To Meet Barterers
Stout. Former Writer for BarterNews
We have many
opportunities for bartering. We can look for opportunities
wherever we go, and we can ask, "Are you willing to barter?"
whenever the question seems appropriate. Some people will
gladly accept our offer. After we have explored the
possibility, we might still have to reach for our wallet or
checkbook, but at least we have given it a chance.
There are many ways by
which we can find people who want to barter.
Our family. It's natural for us to set up these trades:
"I'll do your chores if you'll do a favor for me" or
"I'll wash the dishes tonight if you'll clear the table
for me." Many of these trades are spontaneous: "Thanks
for the massage. Would you like one?"
Friends. Pass the word, and ask them to pass it along to
friends. If our friends have interests which are similar
to ours, we might get good results.
Barter clubs, known also as trade exchanges.
People with whom we have bartered previously. Ask for a
repeat of a prior deal: "If you think that I cleaned
your house well, do you want me to come back next week
and do it again?"
People with whom we already do business. We can ask our
butcher, baker, candlestick maker, etc.
People with whom we
want to do
business. When we barter, we aren't spending our limited
cash resources, so we can afford more goods and
services. Now we can use our imagination and desires to
consider the other things which we want.
Our current clients or customers. Our records might have
information regarding the people's occupation. For
example, perhaps one person works for an ad agency which
could create an advertisement for our business. (Of
course, if we convert too many of our cash-paying
customers to barter-paying customers, we will decrease
our cash flow.)
Ads in newspapers or magazines. In local and national
publications, we can find ads in which the merchants say
that they are willing to barter. If the merchants are
asking for cash, we can offer a barter deal instead.
Our own ads in newspapers and magazines. Instead of
simply offering to barter, we might offer a choice: "For
sale or trade"; we will get more responses, and then we
can ask the people: "Have you considered bartering?" In
some cases, we can barter for the ads themselves; for
example, the editor of the Southern Oregon Weekly
Review used to trade away some advertising space to
a janitor and a window-washer. Businesses swap millions
of dollars worth of ads every year; refer to the chapter
regarding "bartering for advertising."
Yellow Pages. Look for the businesses which have
whatever you want. And look for barter clubs under
headings such as "Barter Services," "Social Service
Organizations," "Trade Clearing Exchanges," or "Barter
and Trade Organizations."
Ads on radio or television. In Grants Pass, Oregon, the
barter-club director used to put notices onto local
radio programs (the "Bargain Roundup" and the "Trading
Post" ), which broadcast free private advertisements. In
your town, there might be similar programs.
Swap shops. These are stores that specialize in
bartering; customers offer their own goods (plus a small
percentage of the retail price, in cash), in exchange
for the store's goods. Variations include:
specialize in particular types of products. For
example, John Ludewig operated a "wedding-gift
Stores which have
been created by barter clubs. At these stores,
people can sell their items in exchange for the
Pawn shops. The
manager is probably an active trader.
Rural stores. At an
old-fashioned general store, the manager might be
willing to barter.
Other stores. Some
stores have departments which permit swapping. For
example, some kids' clothing stores will allow you
to trade your kids' too-small clothes in exchange
for new or used apparel. The stores offer these
deals to bring you into the shop (where you will
probably also buy some new clothing), and
they can re-sell your clothing -- to their own
customers, or to a secondhand shop.
Places where second-hand goods are distributed. These
places include flea markets, second-hand stores, and
yard sales (i.e., garage sales). The people might want
to barter, because their goods are "used" and so are
yours. Some flea markets have special sections where all
of the items are available by bartering.
Swap meets and festivals. Whether the events are
sponsored by a barter club or another organization, the
people exhibit their goods and services. The fairs are
advertised occasionally in newspapers, local magazines,
and barter-club newsletters; they are held at a drive-in
theater, or a rented hall, or another site such as a
YMCA. You might find a music teacher who is offering
gift certificates for lessons, a printer selling
greeting cards, a craftsperson marketing jewelry, a
retailer getting rid of some close-out items, and a
doctor selling the birdhouses which were created in a
spare-time hobby. The visitors might carry their own
merchandise in a bag or box, or they might just be handy
with a description. They walk from booth to booth,
looking for a seller who wanted their goods in a
exchange for whatever they had. At other fairs, the
dealers swap their items for barter-club units, instead
of relying on one-to-one swaps. ("Units" are explained
in the chapter regarding barter organizations; they are
units of exchange which are equal to $1 each.) A few
interesting examples of swap fairs:
emphasize one type of commodity. At the Britt
Musical Instrument Faire in Jacksonville, Oregon,
people were encouraged to swap or sell instruments
and then donate a 20% of the price to the Festival
Mississippi, the Chamber of Commerce has sponsored
"Barter Day" -- an annual outdoor show which
attracts about 10,000 people to see the arts and
At a high-stakes
swap meet in Reno in 1982, a $5,000 admission fee
was paid by 75 people who wanted to trade apartment
buildings, hotels, subdivisions, and property such
as a 420-acre, $2.9 million Caribbean island.
Another person had "$10 million worth of property in
his briefcase." Someone else brought an offer to
sell his manufacturing company and an
airplane-repair service. Brian Lovig, who set up
this billion-dollar flea market ("Sales and Trade
Purchase International") at the MGM Grand Hotel,
traded his Lear jet for some real estate.
Bulletin boards. Bulletin boards are in community halls,
grocery stores, libraries, government agencies,
churches, laundromats, schools, organizations (such as
an Elks hall), college dormitories and buildings,
workplaces, and other sites. In some stores, we can put
an ad on a door or window to tell people about our
deals. In the ad, be specific: "I want to trade my 1972
Chevy Malibu for a good, newer motorcycle." Or "I'll
swap my carpentry skills for a cord of firewood." Give
your phone number or address or post-office-box number.
With an address, people will just drop by. With a phone
number, we will have more privacy to "screen" the
callers. A post-office box gives us a better opportunity
to sort out the possible trades, but it is less
convenient than a phone call; therefore, we won't get as