Originally posted on http://canadiansavings.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/bartering
Last night at the Gail club meeting we attend, the topic of Bartering came up. What is Bartering? Bartering is simply trading one thing for another. Say I have a goat and I want a chicken, if I can find someone with a chicken who wants a goat, we can exchange these products without needing to first convert the goat and chicken into money.
Believe it or not, money was invented to make bartering easier. Using money means you have a set medium on which everything is valued. Houses, cars, cows, goats and chickens all have a dollar figure associated with them. If a chicken is worth $10 and a goat is worth $15 dollars and as a chicken owner I can’t find anyone willing to trade, or anyone that wants a chicken but owns a goat, I can sell off the chickens to people who want chickens and then find a goat owner to buy the goats from.
Money enables the transactions of goods to happen relatively easily. Back to bartering. In the meeting a member of the club mentioned there was a bartering society in the Kitchener and Waterloo area. While trading services is something that I have seen done a lot in my family, it is not something I’ve ever tried. Believe it or not, Bartering enabled my dad to pay for my teeth cleaning at the dentist, along with his benefits from work, printing business cards allowed my teeth to stay clean. When I needed a counselor, printing up billing pads for them got my father a 50% discount. My father traded something he was good at, running a printing press, for services he needed for his family, and boy did I need those services when I was a teenager.
The bartering society is different from the informal and very direct form of bartering my father did. They have a currency in the system. Apparently called “Barter dollars” it allows for the easy exchange of dollars for a service you need and the ability to sell services you have to get barter dollars from others. Basically it is money in a closed system. You can’t take the barter dollars and spend them outside of the barter society. This is simply because if you took them to a Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart employees would look at you funny as if you were giving them Canadian Tire money.
So why haven’t I tried to barter? I’m great at fixing computers, but that becomes tedious. I work in a cell phone company, but there is nothing there in that required skill set that can be bartered away. I know my stuff when it comes to personal finance, but dishing out advice to people in exchange for something is highly regulated and I really don’t need the headaches that come from over stepping my bounds.
Have you ever Bartered? have you ever joined a bartering society? Is there a secret barter handshake?