Sunday, 11 December 2011

More joys of barter

I just read Astranavigo's update on the economic situation, and the threatening Weimar-like situation in the USA. Money is weird stuff. The more you find out about it, the weirder it gets.

Now, let me make it clear that I love cash and prefer it to barter while we have a functioning society and it all works. But I tend to be short of it and so are many of my friends and acquaintances. Meanwhile, let's not forget there are things we can do for each other without the exchange of pieces of paper.

One of my least favorite chores is shortening new pants. Any pair that fits otherwise is usually too long. I gave my sewing machine away ages ago. The hem usually ends up slightly bobbly, and besides I often get the length wrong which results in that too-short flood water look.
An acquaintance who loves sewing has just started a little home sewing business. Hallelujah, she came for Reflexology yesterday and took the two pairs of new pants that have hung in my closet for 2 months home for a professional shortening job. This makes me very happy.

May I recommend thinking outside the money box to anyone in a similar boat? Think about what you enjoy doing, and what you dislike.
As a rule it takes you much longer to do something you have no talent for. Shannon can shorten a pair of pants in half an hour and do it well, with the right tools. It would take me more than an hour to do it wrong.
If I absolutely had to I could bang together a 3 foot square planting box, but it would take me forever and be a rickety affair to boot. I would much rather do Reflexology on Rick and his family.
I have no desire to keep milking animals, but enjoyed using my chicken butchering skills in trade for the makings of a kilo of goat cheese.
And so on!

Bartering strengthens community ties. We are in for tough times and may have to depend on each other more than we do now. Why not get a head start and get to know each other now!
For the unemployed, bartering while looking for work has the extra advantage of making you feel good about yourself. That in turn makes you more likely to get hired.
Happy trading everyone.

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