I don’t drink. It’s not by choice really – well yes it is.

Let me put it this way. The “reason” I don’t drink is I’m a light-weight.

There I said it.

My body just doesn’t tolerate alcohol.  Period.

I’m the “cheap-date” every guy dreams of. You know … the one who downs a half a wine cooler and they’re up on the table swinging their napkin in the air dancing away kinda drinker? Well that’s me. (Sorry for that visual!  Can’t un-ring that bell can ya?!!)

  winecoolerSo why am I even saying all of this? Well a conversation came up about alcohol for bartering and whether you should trade a whole bottle verse a mini bottle.

That got me to thinking.

A whole bottle of alcohol would be way too much for me.  A mini would be more in line with “my dancing needs’. And the same would hold true with a lot of our bartering items.

Is a 50 lb bag of rice worth someone chopping wood for a fire for you?  To me it would depend.  Is this your last bag of rice? Is there any other way to obtain fire wood?  Can you use some other alternative means for your fire?  Do you have means to replace the rice you bartered?

It’s a given, when poo hits the fan, initially people will be desperate and willing to barter anything and everything for anything and everything.

But what if you had the “skill” of bartering? It sure would make things a little easier now wouldn’t it?

I first learned my bartering skills going to yard/garage sales.  At first I’d cringed at the thought of going up to the person having the sale to ask if they would take something lower than what the item was priced for. I just knew I’d be met with a harsh “no way” response.   But what I soon learned and I was usually pleasantly surprised is instead I got a “sure” with a smile (it was explained to me later that people having these sales wanted to get rid of the stuff  so they were willing to take almost anything than to be stuck with it).  yard sale sign

They had something I wanted and I had something they wanted. Bartering!   

The definition of bartering is a method of exchange by which goods or services are exchanged for other goods or services without using money (well except at garage sales).

Bartering has been described as haggling, dickering, trading -  words that used to give me the heebie-jeebies.  But I got over it.

If you think about it, we’ve actually been bartering since childhood. Like when we’d trade our chocolate bar for someone’s homemade cupcake at lunch. cupcakesYou were sick of mom’s cupcakes and loved chocolate;  the other kid’s mom never had time to make cupcakes and bought all their snacks at the store - so it was a win-win situation for both.

Then we really became wise in middle-school and learned that food was also a way to get homework done. We’d trade homemade chocolate chip cookies for “assistance” (a skill) with our math homework by our geeky classmate.

What? I had social needs to tend to! Just sayin’.

How do you determine the value of something? 

You look for the supply-demand ratio of the item. Huh? Remember the old song with the lyrics “I got a brand new pair of roller-skates you got a brand new key’? Nope? Never mind.

How about this? Think back on Katrina. Almost everything was in demand, right?  So those who had what was needed determined what the price of that ‘something’ would be. It’s called ‘price gouging’.

Think of bartering as another skill and just like all of our skills we need to practice them frequently so they will be sharp.

Bartering now? Sure. Need your lawn cut?  Maybe you have sharpening tools that you could barter with to sharpen the blade of the lawnmower. It’s that simple. You both have something of benefit.

Begin to open your eyes to opportunities for bartering.  Be confident in your approach. If you note someone who has something you need or has a skill that you could use – bring up the subject of bartering. You’d be surprised at how open people are, especially in today’s economy.   

During your bartering, watch the person’s facial expressions and their body language or how they act during “negotiations” a lot can be said through eyes and body movement. And the worst that can happen is you can’t make a deal and you walk away. No harm no fowl.

It’s almost a given, bartering will be our way of acquiring supplies/items in the future when the poo hits the fan. Do some research or get a book or two on bartering techniques.

 booksOh, and don’t just put your bartering books up on the shelf with all your other survival books.  Read them …now.

Just sayin’

- Survivor Jane


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