Tuesday, April 21, 2009
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a swap meet is “a gathering in which enthusiasts or collectors trade or exchange items of common interest.” According to the Stephanie Hillberry Dictionary (to be published soon, no doubt), a swap meet is “a good way to hang out with friends and snag cool stuff.”
I confess that I hadn’t considered the potential of swap meets until I received this April’s copy of Real Simple magazine (my replacement subscription for Domino..sniff, sniff) and read their article on hosting one. What a brilliant, Recessionista thing to do! I immediately thought.
Brilliant because it is a perfect example of “relational currency” in action. Remember how I wrote a few weeks ago that sometimes our greatest resource isn’t in our wallets, but in our friends? Well, enter the swap meet.
Imagine, for instance, that you are in desperate need of a new summer dress (I mean, who isn’t?), but can’t justify the cost during this penny-pinching season. Apart from whipping one up on your sewing machine (a feat I certainly am not capable of pulling off well), you’re out of luck. Unless of course your friend’s friend just happens to be your size and has a few dresses she is willing to part with. Part with for...say...a charming set of curtains that another friend is tired of.
Bingo! You have the makings of a swap meet.
I Like It!
Yes, it is true that Macy’s wouldn’t very much like this idea (or the larger one about relational currency, for that matter), and neither would the politicians encouraging us to spend, spend, spend right now. But I like it because:
* it preserves our well-honed inclination to enjoy new things, especially when we’re feeling stressed, but...
* ...preserves it while protecting our dollars, and...
* ...does it all by connecting us to the people that we already know and love.
Now of course I’m not suggesting that we all start exploiting our friends so that we can “cash in” on cool stuff, but I am suggesting that perhaps that thing you’ve been looking for might just be in someone else’s home and not in the store.
Of course you won’t know unless you host (or attend) a swap meet of your own.
Previous Recessionista posts:
A Wallet Full of Friends
In the Land of Small
At Least a Lighter Wallet Weighs Less