If you were able to buy a successful chain of stores, what industry would it be in?

*I guess it helps to have a last name that’s also an occupation.