Thursday, January 17, 2008

Anatomy of a Barter

It seems so simple. I'm looking for something. You have what I'm looking for. You offer it to me. I give you something in return. Both participants benefit from the exchange yet no money changes hands. I come away from this simple explanation wondering why bartering doesn't occur more frequently?

I've encountered formal barter arrangements at food coops and our CSA. In both instances, you do volunteer work hours in exchange for a discount. It seems to work well in both those instances, so again I wonder why it doesn't occur more often?

I'm currently involved in a barter with Ruthie. She's giving me Simple Foods for the Pack and I'm giving her a pair of denim potholders. (They're almost done Ruthie, I swear!!)

What bartering have you done? What skill do have that you could barter with?

4 comments:

snoogiewoogie said...

Here in Birmingham UK - there is a scheme which is called LETS, where you can exchange skills. E.g. I offer to paint someone elses fence, I earn virtual LETS for it that I can exchange for someone to help clear my backgarden. I am going to join this when I have worked my notice.

I am going to offer German tuition, marketing advice (quite a few people there who run small business my speciality) and my husband is going to offer to perform magic trick at functions (he is very good).

Also I used to barter with my neighbour in Munich without realising. I did her food shopping for her (she had no car and trouble walking) and she did my ironing (which I hate and she loved).

Sarah said...

Hi, I regularly read your blog but I rarely comment. I am a library cataloger and today I cataloged a book that I thought your daughters might like, CosmoGirl Make it Yourself.
http://www.amazon.com/CosmoGIRL-Make-Yourself-Projects-Cosmogirl/dp/1588166244/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200598199&sr=1-4

I'm not a fan of teen mags, and I think the customer review of this book is pretty accurate, but it has a lot of projects that would be good for re-purposing clothes and thrift jewelry. It might be worth checking to see if your local library has it.

As for bartering, I don't think I've ever done this, but I think it would be great. I should look and see if there are local networks for this near me. As far as skills, I can create basic websites, I'm a good cook and excellent baker, I can knit and crochet. Also, I'm a good researcher, and I enjoy painting walls.

Ruthie said...

Katie ~

Awesome. No worries on the potholders, I know they'll get here. :-)

I was thinking: I could barter my very minor graphic skills (I can make cute blog banners!), my spare time (as most people I know work full time and spend their lunch hour running errands), my love of walking (dog walking, perhaps?) et cetera.

Several times I have offered to work for coworkers and exchange they have helped me move some furniture across town and offered to teach me how to crochet (yet to take her up on it, but I will!).

I have also exchanged cat-sitting with cat-sitting.

When we move to Houston and try to rekindle our car-free lifestyle (it is so hard when it's snowing!), I am sure we'll be able to barter for rides from our neighbors (as snoogie suggests).

Peace ~
Ruthie

Sarah said...

Sorry that didn't post so well.
Here's another try.

Book link

Also, I didn't mention the book has some neat recipes for homemade beauty supplies.