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The Barter System

by Jacki
(Grand Forks, B.C. Canada)

My Bartered Firewood

My Bartered Firewood

This system of trading currency for things we need is somewhat ridiculous. The cash that we carry around actually has no value of its own; it’s simply representing something that is worth something; gold. And what happens when you have no cash on hand, and you don’t live near a bank, and you need eggs?


The barter system cuts out that middle man; you trade goods for goods, or a service, or even help with raising your barn when you need it.

Some of my best bartering that I’ve done have been with neighbors; they spot something in your yard that they want or need, and in exchange, you get something you need; like the time my neighbor to the east saw an old rototiller that was bartered for in its turn, with one hours labor.

I got a cord of really nice dry firewood in exchange for the broken down tiller, only valuable for the lack of wear on the tines; to me, it was worth all the firewood I got in return.

The barter system only works if both seller and buyer feel they got the best of the bargain.

Sometimes you’ll see an ad for something, a fishing boat for instance, maybe a ten foot tinner (aluminum boat that is), in trade for W.H.Y. What on earth is that, you ask? W.H.Y. stands for What Have You, so if you have something that you think might be worth about the same, then offer it in trade – you never know, it might just be what the seller of the tinner is looking for.

So the next time you’re at a yard sale, a flea market, or just in need of a particular item, try using the barter system, and both parties walk away happy, and no cash changes hands.



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