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Barter

Barter: Barter is exchanging goods or services without exchanging money in the process. This goes back in history as one of the ancient types of exchanges.

Have you ever traded your peanut butter sandwich for a bag of chips when you were a kid in school? Well, maybe it wasnít peanut butter or chips. Depending on what part of the world you lived in it could have been a piece of fish for some tasty noodles or a taco for burrito. What matters was that it was bartering! You traded something that you felt was a good exchange and so did the other person. I am not talking about a bully making you exchange your valuable item for what you valued as a piece of garbage. Those type of people walk away gloating about what they just did and leave you standing there with something to throw away in the nearest receptacle. No, I am talking about true bartering with both people feeling good about their trade.

Well, this is something that doesnít just happen with children in a lunch room. In fact, there are communities that distribute flyers or post bulletin boards with local businesses that welcome bartering with other local businesses. Trading services for services, services for goods, or goods for goods can be a great way of helping the local business community without ever exchanging money. It could be a win-win situation for each participant in the exchange. Some businesses participate in this activity because there are no taxes involved or the deal can be consummated on a wholesale level saving lots of money for both parties involved.

There are a number of websites that exist that encourage this type of exchange. Most require that you sign up and join and some charge a fee. Fees may vary. Always read before you accept. For some bartering is the way to do business and for others it is the farthest from their mind. It is indeed a worldwide business that never went away. The most positive aspect for bartering is that it never relies on the value of a fiat currency. It totally relies on the value of what each person or business is willing to exchange for something they value in return. Believe it or not it is a totally different way of thinking and that is why it is not the norm. Some people are good at it and others have no sense of value. That is why they choose just to pay for what the price states. Donít get confused about bartering and bargaining. Bargaining is another topic worth talking about on another page.

A number of years ago I was browsing around at a huge flea market in my local area. During my visit at the flea market I saw the oddest thing. I witnessed someone trading an old door knob for another used item. ( I canít remember exactly what the other item was. I do remember thinking it looked like it was one step away from ďjunkĒ.)

It wasnít until much later that I discovered that some old door knobs actually maintain a value to those who collect them! First of all, I didnít know people collected door knobs. Now I do. Have you ever looked at any old door knobs lately? I would think you havenít. If you did, you might be impressed with how beautiful some of them look. I was. Iím not impressed enough to go find and collect them. However, I now have a greater respect for those that do and I can understand why. OK, so I went a little off track with my point. My point is that there were two people who made a deal that cost them nothing to give up something they no longer wanted or had an excess of but knew there was still a value to it to someone else. The key is to find that someone who desires to possess the item you want to trade and for them to have something that you also want. The next step is for both parties to determine if their item is of equal value. If all systems are "go", then it is a trade! If not, then there may be negotiations to reach a trade or both parties must walk away from the deal.

How about these examples of barter: two people trading like items and feeling good about it? Exchanging a throwing knife for a fishing knife or an antique rifle for an antique handgun all at a gun or sportsman exhibit are two examples.

Here is an added interesting thought. Exchanging circulating currency for collectible coins or collectible currency is not barter. It is still trading currency for currency, but it is not barter. Why? Because currency is a standardized authorized item that a government uses for exchange. It circulates for that reason. Old, obsolete, or collectible coins or currency are categorized as a collectible item for collectors and are not part of the circulating currency even though it still could circulate if someone was foolish enough to spend them.