Thursday, May 21, 2009

Barter Bonanza

I thought that it was coincidental when I opened up last month’s Real Simple and saw their article on swap meets. Of course I had to write a post about how the meets were a great example of relational currency in action.

And then, when this month’s issue (June) came in the mail featuring an article about bartering, I started getting suspicious. Were people from the Real Simple staff secretly hiding in my office, peeking over my shoulder as I brainstormed and wrote? I mean, had I not mentioned in this very series how bartering was a good example of relational currency as well?

The New Popular Trend
Of course I know that Real Simple writer’s aren’t stealing from me. Given the necessary lead time in printed publications, I’m sure their articles were written long before mine. So, since I’ve ruled out stealing, I’ve instead come to the conclusion that relational currency is the new popular thing. At least for us ladies.

The article in Real Simple mentioned that bartering has increased exponentially since the recession started, as evidenced by higher volume on online sites like And just like I’ve written about in previous posts, people are offering up their skills, talents and belongings for trade.

Two Things I Like
I specifically like two things about this trend. The first, of course, is that it places emphasis on community relationships rather than merely cash. I may sound like a broken record, but I can’t resist saying again that sometimes the best resources we have are among our friends, family and neighbors. And also within our own homes and personal talents. Real currency may fluctuate depending on the daily moods of speculators and hedge fund managers. But relational currency is far less susceptible to those shifts because it is based on more than just money.

The second thing I like is, naturally, the informal entrepreneurial opportunities afforded by bartering. It gives us a chance to share our creative talents with others in a way that is mutually beneficial. And because bartering is informal, it is also a less intimidating way to dip your toes into the market. No need for a business license to trade piano lessons for laundry service. No need to deduct or pay taxes on swapping garden grown basil for free advertising in a friend’s social newsletter.

Endless Possibilities
The possibilities for bartering are endless. And yes--setting up a bartering arrangement is far less convenient than the tidy aisles of Target. But the benefits far outweigh convenience.

Are you currently bartering anything? Or have you in the past? Or maybe would like to now? Share your thoughts on relational currency by posting your comments here!

Previous Related Posts:
A Wallet Full of Friends
Swap Meet Style
The Recessionista Brand

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin