Whatever you like to call it, I’m big on this form of commerce.
In fact, after I wrote two posts about our recent Nonconsumer Vacation, I was surprised that I had left out a successful trade I made when I wanted a piece of homemade cherry pie and they were all out of it. I noticed that some of the hikers at a nearby table had ordered an entire pie, and there were two pieces left as they sat around talking. When I went over to say hello and inquire whether I could have a piece, they were happy to give it to me, but I insisted that we would give them a bottle of imported beer in exchange. The place had only had Budweiser left for the past two days, so I knew that these calorie-starved, energetic young men would appreciate a bottle of Bass Ale. And they did.
Incidents like this have become such a commonplace part of our Compact-y lifestyle, that it didn’t even register as something to mention. But whether you call it barter, swap, or just plain trading, it can not only save you money, it can introduce you to your neighbors or even strangers, and many other things besides.
You all know about my annual clothing swap. But I also swap clothes and accessories with friends year-round, especially when I know an item would be perfect for a particular person.
I also participate in a monthly produce swap.
Recently I have swapped editing services for website services.
And the other day my neighbor brought me a beautiful and fragrant mint plant, and even planted it in one of my pots while I was at work. For that, he will receive freshly baked bread or cookies.
My husband and his friend trade their time for projects that require an extra hand, whether it’s a creative project like a short film or video, or a maintenance or remodeling project around the house.
With my favorite neighbor, I have traded bread for chocolate, fresh herbs for just-out-of-the-oven cookies, dinner leftovers for extra produce, and watering the yard for rides to the airport.
I’m on the lookout for fresh local eggs, for which I will gladly pay. But I’d be thrilled if the urban farmers were willing to trade for baked goods. Fresh eggs in Northeast L.A.? Anyone?
Do you use the barter system? What types of items do you trade, and with whom? Have you ever hosted a clothing swap, or any other kind of swap? Please share in the Comments section.